2022 Lexus NX 350h Luxury

Is the second generation Lexus NX the best crossover money can buy?
Is the second generation Lexus NX the best crossover money can buy?

by Ben So | March 29, 2022

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We love the way the Lexus NX looks, and its combination of refinement and long-term reliability are second to none. There was, however, one thing that stopped us from recommending it wholeheartedly –clunky and convoluted infotainment. We were rejoiced when we found out that for the second generation NX, Lexus had completely overhauled its infotainment system to one that promises to be up to date and easy to use. We simply couldn’t wait to snatch the keys to a 2022 Lexus NX 350h Luxury to see if the new infotainment was indeed all that it needed to be a top choice.

Be it time, or the more sculpted front headlight and bumper design, the controversial Lexus spindle front grille carried over from the previous generation is looking right at home on the all-new NX and sets the tone for this trendy crossover. Its styling shares a lot of resemblance with the bold Lexus UX – another crossover we really like in the Lexus portfolio. Lexus has reserved the brightest colours for the top-of-the-line NX 450h+ which could end up being a smart move as they bring out the best of the NX.

Being the middle child of the NX lineup, Lexus expects the hybrid-powered NX 350h to be the volume seller. The hybrid powertrain pairs a 2.5-litre four-cylinder engine with two electric motors to generate 240 horsepower, twenty percent more than the previous generation and improved zero to 100 km/h sprint time by one and half seconds. Don’t mistake it as being fast though; accelerating to 100km/h still takes 7.4 seconds and the Lexus NX 350h is best to be driven leisurely rather than hustled.

All Canadian NX models are all-wheel drive but the various models within the lineup actually get their own distinct systems to direct power. The NX 350h and NX 450h+ are equipped with Lexus’ AWD-e system that uses an electric motor to drive the rear wheels when traction is needed, and can keep sending power to the rear at speeds up to 69 km/h before its front wheels take control. We had the opportunity to try this system out through some deeper snow and can confirm that the transition is seamless, nearly imperceptible, and worked well in slippery conditions while maximizing efficiency.

Fuel economy is rated at 5.7L/100km in the city and 6.4L/100km on the highway for a combined figure of 6.0L/100km. Our test week yielded a thirstier-than-expected 7.5L/100km through city-heavy commutes, but all in all it is still a phenomenal figure for a commuter. The real bonus here is that regular grade gasoline is accepted for its 55 litre tank.

As mentioned, we were thrilled when we found out that Lexus engineers have finally done away with any joystick or touchpads and fitted the 2022 NX with its all-new Lexus Interface multimedia system. Commands are now accepted through the touchscreen on the centre console – 9.8-inch standard with our tester equipped with the optional 14-inch unit.

This new infotainment system is a massive improvement and brings the NX up to date with features like over-the-air updates, wireless charging, and wireless Android Auto and Apple CarPlay integration. We did encounter some software glitches and smartphone connection issues throughout our week but we expect this to be resolved with future software updates. It is worth noting that the new Lexus Drive Connect system that powers the navigation and other personal assistance systems is a paid subscription feature and a three-year trial period is included with the purchase of Ultra Luxury or Executive Package on the NX 350h.

Interior space is quite good with above average space inside. The optional panoramic moonroof brightens up the cabin and we enjoyed the comfort offered by those gorgeous Rioja Red seats. Its suspension tuning is well calibrated for city comfort as well, soaking up most of the road imperfections, though we thought wind noises could have been better isolated. Cargo capacity is rated at 643 litres and all NX models can tow up to a maximum of 2,000 pounds regardless of powertrain.

The Lexus Safety System+ 3.0 is standard across the lineup, which includes driver assistance features such as Automatic High Beam, Pre-Collision System, Left Turn Oncoming Vehicle Detection and Braking, Oncoming Vehicle Detection, Radar Cruise Control, Lane Departure Alert with Steering Assist, and Right or Left Turn Oncoming Pedestrian Detection and Braking systems. Optional features include Risk Avoidance Emergency Steer Assist that helps mitigate accidents within the lane, Lane Change Assist, and Front Cross Traffic Alert systems, and we found the Intersection Detection system to be particularly useful in busy traffic situations.

The NX 350h starts at a reasonable $49,900 but climbs quickly once optional packages are added. Our tester is built with the $500 Cloudburst Grey paintjob and a $10,800 Ultra Luxury package that adds wireless charging, ventilated front seats, panoramic moonroof, power rear door with kick sensor, 64-colour ambient lighting, 20-inch wheels, along with a slew of other goodies to bring the as-tested total to $61,200.

Is the second generation Lexus NX the best crossover money can buy? No – we like the Genesis GV70 too much to give them the throne, and the BMW X3 is still the de-facto option for those looking for more thrills. However, the 2022 Lexus NX 350h Luxury is a very compelling option given its beautiful overall packaging and fuel efficiency, and for the first time ever, its infotainment is no longer a hindrance. We would not hesitate to recommend it to most crossover shoppers and expect it to be an instant hit.

See Also:

2021 Acura RDX A-Spec

2022 Genesis GV70 3.5T Sport Plus

2022 BMW X3 M40i xDrive

Vehicle Specs
Segment
Compact Luxury Crossover
Engine Size
2.5L inline four hybrid
Horsepower (at RPM)
240 at 6,000
Torque (lb-ft.)
167 at 3,200
Fuel Efficiency (L/100km, City/Highway/Combined)
5.7/6.4/6.0
Observed Fuel Efficiency (L/100km)
7.5
Cargo Capacity (in L)
643
Base Price (CAD)
$49,900
As-Tested Price (CAD)
$61,200
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About Ben So

Editor-in-Chief

Ben has been living and breathing car magazines, spec sheets, and touring auto shows for his entire life. As proud member of the Automotive Journalists Association of Canada, he keeps a close eye on the latest-and-greatest in the auto industry. When he isn't geeking out about the coolest new cars, he's probably heading to the next hidden-gem ice cream shop with his three quickly growing kids.

Current Toys: '97 Integra Type R, '07 LS 460 RWD, '08 Corvette Z06, '13 JX35 Tech

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