The marque facelifts its compact SUV. No, really.
Lexus has rolled out a refreshed NX SUV at this years’ Shanghai auto show, which sees the smallest SUV in the lineup go through a slight visual nip & tuck, get spec & suspension upgrades, as well as revised nomenclature system for selected variants.
When it debuted, the NX brought with it a turbocharged 2.0-litre four-cylinder powerplant, which was christened the NX200t (obviously). However, with the updated lineup, it seems that the Japanese carmaker will now be badging models with this engine ‘NX300,’ despite its drivetrain having little similarity with the 2.5-litre petrol hybrid NX300h.
It’s not limited to just the NX either, as Lexus plans to roll out new ‘300’ badging to all the other ‘200t’s in the lineup. This will affect the GS & IS saloons, as well as the RC coupe & RX SUV.
The NX gets minor aesthetic revisions that bring it in line with the latest Lexus cars, like streamlined headlight graphics and a “bolder” grille, though we don’t see it. They also tell us that by making the new fog lights separate from the side air intakes, the NX is now “stronger and more aggressive.” Sure.
The rear sees the taillights get stretched further into the tailgate, with the black garnish revised to emphasise the rear light signature. There are also new 18-inch aluminium wheels, and other “eye-catching” options that further enhance the already dramatic design of the NX SUV.
The interior has also been “slightly reworked,” with changes headlined by the upsized 10.3-inch infotainment screen (previously 7-inches in size). The climate control panel has also seen slight change, with toggle switches taking the place of the buttons that used to live there. The analogue clock also sees a change in appearance, and now offers automatic time updates via a satellite connection.
A lot of the interior trim gains a new brushed metal finish, while the centre console gains a bigger touchpad and a more comfortable palm rest. The wireless phone charger tray has been upsized to accommodate bigger phones, and there are more powerful USB ports for phones that don’t support wireless charging.
F-Sport trims bring about their own unique embellishments, like ‘Naguri’ aluminium trim, and white/black contrasting leather for the seats. There are even turbo-boost and G-force readouts in the heads-up display, for the anorak Lexus driver. Helping the few Lexus drivers who enjoy driving are the ride and handling updates for the NX, which sees altered springs, stabiliser bars and bushings, which work together with new shock absorbers. The NX also sees the fitment of ‘Adaptive Variable Suspension,’ like the kind that debuted on the LC500 coupe, which can now adapt itself in 650 different ways on the move.
The altered suspension tuning and additional sound deadening has also contributed to improved NVH levels, which are now lower than the outgoing model. Further adding to the serenity of the drive are the new safety systems. Lexus’ ‘Safety System+’ now features on the NX, bringing with it a pre-collision system, intelligent cruise control, lane departure warning, automatic high-beam assistance, and something called ‘Intelligent Clearance Sonar’ (which is actually like a low-speed autonomous braking functionality to prevent accidental dings).
Chief engineer on the NX, Takeaki Kato, said that the revisions made to the SUV will see it continue to capture the imagination of thousands of buyers around the world. “For the new NX, we made bold refinements to the design, elevated its performance and added new features to enhance its comfort and convenience. The new NX still possesses the same elements that have made it popular in the past—a sharp design, everyday convenience and driving pleasure that will satisfy all enthusiasts—but the vehicle as a whole has evolved dramatically, as you’re bound to see and feel when you first experience it,” he said.
Speaking to CarAdvice, communications manager at Lexus Australia Nick Raman confirmed to them that we can expect to see the 2018 NX arrive within the first half of next year, but said nothing further. With 3308 NX SUV’s sold in 2016 alone, it’s likely that the updated model will find its way into the hearts and minds of many more Lexus fans when it arrives on our shores.