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Sunday, March 6, 2022

Review: 2022 Lexus NX 350h Premier


For Lexus, a lot is riding on the 2022 NX. It is, if you were to follow their statements, the start of a new chapter for the luxury car brand. It’s a chapter centered around four key pillars—design, dynamics (aka Lexus Driving Signature), electrification, and advanced technologies. It reads great on both paper and principle, but fundamentally, it goes beyond that. The most important aspect that the Lexus NX managed to achieve here is a qualitative difference; a difference that helps keep it unique, and thus, helps it find its voice in an increasingly crowded segment.

Now, this transformation didn’t happen overnight. The building blocks have certainly been there ever since Lexus brought forth their spindle grille design. Although that remains the most visible change up to now, in the years that followed, they tweaked and honed in every aspect. This all-new Lexus NX is the culmination of all those hard years of work. The basic aspect is still origami-inspired—full of angles, creases, and lines. But while previous efforts made it look busy, here, it’s cohesive.



From tip to stern, Lexus didn’t get a line wrong; except maybe for the deletion of the rear Lexus badge which looks off. The most obvious is that Lexus has successfully managed to show a certain German rival that you can have a large grille without it looking so tacked on. Then, dive into the details, and there are wonderfully astute cues too like its “coke bottle” taper, and get this, electronically actuated door handles. The last one is a neat party trick because instead of having to yank a door handle open, the electronic latch springs the door open if you squeeze in the right place. It produces no sound—a precursor to what Lexus, and in turn, the Japanese, considers luxury.

Inside, the Lexus NX is home to plush soft-touch plastics. The P 4.488 million price tag puts it very close to its European rivals, but its unmatched with it comes to appointment and accruements. The Dark Rose with Ash color scheme may be a bit too much for some, so thankfully, three other color schemes are available with Rich Cream Leather with Ash being a personal favorite. Whatever the color, it’s not an exaggeration to suggest that it sets a new class benchmark for interior execution. Moreover, the cabin takes a big leap forward in becoming a driver-focused space. Readouts and switches are all where you’d expect them, and getting familiar with the various functions don’t take too much time. Getting the right seating position is easy with power adjustment to both the seats and steering column. The front seats offer both ventilated and heated functions, while the rear seats have heaters too. There’s even a concierge climate system that can do everything for you automatically; all you need to do it set the temperature.



Compared to the previous Lexus NX, space has grown considerably especially at the back. Number-wise, the rear cargo hold’s smaller than the outgoing model, but the load space is flat with minimal intrusions from the rear wheel wells. Still, 545 liters can still be considered as cavernous, plus it grows to 1,436 liters when the back seats are folded down (they’re power folding, mind you). There’s even a little compartmentalized room underneath the luggage floor to fit items; it can even swallow the tonneau cover if you need to fit taller items or more luggage.

Bar none, the biggest improvement in the all-new Lexus NX is the infotainment system. Lexus’s decade long experiment with touchpads is, thankfully, over. In its place is a giant 14-inch touchscreen with crisp, clear graphics and an interface that’s as easy to use as a modern smartphone. With no home screen to speak of, the main functions like navigation, phone, smartphone connectivity is always on the left-side of the screen. Meanwhile, climate functions are located at the bottom part with two large rotary knobs controlling the temperature. Functions to turn the driver assist systems on or off are accessible via a short cut button. Nothing here takes more than two steps to tweak or adjust.



Lexus and Toyota are pros when it comes to hybrid technology, and in the Lexus NX is shows. The system in the NX 350h is familiar in that it pairs a normally-aspirated 2.5-liter mated to a twin-motor set-up. However, the carmaker’s near-20-year history of dealing with this tech results in a luxury SUV that juggles its two power sources effortlessly. In gentle or city driving, it’s wonderfully smooth and silent. A special read out tells you something remarkable too: it can stay almost 80 percent of the time running on electrons. Indeed, it can deliver diesel-beating efficiency around town—registering up to 20.4 km/L easy.

The NX 350h is so effortlessly quiet that, more than anything, it’s only when the engine actually fires up that it gets slightly undone. The aural quality of the 4-cylinder engine isn’t nearly as premium. Oh, and because it’s paired with a CVT, putting your foot down for a regular overtake feels like you’re thrashing the thing. Don’t get it wrong, CVTs have come a long way, but they still can’t offer the familiar stepped ratios of a conventional automatic—even if Lexus has fitted paddle shifters.



When it comes to on-road refinement, the Lexus NX manages to ride well. Because there’s a large battery underneath, there’s no escaping this feeling of heft; it weighs around 1,850 kilograms, after all. Despite that and its standard 20-inch run-flat tires, there’s a level of sophistication to the damping that filters any nasty shocks or potholes from disrupting the interior ambiance. It eats expressways effortlessly, although even the twisty stuff won’t humiliate it. Sadly, the steering is on the numb side even if it’s fairly accurate with a direct turn-in.

After all’s said and done, the Lexus NX fits the bill as the start of a new chapter for Lexus. If it’ll be judged solely on whether it lives up to the brand’s four brand pillars, it does. But beyond that, it helps Lexus get back into the premium compact SUV game. As a brand, Lexus doesn’t enjoy the same sort of lineage as some of its competitors; after all, Lexus was established only in 1989. However, by embracing its Japanese roots, particularly with its design, ease of use, and sense of hospitality, the Lexus NX becomes unique in the segment. It is, ultimately, the result of centuries of Japanese tradition and heritage.





2022 Lexus NX 350h Premier

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Ownership 2022 Lexus NX 350h Premier
Year Introduced 2022
Vehicle Classification Luxury SUV
Warranty 3 years / 100,000 kilometers
The Basics
Body Type 5-door SUV
Seating 5
Engine / Drive F/AWD
Under the Hood
Displacement (liters) 2.5
Aspiration Normally Aspirated
Fuel Delivery Direct Injection
Layout / # of Cylinders I4
BHP @ rpm 189 @ 6,000 (243 combined)
Nm @ rpm 239 @ 4,300-4,500
Fuel / Min. Octane Gasoline / 91~
Transmission CVT
Cruise Control Yes, Adaptive
Fuel Economy @ Ave. Speed 16.94 km/L @ 17 km/h,
20.40 km/L @ 29 km/h
Dimensions and Weights
Length (mm) 4,660
Width (mm) 1,865
Height (mm) 1,670
Wheelbase (mm) 2,690
Curb Weight (kg) 1,850
Suspension and Tires
Front Suspension Independent, MacPherson Strut
Rear Suspension Independent, Double Wishbone
Front Brakes Vented Disc
Rear Brakes Vented Disc
Parking Brake Electric, w/ Auto Hold
Tires Bridgestone Alenza 001 RFT 235/50R20 V (f & r)
Wheels Alloy
Safety Features
Airbags 10
Anti-Lock Brakes (ABS) Yes, with EBD
Traction / Stability Control Yes
Parking Sensors Yes, Front & Rear
Parking Camera Yes, 360-degree
Front Seatbelts 3-pt ELR with pre-tensioner x 2
Rear Seatbelts 3-pt ELR x 3
ISOFIX Child Seat Anchor Yes
Other Safety Features Pre-Collision System
Lane Tracing Assist
Lane Departure Alert
HIll Start Assist
Hill Descent Control
Blind Spot Monitoring System
Rear Cross Traffic Alert
Tire Pressure Monitoring
Exterior Features
Headlights LED, Auto High Beam
Fog Lamps Yes, Front & Rear (LED)
Auto Lights Yes
Rain-sensing Wipers Yes
Tailgate Electric, w/ Kick Sensor
Interior Features
Steering Wheel Adjust Tilt/Telescopic, Electric
Steering Wheel Material Leather
Seating Adjustment (driver) Electric, 8-way, w/ Memory, Vented/Heated
Seating Adjustment (front passenger) Electric, 8-way, Vented/Heated
Seating Surface Leather
Folding Rear Seat Yes, 60/40, Heated, Electric
Sunroof Yes
Trip Computer Yes
Convenience Features
Power Steering Yes
Power Door Locks Yes
Power Windows Yes
Power Mirrors Yes, Heated, w/ Fold
Rear View Mirror Camera-based
Proximity Key Yes
Climate Control Dual, w/ Rear Vents
Audio System Stereo
USB Type A
USB Type C
Bluetooth
Smartphone Connectivity Apple CarPlay
Android Auto
# of Speakers 17, Mark Levinson
Steering Controls Yes

32 comments:

  1. So the whole thing is underwhelming? also, how safe is it to drive these things? (since lexus is luxury brand)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The steering and engine note are the only things that are underwhelming. The rest of the package is great.

      It's also pretty safe because it's fitted with Lexus Safety Sense now.

      Delete
    2. sir i was asking if its safe to own a lexus, does it attract too much attention?

      Delete
    3. Depends on the area, I guess. It doesn't attract that much attention TBH. Of course, you also don't want to tempt fate and bring it to dubious or sketchy areas, right?

      Delete
    4. to me I think Lexus would attract less attention than say, Mercedes, BMW, or Audi....I see more Lexus' on roads actually...

      Delete
    5. its lexus. nobody bats an eye with those cars

      Delete
    6. Some people cannot distinguish lexus from toyota. There are hiace, alphard, land cruisers and even corollas who are retrofitted with lexus grills and some people really believe that it is a lexus.

      Delete
    7. No one cares if it's a Lexus. It's honestly just a toyota.

      Delete
  2. Uly, did you test the Lexus Safety Sense systems there, especially the Adaptive Cruise, Lane Intervention (lane tracing) and the Auto High beam? How will it fare well in hellish traffic, and especially when outside light gets lower e.g. near at night?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I didn't get to test the adaptive cruise control. However, I did try the lane tracing assist and it responded well enough. It would detect lane markings as well as other systems.

      The pre-collision braking is on the sensitive side, but you can adjust for it by leaving a bigger gap to the car in front. If anything, the clearance sensors are a bit too sensitive. Wished there was a way to shut off the audible warning and just have it display a visual warning ala the Mazda3/CX-30.

      The Auto High Beam is quite funky actually because you actually see the NX switching between high/low beams quickly. It'll even activate the beams left/right independently so sometimes you'll see only the left or right side on bright.

      Delete
  3. Would you have a review of the base model that is priced at PhP3.3M? How would this compare with the RAV4 LTD? Thanks.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Interesting cross-shopping between a RAV4 LTD HEV and the base NX.

      Interesting if Toyota PH would bring the RAV4 Prime (which i would surmise to be around 2.9M if they brought it in). That one would be a better buy than a Lexus 350H Executive - bang for the buck if you were shopping at that price range.

      Delete
    2. The Prime is PHEV. Would prefer BEV like the RAV4 LTD and the new NX. Been watching comparisons of the RAV4 and the NX on YT but these are for foreign markets. Unsure if the extra 800k peso premium over the NX executive over the RAV4 LTD is worth it. What extras do you get - badge, better NVH, infotainment? But RAV4 also has features not in the NX base model ...

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    3. judging by the specs only, you would be a little frustrated whichever you choose between rav4 ltd and the base NX, rav4 ltd is over priced and under equipped, its only selling point is its hybrid engine (and the toyota badge but we are comparing toyota and lexus), 3.3m NX on the other hand is lacking the bells and whistles for a premium suv (notice the 1.1 price diff. between executive and premium). a rav4 prime at 2.9m would definitely be better than the base NX, albeit still overpriced.

      Delete
  4. The NX is a very great car, has a CVT and hybrid engine, but the newly-launched Geely Emgrand (yes, only NA engine, and yes, it's not a Lexus) is still a compelling buy. Built on the same platform as the splendid Coolray, plus luxury cabin materials and tech at a very affordable price, the Emgrand challenges both MPVs & subcompact crossovers. Good job Geely.

    P.S. Hope Geely will offer in the future a turbocharged Emgrand.jili namabawan

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, I agree after test-driving this Lexus & the Geely. I returned to the Geely dealership right away & bought the Emgrand in cash.

      Chanis style just add one egg namba 888.

      Delete
    2. Yes, hands down Geely over Lexus. Why settle for one (1) NX 350H Premier for Php4.48M when you can have 5 Geely Emgrands 1.5 Premium! Ultimate flex of 5 Geely's in the garage rather than one lonely Lexus. Good job Geely!

      Haha!

      I'd take the NX over a Geely. I'd take a Rav 4 Hybrid over a Geely. But that's just comparing apples to oranges.

      Delete
    3. ^
      naku. sabi ni boy interior mas gugustuhin niya daw yung peugeot kaysa rav 4 hybrid

      Delete
    4. lmao, you are the one from the rav4 hahahahaha, thanks for making my day so early in the morning, i already forgot about you but i didnt realize i made quite an impact to you that i literally live in your head rent free HAHAHAHAHA

      PS. im already planning to buy this one in a metallic orange, maybe you should too so your peasant butt can at least experience a leather seat since your 2.1m rav4 still has fabric haha

      man, i havent made a comment here and there you are spouting things about me, cant really get me out of your pea brain ehh haha

      Delete
    5. who wouldn't forget a nutjob that buys cars solely based on its interior?

      Delete
    6. see, cant get me out of your head eh, hahaha, you are still stuck with the same argument i never even claimed HAHAHA, but maybe thats because theres a limit in the number of words your pea size brain can process, you think everyone who buys cars are like you, i provided you arguments based on facts and you just trolled your way on the conversation, based on how we conversed i can already tell you belong to the old people who would believe in fake news, would comment instantly without reading an article and scream respect my opinion hahaha, i really hope you are old cause if not then that would only mean you are just plain stupid hahaha

      Delete
    7. excuses excuses. parang batang puro palusot.

      Delete
  5. Torque is only 239nm?

    Personally, I would go for the Mercedes GLC 200

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  6. sir the f sport has a tubrchraged engine and has a little more hp, would that make a difference on performancehere?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. AFAIK, they'll be releasing an F Sport demo unit with the turbocharged engine, so we can't wait to try that one out.

      For daily driving, this hybrid is already good enough--personally, I think that's what Lexus's "signature" is.

      Delete
  7. Would rather buy this than the German ones. Cheaper in the long run because of its reliability, the materials will last better, it'll spend more time on the road than the garage or service center, and the drive is comfortable.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. ayaw ni boy interior ng reliability. bahala na mahirap maintenance ng sasakyan niya basta maganda daw ang interior at nakaka impress ng kanyang mga kaibigan.

      Delete
  8. Scotty Kilmer will agree with you 👍

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  9. nice comment on the "scotty kilmer" :)

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  10. Only problem is the long queue, updated lead time now is at 6 to 12 months.

    ReplyDelete

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