Meet the new LEXUS NX. It is a compact premium crossover based on the Toyota RAV4′s architecture. Filled to the brim with Lexus goodies, it is the asian version of Range Rover’s wildly successful Evoque. Ot at least that is what Lexus wants you think.
IT has a new turbo Four cylinder engine – a first for Lexus, as well as Toyota’s tried and true hybrid system. And so with big swaths of leather, this should be a contender, right?
The Look is certainly premium, and the new LED headlight clusters prominently announce themselves as something special. And, let’s face it, it is a big improvement over the concept upon which it is based – that concept was so confusing and heavy handed, this is appreciatively toned down, but still striking. Yes, the trapezoidal grill is giant, and is sure to illicit polarizing responses, but the body angles are more harmonious, and it all comes off pretty and modern. The front overhang looks pretty huge at some angles, but in person, less noticeable.
The Interior is straight up modern Lexus, – a good thing, if not still a bit bland. Missing the IS’s LF -inspired digital instruments, it is premium and luxurious nonetheless. Personally, I still have a problem with the straight from a Corolla headrests that Toyota doesn’t want to give up, but at least there is a red option, and probably a brown as well. A full size moonroof is available, and that will go some way in mimicking the Evoque’s airy passenger experience. Hauling space is on par – which is to say, not big, but will do the requisite groceries.
I feel confident in the NX’s success, and am certain Lexus has a hit in the making. The troves of Lexus buyers – those who don’t even have to think about it – they go for the latest wearing the badge, are really going to like this. Lexus doesn’t make many missteps. The question is, how many conquest buyers will this gain? And that is harder to say – as they position themselves against the pack leader, competition gets rough. Does this Lexus have the cache to go up against Range Rover, which lately has been setting the bar?
Personally, I like the Evoque better. I like the more Tonka truck like styling and the simpler, and far more elegant interior. Another thing that bothers me here, is the safety issue. Much to Toyota’s surprise, the RAV4 failed to get the highest marks in the improved latest tests, and I wonder if that issue has been addressed here. We should know within a year, when the Highway Institute gets around to crashing one, but until then, I would wonder. In the premium luxury market, one thing you pay for is the ability not to have to wonder. Deservingly or not.
That said, this will be clogging the streets soon. Just wait.
Here is Mercedes Benz‘s official sketch of their BMW X6 fighter, probably known as the MLC.
The emergence of the fab five doors. Mercedes is working on a five door C Class, and they just announced a Chinese market only extended wheelbase version. A coincidence? No – the Chinese 3 Series extended wheelbase, forms the basis for the 3 Series GT. The same will probably happen for the C Class five door:
Also, following BMW‘s relentless niche filling models, it has been speculated that they will produce a 2 series GT. This is what it may look like.