NEW_CAR_PREVIEW

2015 Lexus NX Preview

By: Jeff Youngs, 4/18/2014
Fast Facts:
  • All-new small crossover model
  • Turbo and hybrid variants available
  • First Lexus to feature a turbocharger
  • Wireless charging for smartphones
  • Goes on sale in the United States in late 2014

Introduction
Lexus is entering the compact crossover segment with the debut of the all-new 2015 NX. Slotting in below the current RX model, the NX will go up against the Acura RDX, BMW X1, Infiniti QX50, Volvo XC60, and others. The company had not announced pricing at the time of this writing, but to be competitive the starting bid will need to be in the $35,000 ballpark.

Exterior Features
According to Lexus, its new small crossover will be offered in NX 200, NX 200t, NX 200t F Sport, and NX 300h versions, with all but the NX 200 coming to the United States. As with all of the company's new and redesigned models, the 2015 NX is fitted with a bold, pronounced grille flanked by a heavily sculpted bumper and dramatic LED lighting. Along the sides are flared fenders and quarter panels accented by 17- or 18-in. alloy wheels, sharp upper and lower body creases, deep door-handle pockets, and a short greenhouse that contributes to the NX's athletic stance. Designers have finished off the rear with an integrated spoiler, wedge-like LED taillights, and dual exhaust tips (single on the 300h).

Interior Features
Aside from mention of its Human Machine Interface (HMI) central controller, Lexus hasn't been forthcoming with specifics about the 2015 NX's cabin. That said, images of the various trim levels showcase leather upholstery and trim, an infotainment screen sitting atop the dash, wood and metallic accents, push-button start, power liftgate, power-folding rear seats, heated steering wheel, heated and cooled front seats, dual-zone climate control, panoramic moonroof, and two rows of seating. The NX F Sport adds upgrades such as color-keyed accent stitching, aluminum foot pedals, and perforated leather on the steering wheel.

Under the Hood
In keeping with the market's shift toward smaller, boosted power plants, the 2015 NX 200t will mark a Lexus first--the use of a turbocharger. This air-gulping apparatus will be bolted to a 2.0-liter 4-cylinder engine, which is mated to an automatic transmission with a sport mode and steering wheel-mounted paddle shifters. Buyers have their choice of front- or all-wheel-drive capability.

Car shoppers seeking the most efficient NX may find themselves drawn to the 300h hybrid. Lexus has not released specifications, but one could presume this model will use a setup similar to that of the 200-horsepower ES 300h sedan.

Fuel Economy
EPA fuel-economy ratings for the 2015 Lexus NX have not been announced. Estimates for its direct competitors vary quite a bit, with the Infiniti QX50 expected to average 17 mpg in the city and 25 mpg on the highway, the BMX X1 achieving 23 mpg around town and 34 mpg on the freeway, and the Acura RDX essentially splitting the difference with figures of 20 and 28 mpg, respectively. As for the hybrid, expect at least a slight drop compared to the 40-mpg ES 300h.

Technology
More than just a new package for recycled Lexus bits, the 2015 NX will arrive with advanced features not seen on the company's other models, including a wireless charging tray, g-sensor, and a boost gauge. Among the other highlights are intelligent cruise control, rear cross-traffic alert, and a head-up display.

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