Lexus NX crossover: A few tweaks and new folds in the paper
Lexus has introduced a slightly upgraded NX crossover
The Lexus NX was something different when it was first launched. Design is objective and all that, but you can’t fault the brand for going left-field and actually implementing its origami-inspired design with the model.
Now the NX has been updated, including some minor cosmetic surgery and tweaking of its standard specifications.
All models receive front styling changes, with new headlamps, a new front grille utilising a chrome frame, altered side grille, bumper and lower bumper elements. The rear gets LED combination tail lights, as well as a revised bumper.
The bigger changes are inside though, including a new 10.3-inch display audio screen on EX and F-Sport models equipped with navigation. There are revisions to the centre cluster, climate control panel and the number of switches has been reduced. The button design has been modernised and the analogue clock redesigned.
F-Sport models also get a few changes including the spindle-grille frame being finished off in a black chrome effect. Lexus did say the changes are minor.
Lexus has also jumped on the badging bandwagon of Audi and Jaguar by altering its naming strategy. The 200t, which used to denote the 2.0l turbocharged engine, has now become the 300 because the company claims the engine offers the same output as a 3.0l engine.
Other changes include the fact that the entry-level E-grade model adopts a two-wheel drive drivetrain, delivering power to the front wheels via a six-speed automatic transmission. Lexus says the change is intended to improve fuel consumption.
The engine line-up remains the same, with the established 2.0l turbocharged engine serving up 175kW with 350Nm between 1,650 and 4,000r/min in the 300 models.
The engine uses a combination of port and direct injection (known as D-4ST) along with Variable Valve Timing Intelligent Wide (VVTi-W), to optimise combustion in the pursuit of both power and efficiency. The hybrid-powered NX300h, uses a 2.5l four-cylinder engine paired with an electric motor. The petrol plus electric coupling delivers a total system output of 150kW.
Lexus has also made changes to the suspension to improve stability, body control and ride comfort. Refinements include a new calibration for the rear stabiliser bar and stabiliser-bar bushing, and new front dampers with reduced friction.
The Adaptive Variable Suspension (AVS) on F-Sport models has been upgraded to the latest iteration, as debuted on the LC coupe.
The company says that traditional spring and damper (on E and EX) and AVS systems are designed and calibrated to maximise dynamic performance and cabin space, including separate spring and damper units at the rear, for a lower centre of gravity and minimal intrusion into the rear cargo area. Rear stabiliser bar stiffness has been increased by 22% and 19% on hybrid and 300 models respectively to suppress roll angle and optimise vehicle turning posture.
In terms of function, the Drive Mode Select feature on F-Sport models comprise Eco, Normal, Sport, Sport+ and newly-added Custom modes. Sport+ interfaces with the AVS to increase damping and allow for more dynamic handling. The custom mode allows drivers to personalise the powertrain, electric power steering, AVS and air-conditioning settings.
Finally there are specification changes for the range, which begins with that NX 300E at R599,900 topping out with the F-Sport 300 at R789,700. The entry-level 300E models get rain-sensing wipers, auto-levelling headlamps (halogen with LED daytime running lights) and a reverse camera (displayed in the infotainment system).
The mid-grade EX variants are outfitted with roof rails, while the range-topping F-Sport inherits dynamic headlamp levelling, chrome steering switch accents and aluminium detailing on the instrument cluster.