A luxury vehicle should involve a smooth and quiet ride that leaves you feeling pampered at the end of every drive. You also want that ride to look creatively beautiful that when you run your hands along all seams, folds, angles and creases you feel how all the finely crafted materials come together nicely. A car that defines what luxury is all about.
The Lexus NX has all these hallmarks and more. First introduced in 2014 as a new model within the Japanese luxury brand’s family, the NX is Lexus’ first entry into the compact crossover segment. It unites the engineering input of racers with the impeccable touch of Lexus luxury in a design that is something to behold.
The NX is available in three variants: The NX 300h (P3.678 million); NX 300 F Sport (P3.708 million); and the NX 300 (P3.208 million).
The NX 300h combines the output of a 2.5-liter four-cylinder gasoline engine and what Lexus called a small high torque electric motor. Power can shift between the gasoline engine and from a pair of electric motors or they can operate in tandem. As a result, this hybrid compact crossover in AWD offers a superb combined fuel economy of around 13km/liter.
Drive modes in the NX 300h include EV mode, ECO, Normal and Sport modes. Each mode adjusts throttle, suspension and performance to the driver’s preference. EV mode, which is specific to this hybrid variant, allows the NX 300h to run solely on an electric motor for almost 2km at speeds less than 40km/h.
For those who want a more exhilarating drive, the NX has the NX 300 F Sport and NX 300 variants. Under the hood of both is a powerful and fuel-efficient twin-scroll turbocharged direct-injection 2.0- liter inline-4. Power is rated at 235hp, with an impressive 350Nm of torque. Also fitted to this engine is an air-to-liquid intercooler which maintains a low intake temperature and helps combat power-robbing heat.
While all three variants feature suspensions that have been tuned to enhance ride and handling—springs, stabilizer bars and bushings have been tweaked for improved turn-in response and steady-state cornering while new shock absorbers improve the quality of the NX’s already buttery-smooth ride—the biggest change is that Adaptive Variable Suspension (AVS) that is now available on the NX F Sport.
AVS, which is based on the advanced system found in the LC 500 luxury coupé, offers enhanced control and overall handling stability—perfect for driving enthusiasts who enjoy hitting the open road and enjoying their vehicle’s capabilities.
Both the NX 300 F Sport and NX 300 variants offer Drive Mode Select that allows the driver to choose up to five different modes, namely Normal, Eco, Sport, Sport +, and Custom Mode that lets one decides on the powertrain, Adaptive Variable Suspension, power steering, and air conditioning settings.
Safety and convenience
On the safety front, collision impact is greatly reduced with eight sensor-controlled SRS airbags lining the cabin, providing enhanced protection for all occupants. Wide-angle lights provide you with additional illumination when taking corners and in low-visibility areas as well.
Another convenient feature for the passengers is the NX 300’s foot-operated rear hatch that can be used when the user’s hands or arms are full, such as when carrying goods. Placing or kicking up one of your feet toward a sensor beneath the rear-bumper cover opens or closes the electrically-actuated rear hatch.
Inside the NX 300 F-Sport and NX 300h variants feature a larger, 10.3-inch display on the center dashboard. Nearly all the controls and switches inside the NX, including the drive mode selector, shift knob and door handles, now have a metallic satin finish, enhancing the premium look and feel of the cabin.
On the center console, the remote touch interface pad has been enlarged and redesigned for easier operation, and the palm rest has been reshaped for maximum wrist comfort. The wireless charger tray has also grown in size to accommodate larger smartphones. In addition, the USB ports have been more optimally positioned in the center console, and their amperage has been increased for faster charging.
You probably have heard or seen the term “Takumi craftsmanship” in many Lexus ads and marketing materials. Takumi is the highest level of artisan one can reach. In the West, it is generally considered that it takes 10,000 hours of study to reach the level of “expert” in a subject. But in Japan, you’re not considered a master until you’ve spent 60,000 hours refining your skills in your craft, which is equivalent to working eight hours a day, 250 days a year, for 30 year!
Lexus Takumi master craftsmen—or simply “Takumi”—are the ones responsible for the perfect stitching and fine needlework of the NX 300’s leather surfaces. Some of these intricate patterns can only be created with the help of hand-operated machinery equipped with special needles that are resistant to overheating and thread breakage.
Indeed, Lexus’ acute attention to detail, elevates the entire construction of the NX 300. This kind of artisanal execution can only draw from a deep desire to please the customer.
Charles E. Buban is an old timer in the Philippine automotive journalism scene. He first started covering the automotive beat in 2003, writing news and reviews of new models and car tech, among other car-related stuff. When not writing about cars, he could often be seen riding his mountain bike or doing long walks in the hope of catching a couple of legendary Pokemons.