Susan Frissell, Editor, Womenwithwheels.com
Our test 2022 Lexus NX 350 AWD model was a prototype version and with a few new changes from the 2021 model. With about 6 varying models available, the NX SUV joins the already growing and large lineup from Lexus. If they don’t have it, they don’t make it. Lots to choose from in SUVs on the Lexus lot.
The first-generation NX (sold 2015 to 2021 model years) was introduced as a new small luxury SUV in this segment. A popular offering, the NX was priced competitively, but had its faults. Competing with the Acura RDX and M-B GLC, it couldn’t compete with its small cargo space, and some felt, a not-so-easy to use infotainment interface. The second generation NX fixed some of its first-time around failures.
Offered for 2022 in several versions starting with the NX 250 FWD (203-hp in-line 4), our test version the NX 350 Front-and-AWD driver versions ($39,025 and $40,625, respectively). Next is the NX 350 AWD with 275-horse-power and Turbo-in-line 4 ($42,625). The NX 350 is also available in the F Sport handling version with AWD, looking great with 20-inch wheels and glass black finish. Also included in the NX options are the NX 450h AWD ($42,125), the NX 450h AWD ($56,725), and the NX 450h F Sport AWD ($57,975).
One might ask “Why so many models?” Apparently, Lexus thought it necessary to reach several different groups of buyers.
We found the NX 275-hp Turbo, 4-cylinder engine noisy and a tad sluggish. Not what one expects when stepping into a Lexus vehicle. However, it offers several other goodies-class-such as the seats. Very comfortable with enhanced bolsters, our test vehicle came with the Dark Rose Nuluxe seat trim. We especially liked the very sharp sporting 20-inch wheels, and the beautiful black finish.
The ride quality in the NX is smooth and quiet. Not as stiff as in the F Sport version. The turbocharged cylinder producing 275 horse and 317 lb-ft. torque is an increase of 40 hp and 59 lb-ft from the NX 300 that also came equipped with a turbocharged 2.0-liter engine. The NX 350 is about the right amount of punch and seems quick and competitive.
The updated NX 350 is comfortable, quiet and smooth, with a ride you expect in a Lexus product. There are plenty of unfilled pot holes in town and having been unable to avoid all of them, we found the NX handled most well. The ride in the NX is sporty, yet comfortable and quiet. IF you’re looking for a little more sportiness, opt for the F Sport version.
The wide central display took this writer some time to figure out but then seemed less frustrating than some. A standard screen is 9.8-inches and if you want, can opt for the 14-inch upgrade. Lexus has finally changed from the annoying central display not far from the driver, but controlled by that annoying touchpad. The NX 350’s tech offerings are many and it is the first vehicle to get the latest infotainment system (Lexus interface). Despite all the other great things Lexus brings to a vehicle, they weren’t winning any prizes for the previous system. While not the best, the new version is a step up. We didn’t engage the navigation system or other functions (such as voice activation).
The new NX SUV gets an increase in the rear seat cargo area. Given its larger stance and increase in space, the NX is now competitive with other small luxury SUV’s, but not the roomiest. There is a small storage bin below the cargo floor and available power-folding seats. If you’re one who likes the moonroof, you’ll love this one. Covering front and back, power tilt and slide ($1,100) it provides a great breezy ride on summer nights.
All in all, the updated NX 350 is a big improvement over the one that led. One of our favorite offerings is the Mark Levinson sound system. Other high-tech features include traction control, Lane Departure Warning, ABS, Tire Pressure Monitor, Brake Assist, Stability Control, Back-up Camera, Cross Traffic Alert and Blind Spot Monitor, among others.
MSRP: $42,625 (assumed)
Engine: 275-hp Turbo, in-line 4 cylinder
Transmission: 8-speed automatic
MPG: 22/29 mpg
Wheels: Aluminum 18×7.5
Tires: P235/60H R18
Fuel tank capacity: 14.5 gal.
Maximum towing: 2,000 lbs.
Width: 73.4 in.
Length: 183.5 in.
Wheelbase: 105.9 in.
Curb weight: 4,035
Warranty: 4 y, 50,000-mile Basic, 6 yr./unlimited miles Corrosion; 6 yrs./70,000-miles Drivetrain; 1 yr./10,000-miles Maintenance, 4 yrs./unlimited miles Roadside Assistance.