Test Drive: 2022 Lexus NX 450h+ F Sport
2022 Lexus NX 450h+ F Sport
Class: Premium Compact Crossover
Miles driven: 1056
Fuel used: 27.9 gallons
Real-world fuel economy: 37.8 mpg
Driving mix: 25% city, 75% highway
EPA-estimated fuel economy: 84 MPGe/36 mpg (city/highway combined)
|CG Report Card|
|Room and Comfort||B|
|Power and Performance||B|
|Fit and Finish||A-|
|Report-card grades are derived from a consensus of test-driver evaluations. All grades are versus other vehicles in the same class. Value grade is for specific trim level evaluated, and may not reflect Consumer Guide's impressions of the entire model lineup.|
|Big & Tall Comfort|
|Big & Tall comfort ratings are for front seats only. "Big" rating based on male tester weighing approximately 350 pounds, "Tall" rating based on 6'6"-tall male tester.|
|Engine Specs||302-hp 2.5-liter|
Fuel type: Premium gas required
Base price: $56,900 (not including $1075 destination charge)
Options on test vehicle: Ultrasonic Blue Mica 2.0 paint ($595); Lexus Digital Key, SmartAccess card key, wireless charger ($450); Panoramic View Monitor, Lane Change Assist, Front Cross-Traffic Alert, steering-wheel touch sensor ($1070); premium triple-beam LED headlamps, headlamp washers, and cornering lamps ($850), 6.6-kW onboard charger ($800)
Price as tested: $61,740
The great: Luxurious, high-quality interior trimmings; much-improved infotainment interface with lots of high-tech features; fuel-saving flexibility of plug-in-hybrid powertrain
The good: New NX lineup offers broad range of powertrains/models and available comfort and technology features; decent interior room for the size
The not so good: Not particularly quiet for a luxury vehicle; not as athletic as some class rivals, even in F Sport trim
More NX price and availability information
Lexus is putting a lot of fresh eggs in one basket with the 2022 NX premium-compact SUV. The vehicle begins its second generation with redone styling inside and out, an expanded powertrain lineup—including the line’s first plug-in hybrid, and an infotainment interface with a welcomed switch to a touchscreen in place of the former remote touchpad on the console.
Consumer Guide editors tried out a preproduction 450h+ plug-in with F Sport suspension and appearance equipment. They found it pleasant to drive; nicely appointed; comfortable enough—depending on a passenger’s build—and crammed with features that were either helpful, puzzling, or even amusing. The cost for all of this starts at $57,975 (with delivery), which is $1250 more than a 450h+ without F Sport gear.
Wheelbase of 105.9 inches and total length of 183.5 inches each represent gains of 1.2 inches from the first-gen NX that bowed as a 2015 model. The new job is fractionally narrower and lower, however. Its “Global Architecture-K” structure is once again related to the concurrent Toyota RAV4 platform.
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Underneath is a fully independent suspension to which the F Sport adds adaptive variable tuning and lateral performance dampers. Save for the base 250 model, which comes with a choice of front- or all-wheel drive, all NXs come with AWD only. Even as an F Sport the NX isn’t an overtly athletic handler, but it’s nonetheless nicely balanced in spirited driving. Rolling on low-profile tires—wheels are 20-inch alloys with a gloss-black finish—it hits road cracks somewhat noisily but responds well to those impacts in terms of damping and body control.
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The powerteam is essentially a pick-up from the RAV4 Prime: a 2.5-liter 4-cylinder gas engine with twin electric motors—one per axle—that generates a combined 302 horsepower, the most in the NX lineup. The transmission is a continuously variable automatic, albeit with paddle shifters for those who don’t want to wait for the trans to wind up. CGers found the gas engine can be a little rumbly, and while the powertrain doesn’t feel quite as gutsy as it does in the lighter RAV4 Prime, it’s still plenty peppy, particularly as an EV in around-town driving.
Lexus says a fully charged 450h+ can go 36 miles on nothing but electricity. During a test period that consisted of relatively mild Chicago winter weather (with temps mostly in the mid-30s F), our editors consistently saw 35 miles of EV range—in other words, not bad for the conditions. Thanks to that head start before he needed to begin burning gasoline, this reviewer recorded 33.9 mpg from his 99.6-mile stint, 38 percent of which was in in city-style operation. Hooked to the 240-volt charging station at Consumer Guide Supreme World Headquarters, the NX told us it would take 3 hours, 10 minutes to fully replenish its spent battery.
In the time it takes to recharge the hybrid battery we could do countless backflips of joy over the new infotainment interface that does away with the annoyingly imprecise and distracting Remote Touch console touchpad. In its place is a far-easier-to-use touchscreen of either 9.8 or 14 inches, the latter standard in the 450h+ models. There’s a lot on the touchscreen, but tapping into desired functions is far more direct than with the old system. The only physical controls for the dual-zone climate system are buttons for front and rear defrosters and the temperature-selection knobs, but the virtual controls worked well enough—though we’d still rather have a knob to quickly set fan speed. Elsewhere on the dash, F Sport drivers enjoy good, vibrant performance-instrument and head-up displays, both standard.
In addition to the features previously mentioned, the F Sport adds a number of specific appearance touches. Inside, there is aluminum accent trim, including on the pedals; specially bolstered and heated/ventilated front seats (like most NXs, clad in NuLuxe leatherette); and perforated leather on the shift knob and heated steering wheel. Exterior distinctions are rain-sensing windshield wipers, unique bumper and grille treatments, black roof rails and window trim, and color-keyed overfenders.
Other standard equipment of note at the 450h+ level is a power moonroof, LED headlamps and taillamps, wireless Apple CarPlay/Android Auto smartphone compatibility, and 10-speaker premium sound system. Also included is the Lexus Safety System+ 3.0 tech suite. It includes adaptive cruise control, blind-spot monitoring, pedestrian detection, lane-departure warning, evasive steering assist, and collision warning.
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Our resident 6-foot-6 “Tall Guy” tester, Damon Bell, found the seating a bit cramped (see below), but this considerably shorter driver thought the NX was roomy in front and possessed of decent adult space for two in the second row. Ample personal-storage options and lots of soft-surface material make for a nice interior environment. There is good cargo space for a small SUV (22.7 cubic feet behind the rear seats and 46.9 cubic feet with the seats down), and if you can leave the 120-volt temporary charging cord at home, you’ll get a nice underfloor well for more storage.
From the eggs in the 2022 NX’s basket, Lexus has cooked up a tasty omelet for luxury-class small-SUV buyers.
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I had juuust enough room once I settled in in the new NX’s driver’s seat, but other premium compact SUVs offer better front-seat space. Ditto for the rear seats—I couldn’t fit behind myself very comfortably. I was impressed with the overall interior fit and finish, especially considering our tester was a preproduction vehicle.
Meanwhile, the tech package on the new model provides some love-it-or-hate-it moments:
- Multipurpose steering-wheel controls are novel, but they require more attention to use than if they just served a single function—one tap (or at least a touch/hover over) is required to activate the function, with a second press needed to execute the function.
- The urgent, loud warning beeps of Lexus and Toyota vehicles–like when the power liftgate is opened—remain annoying.
- Lexus’ interface infotainment system is a big step forward. There are lots of features packed in here (ambient cabin lighting is customizable in a rainbow of colors, for example), and most of them are relatively easy to access. I am not big on voice-command stuff, but the “Hey Lexus” prompt worked quite well. And saying “Hey Lexus, tell me a joke” elicits such gems as these, which are made slightly funnier by the system’s artificial, all-business, female voice:
“The rotation of the earth really makes my day.”
“Two Wi-Fi engineers got married . . . the reception was fantastic.”
“I’m reading a book about antigravity . . . it’s impossible to put down.”
“I didn’t think orthopedic shoes would help, but I stand corrected.”
- Though usually not a fan of digital-camera-display rearview mirrors–they mess with my depth perception and give me a bit of a headache–I used this one because we had the cargo area packed to the headliner with large boxes. It was nice to be able to have a decent rear view when the mirror would otherwise be blocked.
- Digital-latch door handles seem gimmicky at first, but I grew to really like them. They also enable a safety feature; the latches won’t work temporarily if sensors detect an oncoming object.
- Short-term video “memory” means the 360-degree monitor also provides a view under the vehicle. You won’t be doing any major off-roading in an NX, but this capability could be helpful in other situations too.
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2022 Lexus NX 450h+ F Sport Gallery
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2022 Lexus NX 450h+
2022 Lexus NX 450h+
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