LEXUS has given its best-selling model in the UK a whole new look and it's jam-packed with high-end technology and creature comforts.
Since its launch back in 2014, the NX has gone on to account for more than 27,000 sales in Britain but it was starting to look a little dated.
Now Lexus designers and engineers have taken the brave step to give the SUV a new, fresher design and introduce a wealth of updated tech to the mix, without scaring away the faithful customer base.
The new model was introduced at the end of 2021 and, for the first time, featured a plug-in hybrid system - it was called the NX 450h.
But now there is the more familiar NX 350h version which is fitted with the company's all-new fourth-generation self-charging hybrid system with new battery packs and the option of E-Four all-wheel drive.
All models have a 2.5-litre, four-cylinder petrol engine with 241bhp - this is a 24 per cent power increase and that means the new NX is faster than its predecessor. It can sprint from 0-62mph in 7.7 seconds, tops out at 124mph while delivering a combined 44.1-47.9mpg with carbon emissions from 129g/km for front-wheel drive versions or 136g/km on those fitted with E-Four technology.
Customers can choose from trim levels calledcalled NX, Premium Pack, Premium Plus Pack, Takumi and F Sport Premium Plus Pack with pricesstarting from £38,250.
We opted for the more dynamically-styled NX 350h F Sport AWD with optional Takumi Pack and sunroof, costing £54,800. Specialist metallic paint saw the price rise by an additional £920.
When it comes to styling, the NX which boasts 95 per cent new parts, is definitely a looker with plenty of road presence. It features a massive spindle grille that is impossible to ignore, four-eye LED headlights, plus a slim adaptive high beam system for the first time with L-shaped daytime running lights.
The rear has a new signature design with L-shaped LED lights and a light blade spanning the width of the car. The LEXUS name replaces the company logo on the tailgate and there is privacy glass, a sunroof, puddle lamps and 20-inch F Sport wheels to complete the athletic appearance.
Move inside and the cabin is pure class with the finest leather upholstery and eight-way powered sports seats. The number of physical switches has been reduced from 75 to 45 but there are physical controls for the most popular functions.
The main focal point and the car's nerve centre is the new 14-inch high-definition touchscreen which looks modern and very premium. On-board tech includes a 17-speaker Mark Levinson sound system, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, a 10-inch head-up display, Bluetooth, dual zone climate control and plenty more besides.
A personal assistant is brought to life by saying: "Hey Lexus" and this can now recognise 19 languages as well as assist with restaurant locations, finding vacant parking spaces, searching for radio stations and even functions such as closing the windows and raising the temperature.
When it comes to performance, the Lexus NX is a very smooth operator. It is swift out the starting blocks and the CVT transmission is nicely refined as the car powers to motorway cruising speeds.
On twisting country lanes, it is well grounded with minimal signs of body movement. And our F Sport model also boasted adaptive suspension to assist with the crisp handling of the car.
There are drive modes that alter the reactions of the NX and these are calledNormal, Eco, Sport S and Sport S+. Our vehicle also featured all-wheel drive for added assurance in more adverse weather and driving conditions.
With the elevated driving position, the all-round visibility is good and there is a 360-degree panoramic view monitor, intelligent park assist sensors, plus a digital rearview mirror to assist with parking or looking out for other road users.
Comfort levels within the new NX are sublime and there is room in the back for a trio of passengers. The rear outer seats can be heated to fend off the winter blues and, up front, the seats can be heated or cooled and there is a heated steering wheel.
The boot is well-sized with lots of underfloor storage compartments. It can accommodate 545 litres of luggage, a limit that is increased to 1,436 litres by dropping the 60:40 split-folding rear seats.
For added convenience, the tailgate has a kick sensor so it can be opened hands-free by waving your foot beneath the rear bumper. This is really practical if approaching the car carrying lots of shopping.
Elsewhere there is a lockable glovebox, deep central cubby, a wireless charging pad, wide door bins, seat back pockets, plus front and rear cup holders.
Although the second generation NX is yet to be tested for its Euro NCAP safety rating, the car is packed with all the latest driver assist systems to help protect occupants and prevent accidents.
It also premieres a new E-Latch system that replaces the traditional interior door handle. This electronic door release set-up will prevent you opening the door into the path of a passing car or cyclist. It can be over-ridden with a traditional handle in an emergency.
Other safety systems include an improved pre-collision system that detects more risk scenarios, lane keep assist, intersection assist, dynamic radar cruise control, blind spot monitor and lots more besides.
All in all, the new 2022 NX is a top-quality car that has been brought bang up to date. It boasts new styling, a wealth of technology and fabulous driving dynamics along the way.