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Lexus NX: the first compact crossover of the brand

Lexus news

Lexus presents it's very first model in the fastest-growing segment, the compact crossovers! Just 10 years ago such class didn't even exist, but now the Lexus NX (the name of the model) will compete with tremendous opposition of the Acura RDX, Audi Q5, BMW X3, Cadillac SRX, Infiniti QX50 (aka EX), Mercedes GLK, Porsche Macan, Range Rover Evoque... What weapons will the compact Lexus have?

1) The size is standard for the segment: 182 inches long

Compared to the dimensions of other compact crossover, the Lexus NX is virtually equal to the Audi Q5 and BMW X3 (both are about 180 inches long), and is 4-8 inches longer than the Mercedes GLK and Range Rover Evoque. In fact, the Lexus NX is just 5.5" shorter and 2" narrower than its bigger brother, the mid-size Lexus RX.

By the way. though there have never been compact crossovers by Lexus before, this segment has been dominated, and actually created by the Toyota company 20 years ago, with four generations of the RAV4 model. Some elements of the Toyota bestseller were used in the Lexus NX model as well.

2) Two powertrains: 235-hp, twin-turbo engine or a 194-hp hybrid

The most powerful version, named NX200t, will feature a 2.0-liter twin-turbo gasoline engine producing 235 hp and 258 lb-ft of torque. No dynamic specs have been revealed yet, but probably it will be enough to provide acceleration to 60 mph in about 6.5 seconds.

Curiously this is the first turbo engine by Lexus, and its quite original for this segment, featuring not one but two turbochargers and a number of other technologies (two smaller turbochargers instead of a larger single one can provide faster engine response, eliminating "turbo lag" and increasing torque at low revs).

On the other hand there is the NX300h hybrid that features an electric motor mated with a gasoline engine, producing combined 194 hp and probably great fuel economy (like 35 mpg at all conditions, and even higher at ideal ones). Probably it will be quite fast as well (Lexus ES300h sedan equipped with similar powertrain provides acceleration to 60 mph in about 7.7 seconds).

Both versions will be available with all- and front-wheel drive.

3) Exterior: aggressive styling, which can be made even more aggressive with F-sport body kit

The new Lexus NX definitely won't be mistaken with any other crossover, featuring very aggressive exterior with sharp angles, aggressive lines, massive front grille and wide wheel arches. No one will mistaken your Lexus with one of your neighbor's Toyota.

The turbocharged NX200t also can be equipped with F-sport package featuring:

- factory-built body kit with bolder bumpers, mesh front grille insert, black side mirrors;

- 18-inch machine-finished wheels;

- sport suspension with performance dampers;

- upgraded interior with sport seats and paddle shifters;

Also headlight at all versions are fully LED-based and feature brand-identifying "spears" daytime running lights.

4) Interior: the choice of "conservative" and "sport" style

Interior of the new Lexus NX can be "conservative" (with black, beige or olive leather upholstery), or "aggressive" - with sports seats, red leather and red backlighting. Also the sport version will feature lateral g-force sensor and a boost meter displays.

5) More interior electronics, including wireless smartphone charger

Among traditional premium equipment like power liftgate, ventilated seats, dual-zone climate control etc, Lexus NX will features wireless smartphone charger (of course, if the smartphone supports the technology), allowing to just drop the phone in the console and charge it automatically.

A significant change for Lexus is that there won't be the "mouse" controller on console any more, but instead there is now a touch pad similar to laptops.

Also a Mark Levinson audio system will be available, and hopefully it'll be as good as the one installed at the flagship Lexus models (its audio systems have proved to be one of the best Hi-Fi systems among all premium cars).

6) Rich electronics for drive

The Lexus NX will feature wide set of driving assistants, including radar cruise control, blind-spot monitoring with rear cross-traffic alert, 360-degrees camera view.

Other features include hill assist (the car doesn't go back when stopped uphill), head-up display, automatic headlights high/low beam switching.

7) Expect about $50,000 for the top versions, and base price from about $35,000

The Lexus NX will hit showrooms this fall.

No US prices have been revealed yet, but judging by the prices typical for this segment, expect that the NX will cost from about $37,000 to $55,000.