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Test Drive: 2015 Lexus NX

This svelte new vehicle gets a beastly snout and moves with turbo or hybrid power

by CH Contributor in Design on 15 July 2014

by Sue Mead

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“It’s the next wave of luxury inspired by passion,” says Lexus' Takeaki Kato, chief engineer of the all-new NX. Hallmarked by a gargantuan grille, the crossover was evidently designed not only to be safe, smart and eco-friendly, but also distinctive. Lexus had young, city-dwellers in mind when creating the NX, which arrives in two distinct versions: a NX 200t, with Lexus’s first ever turbo-charged gasoline engine and an available F Sport performance package; and the NX 300h hybrid, Lexus’ sixth hybrid model. Kato, a racing enthusiast who has one of Toyota's fabled MR2 Spyders in his personal garage, wanted the NX to be “not normal, but unique.”

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NX’s angular body looks as if it had been sculpted from a single hunk of metal. The crossover's athletic, muscular stance is punctuated by wide, slanting C-pillars that speak to the breadth of internal stowage—the interior rear storage space was designed to swallow four golf bags. The focal point of the rear is the raked tailgate with an integrated spoiler. Back haunches are trimmed by Lexus’ signature L-shape light clusters, with seamless LEDs and an outer lens that gives the impression of crystal. The underbelly’s six aero panels and a roof-mounted spoiler are a nod to racing technology and help smooth it in the air currents. The more menacing-looking F Sport is distinguished by special badging, a more bellicose grille and lower front bumper, along with special wheels and black outside mirrors.

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Motoring the new models, there are no great surprises but a few significant charms. The 200t pleases with power-on-tap and no turbo lag, while the more potent F Sport allows you to tap into your inner racer by boosting the engine/exhaust melodies. Both come in front-drive or all-wheel-drive versions, with a new six-speed automatic transmission. All models are set up to smooth corners, bumps and dips on the road and all feature super-smart and driverless safety features that aid in handling unpredictable situations. Significant is Dynamic Radar Cruise Control that maintains a preset vehicle-to-vehicle distance that can come to a full stop, when necessary.

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In addition to the Lexus premium audio system with an eight-channel amplifier, Digital SignalProcessor (DSP) and eight speakers, the NX is equipped with a Multi-Media Navigation that comes with a range of native and nonnative apps. The helpful voice-enabled apps let you search the Internet through Bing, make restaurant reservations using OpenTable, get movie tickets via MovieTickets.com, listen to Internet radio, search reviews on Yelp and check in on Facebook. The subscription-required Lexus Enform Remote lets drivers remotely view and control certain vehicle features using a mobile app for iOS and Android devices (remote door lock/unlock; remote stop/start for the engine and climate control; vehicle finder, guest driver monitor along with others). Lexus Enform Safety Connect provides an Emergency-Vehicle Notification.

The all-new NX is now available in Eminent White, which Lexus says is “brighter than the brightest conventional white” and, along with Silver Lining Metallic, produces a metal-like shine. Plus the 200t F Sport is available in an exclusive Ultrasonic Blue Mica. Find more information soon directly from Lexus.

Images courtesy of DewhurstPhoto

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