Danielle Villeneuve

Forward Progress: 2022 Lexus NX350 F Sport

I’ve been looking forward to getting behind the wheel of the all-new 2022 Lexus NX since it was announced. I’m quite familiar with the previous generation after my 2015 reviews of the NX200t and NX200t F Sport. My mom even bought one. Lexus boasts a new design and technology that embraces innovation to deliver next level luxury. We were both most eager to see what Lexus has done with the second generation NX.

What works well and what doesn’t? I was thrilled to see the infotainment update. The mouse pad interface was always a clunky annoyance. Although the NX comes standard with the 9.8-inch touchscreen, our tester had the optional 14-inch touchscreen. The size was impressive and the touch feature is a big win compared to the previous generation. However, it still felt bogged down by menus. With time, I’m sure you’d get used to it, but as someone who moves from one vehicle to the next, it was hard to figure out the basics like how to find, add and remove radio presets. Lexus packed a lot of goodies into the infotainment system, but it’s nice to see some basic function dials for volume and climate controls remain. Outside of wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto being standard, it has an all-new Voice Assistant and new User Profiles so that each driver can have personalized settings and experience. The digital 7-inch driver display gives off the modern vibe the younger generation is looking for. Its layout was easy to follow and various displays were informative. Plus, you can equip the NX with a 10-inch Head Up Display. The downfall is the way you must use the haptic buttons on the steering wheel. Unless you look in the HUD, you have no way of identifying what the buttons on the steering wheel do. I’m not sure how well that will appeal to my mom. It’s cool in concept, but some may find that difficult to use, especially on the fly.

A huge pet peeve with the previous generation has been the absurd amount of road noise. While I’ve never noticed it in other Lexus models, it was very obvious in my family’s NX300. Lexus claims to have fixed that issue in the new model with additional updates to reduce road noise and exterior distractions. These changes have made an impact, and Lexus has gone further to enhance the NX’s cabin experience. Thanks to optional Thematic Ambient Illumination, the driver can choose from 14 themes and 64 colors, all with various nature inspired themes. While a nice idea, it feels like it has been developed as a way to distract the driver and passengers.

With improvements to the body and lowering the center of gravity, Lexus has been able to put a higher output engine in the NX. Our NX350 tester now has a 2.4-liter turbo that produces 275 hp and 317 lb-ft of torque. The new eight-speed transmission had a great impact on fuel economy and assisted in making it feel more powerful behind the wheel. It had a noticeable power difference compared to its previous generation.If you opt for the NX250, it has a naturally aspirated 2.5-liter 4 cylinder producing 203 hp and 184 lb-ft of torque). There’s even an NX350h, which is a traditional hybrid, or an all-new NX 450h+ Plug-In Hybrid. I’d be interested in seeing how Lexus’ first plug-in hybrid performs with the estimated 36-mile of all-electric range. I would be amiss if I didn’t touch on the F SPORT and how it differs. From an aesthetics point of view, it comes with dark graphite aluminum accents, sport seats, steering wheel, aluminum pedals and scuff plates. On the exterior, you’ll notice an F SPORT grille, front and rear bumpers, 20-inch gloss black aluminum wheels, and black roof rails. The accents really pop with the Matador Red Mica exterior paint.

While the new Lexus NX may not be a slam dunk based on my experience, it has come a long way with this new generation. We can’t wait to test out the NX450h plug-in. PHEVs are becoming more of a value as fuel prices continue to climb. The new Lexus NX boasts a high level of technology, which is what consumers are looking for these days. As someone that travels a lot, you can count on your journey being an easier one with the NX’s many tools at your fingertips, refined materials and supple ride quality.

-Danielle Villeneuve

2022 Lexus NX350 F Sport$46,650
Cold Area Package$250
Triple Beam Headlamps$850
F Sport Handling Luxury$2,200
Mark Levinson 17-Speaker Premium Audio$1,200
Panoramic Moonroof$1,600
Panoramic View Monitor$1,070
Towing Package$150
Smart Phone Convenience Package$450
Destination Charges$1,075
As-Tested MSRP$55,325

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