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Lexus NX 2022 review: 350h Luxury long-term | Part 1

The Lexus NX 2022 model range is expansive - but the entry-level Luxury has a lot to like! (Image: Matt Campbell)

Getting to know the new Lexus NX 

The last Lexus NX didn’t receive glowing reviews from the automotive industry - in fact, it was pretty broadly panned for being a less-good, more expensive version of a Toyota RAV4.

This new-gen one, though? It has been widely lauded for its sensible interior, luxury appointments, modern powertrains and wow-factor exterior and interior design.

Read the other long-term review instalments

“Wow” was exactly what my partner said when she first saw it - but not in a good way. She said she thought the grille was embarrassingly big, and that it looked like it was “designed by men, for men”.

Hmmm. Not off to a good start with her, then. But she soon warmed to the NX - if not to its look.

The entry-grade hybrid version of the Lexus NX, the 350h Luxury, has a list price of $65,600 plus on-road costs. (Image: Matt Campbell) The entry-grade hybrid version of the Lexus NX, the 350h Luxury, has a list price of $65,600 plus on-road costs. (Image: Matt Campbell)

One thing that appealed to her - and could appeal to you, too - is the price. The entry-grade hybrid version of the Lexus NX, the 350h Luxury, has a list price of $65,600 plus on-road costs… but that’s for the front-wheel drive model. It’s probably all the Lexus NX you really need.

Well, unless you’re a ski bunny or live out in the bush, then the AWD might have a bit more appeal. That’s the version we have - and it is fitted with the Enhancement Pack, which pushes the list price up to $73,400 plus on-road costs.

So, it’s hardly going to be competing against a Toyota RAV4 - the most in-demand hybrid version of which is the Cruiser grade, which, when equipped with the near-identical powertrain and AWD, is $48,750 plus on-roads.

The comparisons between the RAV4 and NX should really end there, though, because the new, second-gen Lexus NX does more than enough to stand apart. In fact, with this generation model, Lexus intentionally set out to make it more ‘Lexus’ and less ‘luxury Toyota’.

The very attractive rear treatment, with a horizontal light bar spanning the tailgate. (Image: Matt Campbell) The very attractive rear treatment, with a horizontal light bar spanning the tailgate. (Image: Matt Campbell)

A result of that is the more aggressive styling with that trademark (apparently rather controversial) grille, the pinched LED headlights, 18-inch alloy wheels with rather chubby 235/60-profile tyres (unfortunately, they’re runflats, so no spare in the boot), and the very attractive rear treatment, with a horizontal light bar spanning the tailgate.

I really like the look, and inside is just as interesting.

There’s red leather interior trim, which is stunning and unlike tan or white, it won’t show nasty marks from grubby kids quite so easily. It’s pretty daring for a family SUV, and so is the almost-square media screen display. I’ll have more to say about the usability of the multimedia system in next month’s update, but there’s Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, sat nav and digital radio.

There’s red leather interior trim. (Image: Matt Campbell) There’s red leather interior trim. (Image: Matt Campbell)

The screen also controls some aspects of the drive experience, including the active lane-keeping assistance system, which I’ve taken to turning off every time I drive the car. I understand this sort of tech can be super helpful, but I find the Lexus’s version to be overly interventional.  

That’s certainly what I found when myself, my partner and our daughter took the Lexus for the first of many road trips in May. We left the dogs at their favourite kennel (there wasn’t enough room in the Lexus, and we didn’t plan to take them on this particular trip anyway!), and hit the road - first heading from our place in the lower Blue Mountains to family in Goulburn, then from there onwards to Albury to visit friends.

The vehicle was packed - we had our baby seat, pram, a boot load of luggage and the bub in her rearward-facing seat, and it was pretty darn tight. Much tighter than my last long-term SUV, the Kia Sportage.

Boot space was a lot tighter than my last long-term SUV, the Kia Sportage. (Image: Matt Campbell) Boot space was a lot tighter than my last long-term SUV, the Kia Sportage. (Image: Matt Campbell)

I attended the new-gen Subaru WRX launch event while in the border city, and left the Lexus with Gemma to get around in. She had issues, straight up.

First, the Apple CarPlay wouldn’t work for her. I’d noticed it was hit-or-miss a couple of times since collecting it, but she could not get it to work with her phone (which is the same as mine, using the same cable, so…?). That meant, secondly, she had to rely on the built-in sat nav to get between where we were staying and our friends’ place - and it was laggy. She said it would offer up the instructions just like, half a second behind where you were on the road. Which can mean the difference between making a turn at the right street, or the wrong one.

The battery powering the car along without the need for the petrol engine. (Image: Matt Campbell) The battery powering the car along without the need for the petrol engine. (Image: Matt Campbell)

Hardly deal-breakers, sure. But not great. And she also didn’t like the lane-keeping tech, and asked me how to turn it off the next time she was driving it.

What she liked was that it feels very “natural” to drive - good steering, nice handling, a comfortable ride and it’s nice and quiet, too. She liked that it’s silent at times, with the battery powering the car along without the need for the petrol engine.

I’ve enjoyed watching the live powertrain graphic, seeing which part of the drivetrain is heaving the car forward. You can expect to see the little green EV light shining fairly regularly, even on the highway.

LX has good steering, nice handling, a comfortable ride and it’s nice and quiet. (Image: Matt Campbell) LX has good steering, nice handling, a comfortable ride and it’s nice and quiet. (Image: Matt Campbell)

And while highway driving was what we did most for this trip, we also had some urban running around to attend to, and both of us were impressed by the easy drive experience on offer.

The trip home was easy, and after 694km I topped up the tank for the first time since I’d collected the car. It had used an average of 6.5L/100km, which I thought was pretty good. The official combined cycle figure is 5.0L/100km.  

From there it was onwards to home, for more errands, a run up and down the Blue Mountains with friends, a trip to the Sydney seaside suburbs and back, and then our first full month with the NX was over.

The official combined cycle figure is 5.0L/100km. (Image: Matt Campbell) The official combined cycle figure is 5.0L/100km. (Image: Matt Campbell)

The second tank of fuel saw less impressive fuel consumption of 7.1L/100km, but I attribute that to more undulating terrain.

There was a third tank during this first month of getting to know the Lexus NX, after running yet more errands - a couple of trips into the city and back, shopping runs and drives to see friends up the mountains once more. And happily for tank number three, I ended up with a return of 5.4L/100km.

I look forward to seeing if I can get even closer to that elusive official figure in the coming months.

Stay tuned to see how I fare - and also, next update I’ll give you more info on the interior, infotainment and connectivity of the new-gen NX.

Acquired: 28 April 2022

Distance travelled so far: 2137km

Odometer: 4369km

Average fuel consumption so far: 6.3L/100km (measured at the pump)

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The Wrap

Likes

Interesting design
Hybrid powertrain
Easy to drive

Dislikes

Could be better packaged
Some tech issues
The grille isn't for everyone

Scores

Matt:

The Kids:

$83,091

Based on new car retail price

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