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2022 Lexus NX: Not just a Toyota RAV4! What's coming next for one of the most popular luxury hybrid SUVs

The new NX was accidentally leaked in a video late last month.

Lexus Australia will likely pull forward the launch of the replacement of its most important model, the NX, to late this year or early 2022.

The world, of course, knows exactly what the newcomer looks like, courtesy of an unintentionally leaked video that broke the internet back in late February. As a result of this, CarsGuide understands that all stops have been pulled out to get it out there officially sooner rather than later.

Based on the larger ‘K’ version of the Toyota New Global Architecture (TNGA-K), the second-generation NX will break through with fresh technologies for the luxury brand, including an advanced multimedia system housed in a big 14-inch touchscreen display that should rival the Mercedes-Benz MBUX set-up for sophistication and capability.

Touch controls, electronic displays galore and the welcome abolition of the fiddly, controversial touchpad further define the latest Lexus SUV.

We also hear that – along with a naturally-aspirated four-cylinder petrol (NX200), 2.0-litre turbo-petrol (NX300) and series-parallel hybrid (NX350h) versions as per the first generation – the best-selling Lexus will most likely introduce an NX450h plug-in hybrid (PHEV), though whether that debuts alongside the rest of the range or comes later is not yet known.

And further down the line, the rumour mill also suggests an all-electric option, perhaps to be badged NX500e.

As the leaked video shows, the NX adopts a sportier design theme – a move that is deemed necessary as it attempts to solidify its place in the premium mid-size pecking order against the BMW X3, Mercedes-Benz GLC, Audi Q5 and (not for Australia, sadly) the incoming Infiniti QX60. These are seriously aggressive players vying for a growing slice of very lucrative market.

The integrated multi-faceted quad-beam LED front lighting signature signals a novel take on the existing ‘L’ motif style that has fronted Lexus for a number of years, and it’s likely to find its way on the next-generation RX due out in about 2023.

While the rest of the vehicle is clearly larger than before, the brand is obviously playing it safe this time around, melding in visual elements of the popular UX small SUV and restyled IS mid-size sedan.

The second-generation NX’s corresponding sister car in the Toyota line-up is the US-market Venza, which was introduced earlier last year abroad but is not slated for Australian consumption any time soon.

  • 2021 Lexus NX (Image credit: Club Lexus) 2021 Lexus NX (Image credit: Club Lexus)
  • 2021 Lexus NX (Image credit: Club Lexus) 2021 Lexus NX (Image credit: Club Lexus)

Of course, both models are comparative niche vehicles compared to the other two big-volume SUV blockbusters, the Toyota RAV4 and Toyota Kluger, as well as the evergreen Camry sedan and its Lexus ES midsizer offshoot.

Despite being one of the oldest vehicles in the $60K-plus Mid-size SUV segment, the NX held its ground last year, rising in sales slightly (by 1.4 per cent) while others like the X3, Q5 and GLC tumbled – by 4.9 per cent, 27.9 per cent and 22.5 per cent respectively.

Rather unexpectedly, this means the Lexus came in third overall, with 3518 registrations for 13 per cent of the segment, just behind the GLC wagon’s 4470/16.5 per cent and X3’s 4360/16.1 per cent slices.

A hugely vital model for Lexus’ ongoing survival then, so keep watching this space as we find out more on the 2022 NX.