N-GAGING (some text hidden)
By Jonathan Crouch
Introductionword count: 104
With this NX, Lexus brought us a strikingly styled premium compact SUV that was unafraid to go its own way when it came to cars of this kind. It's the only model in the premium mid-sized SUV segment that can't be had in diesel form, with most variants instead offering beautifully refined and highly efficient petrol/electric hybrid power. The brand used this car to increase its European sales by a third. It certainly changed the way a lot of people felt about Lexus. Here, we're going to look at the original 2014-2017 version of the first generation model as a potential used car buy.
Modelsword count: 17
5-door SUV - NX 300h - 2.5 petrol/electric hybrid / NX 200t - four cylinder 2.0 turbo
Historyword count: 244
Premium compact SUVs are all the same - or are they? Here's one that's a little more individual: the Lexus NX. Lexus isn't afraid to be different: it never has been. This was the company that proved top luxury saloons didn't have to be German. And the brand that pioneered hybrid power when others were only just getting to grips with diesel. In 2014 with this NX model, it turned its attention to the premium mid-sized SUV segment and, perhaps inevitably, its approach was once again somewhat unique. The looks, for a start, make this by far the most distinctive design in its segment from this era. Amongst obvious rivals, even a Range Rover Evoque looks quite ordinary in comparison, while popular contenders like Audi's Q5 and BMW's X3 look positively mundane. Further setting this car apart is the technology that lies beneath its bonnet. In a segment that's traditionally relied almost exclusively on diesel power, it's the only model in its class from this era you can't fuel from the black pump, with most NX variants instead preferring the greener and more tax-efficient solution of petrol/electric hybrid power. Other promising attributes include class-leadingly efficient returns, high equipment levels and strong safety provision - plus the promise of a practical cabin. For the right kind of buyer then, it sounds an interesting combination. The original version of this MK1 model NX sold until late 2017, when it was replaced by a heavily facelifted version.
What You Getword count: 1220
Remember when Lexus models tried to look like their competitors? Seems a bit quaint now doesn't it? Those days are long gone and in this NX, what we got instead was one of the most individual designs on offer in mid-sized SUV market back in 2014, its styling an absolute riot of contrasting angles, swage lines and details all competing for you attention. It has absolutely no right to work - but somehow it just does. We think it looks great, but styling is as ever largely subjective and you might think it's terrible, which of course is completely OK. Go and buy a BMW X3 or an Audi Q5 in this segment if you don't want anyone to ever notice or comment on the car you drive. It's just a case of whether you want to spend as much as is required for a car of this kind on something wholly unexceptional. Powerfully-flared front and rear wings are fused to a diamond-shaped body, with defining lines generated from an overt interpretation of the brand's trademark 'spindle grille'. This feature dominates the front end, almost dwarfing an acutely-styled set of LED headlights that sit above tick-shaped daytime running light strips that also twinkle with hi-tech LEDs. The whole effect might not be quite as extreme as we saw on the LF-NX concept car that in 2013 originally inspired this model, but Chief Exterior Designer Nobuyuki Tomatsu's penmanship is fresh, edgy and different. It's thoughtful too: the artful disguise in the way the door handles conceal their key barrels is a particularly neat touch. Lexus wanted the NX to look as if it had been carved from a solid nugget of metal and you can certainly see that effect as you move round to the sides. Take the door detailing down near the sills that looks like it's been precision-milled by machine, sharp enough to cut you. We also love the convergence of swage lines by the rear C-pillar. It's true that the end result of all this aesthetic excess proved difficult for Lexus to finesse aerodynamically - hence the need for a lipped rear spoiler to preserve a half-way reasonable 0.33cd drag factor. Still, we think the effort was worth it: this NX is certainly going to stand out in a carpark full of German metal. It appears smaller than it really is too, thanks to the artful chamfering you'll find on each of the corners. The bodywork actually sits on the chassis of a Toyota RAV4, but if nobody told you, you'd probably look at it and think it competed with Audi Q3s, Mercedes GLAs and BMW X1s from the next class down. Get the size into perspective and the next thing you notice is just how hard Lexus has worked in creating a sleek shape without compromising rear headroom, the highest point of the roofline being stretched backwards. It's all part of a crouching, muscular stance accentuated by flared wheel arches that house either 17 or 18-inch alloy wheels. All this being the case, it would have been particularly disappointing if on the inside, Lexus had served up something more conventional. Fortunately, they haven't done. Take a seat up-front and the shape of the dash in front of you is a world away from the simple planes you'd find in, say, a Range Rover Evoque - and it's certainly far removed from the kind of BMW or Audi cockpit that would have flowing, natural shapes. Here instead, the look and feel is more deliberately modern, with sharp angles and bold slashes of wood and metal. It's all evidence of Lexus' growing confidence as a car maker. True, there's a LOT of design going on here and some of it can seem a bit fussy in places. Overall though, we reckon it all works - against the odds in some places. Lexus clearly doesn't hold with the current fashion for de-cluttered dashboards and there's no way an analogue clock should sit amongst all the hi-tech buttons and LED readouts without looking anything but bizarre. Even so, the NX pulls it off. It also incorporates its flat-screen infotainment display without the 'iPad-stuffed-into-the-fascia' feel that similar installations give you in some rivals, though at 6.2-inches in size, the display isn't that big. It's controlled on top models from a touchpad which is much easier to use than the maddening mouse-like thing the brand used to offer, if not quite as intuitive as rival BMW iDrive, Audi MMI or Mercedes COMAND systems. Lexus is slowly getting there though. While it's easy to get drawn into some of the lovely details like the removable mirror on the centre console and the wireless smartphone charger, what's more important is that the fundamentals are absolutely rock solid. The driving position, embellished by soft leather kneepads either side of the prominent centre console, is high and commanding and you control things via a lovely grippy thick leather-stitched three-spoke multifunction steering wheel. Through this, you view a clearly defined set of virtual dials separated by a centrally positioned 4.2-inch TFT colour multi-information display. Look about and there's great all-round visibility aided by large mirrors which help to compensate for the fact that you can't quite see the corners of the car when manoeuvring. Still, most models get an effective set of parking sensors that help you deal with that and on the top 'Premier' version, there's also a 360-degree Panoramic View Monitor that uses four cameras relaying their images to the central display panel in seven sequences so you can accurately check your surroundings before driving off. The cabin's also more spacious than you expect it might be, with Lexus claiming a class-leading distance between front and rear seats. And there are plenty of practical storage areas, including space in the centre console and a decently-sized glovebox, a compartment for your sunglasses and door pocket holders for half-litre bottles. Plus cupholders too of course, fashioned with that typical Lexus attention to detail courtesy of a high-friction lining that lets you open a twist-cap bottle one-handed. Take a seat in the rear and the feeling of spaciousness continues. We mentioned earlier the way that rear headroom has been preserved, though it can be compromised a little if you opt for a model fitted with a panoramic glass roof. There are no legroom issues though. We've been in SUVs from the class above that have less rear kneeroom than this and better still, the floor is almost completely flat, meaning that this car can far more credibly carry three adults in the back than any of its more compromised rivals can manage. These rear seats also recline, which makes longer journeys in the back far more relaxing. Out back, plusher models get an arthritically-slow powered tailgate that rises to reveal a 475-litre luggage capacity that's a little less than some rivals offer, though is substantially bigger than you'd get in a rival Range Rover Evoque. In other markets, 555-litres is provided but here, Lexus chose, alone in its segment, to offer a proper spare wheel as standard rather than one of those irritating tyre-inflation devices: good on 'em. Width-wise, there's enough room for four golf bags to be stowed sideways, rather than across the diagonal. Push forward the powered split-folding rear bench and up to 1,520-litres can be revealed.
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Category: Crossover or SUV 4x4s
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