What is the 2022 Lexus NX?
The redesigned 2022 Lexus NX is a compact luxury SUV with seating for five people. The new NX models are available with or without a turbocharger, and if you’d prefer an electrified powertrain, both hybrid and plug-in hybrid versions are available. Sport-tuned F Sport models add extra driving enjoyment, and, depending on the model, all-wheel drive (AWD) is standard or optional.
Capital One updated this content and added driving impressions and original photos to this review on October 6, 2022.
What’s New for the 2022 Lexus NX?
Instantly familiar yet completely different, the 2022 Lexus NX gets a complete redesign from its roof to where the rubber meets the road. Highlights include a variety of powertrains, next-generation infotainment and safety technologies, and distinctive yet balanced design.
How Much is a Lexus NX?
This year, 2022 Lexus NX prices range from just under $40,000 to just under $60,000, including the destination charge to ship the SUV from the Cambridge, Ontario, Canada, factory that builds it to your local dealership.
2022 Lexus NX Trim Levels and Configurations
Lexus offers the new NX in NX 250, turbocharged NX 350, hybrid NX 350h, and plug-in hybrid NX 450h+ model series. Once you’ve selected a model, up to three trim levels are available:
Lexus NX — Standard equipment highlights include simulated leather upholstery, a 9.8-inch touchscreen infotainment system, Lexus Safety System+ 3.0 driving assistance technology, a 10-speaker premium sound system, and more.
Lexus NX Premium — Upgrade to Premium trim for heated and ventilated front seats, ambient interior lighting, a power sunroof, features to improve visibility, and parking assistance technologies.
Lexus NX Luxury — This version of the new NX has real leather, genuine wood trim, a heated steering wheel, a 14-inch touchscreen infotainment system with navigation, and a head-up display.
The F Sport Handling package is available for the NX 350 and the NX 450h+. It adds a performance-tuned suspension with adaptive damping in addition to 20-inch wheels, sport-bolstered front seats, and sporty design cues. With the NX 350, it builds on Premium trim content. With the NX 450h+, it builds on Luxury trim content.
2022 Lexus NX Review and Test Drive
For decades, Lexus claimed it was relentlessly pursuing perfection. The marketing message successfully leveraged the automaker’s reputation for reliability and refinement while expressing a lofty goal without making any promises. It was brilliant, encouraging premium car buyers to switch to Lexus in droves, fueling the brand’s ascension to A-list luxury marque status.
Today, Lexus says you will “Experience Amazing” in its lineup of cars and SUVs. Google says that synonyms of “amazing” include numerous words with positive vibes. But it also lists “bewildering,” “perplexing,” and “confounding” among them. They describe a part of my experience driving the all-new 2022 Lexus NX.
The 2022 NX is a compact crossover SUV that slots between the Lexus UX and Lexus RX in the company’s model lineup. It is redesigned for 2022, moving to the same platform and using several of the same drivetrains as the Toyota RAV4. The new Lexus NX also refines the automaker’s existing design theme while introducing new technologies that will spread to other models.
I’ve driven both the NX 350 and the NX 300h in the past, but for this review, I sampled the NX 450h+ plug-in hybrid in Southern California. It came with nearly every option except for the F Sport Handling package and wore a Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) of $61,785, including the $1,075 destination charge. Lexus provided the vehicle for this NX review.
2022 Lexus NX Review: The Design
When Lexus recently refreshed the IS sports sedan, it took the car’s existing design themes and layered on an extra level of refinement and sophistication. That’s the sense you get when looking at the redesigned NX. It has familiar themes, but the lines are taut and clean. You know it’s a Lexus at a glance, especially when viewing the front of the SUV. Fortunately, the spindle-style grille that serves as the centerpiece of the styling looks entirely at home on the NX.
The new interior eliminates the previous layered waterfall look for a more plain design dominated by the available 14-inch touchscreen infotainment display. Previously, switchgear littered the NX’s interior, but now the company swings far in the opposite direction, embedding everything into the displays in the name of simplicity.
When this simplification causes unnecessary complexity, Houston, we have a problem. That’s the case for the primary function buttons on the steering wheel, which are unmarked because Lexus designed them to perform dual sets of actions. To understand which functions were active at a given time, I had to touch the buttons, then look at the head-up display to see which set of actions was engaged to understand which way to push to get the desired outcome.
Does that sound needlessly complicated? It is. And what makes it more challenging is that you cannot see the head-up display when you’re wearing polarized sunglasses. Indeed, I was “amazed” that this user-interface failure made it through to the production of the SUV.
Interior materials are what you expect to find in a compact luxury crossover SUV. Soft-touch, high-quality surfaces dominate the upper half of the cabin, while the lower half is covered mainly in refined plastic. There is plenty of gloss-black trim in the new NX, showing dust and fingerprints about five seconds after you clean it.
Lexus uses its NuLuxe artificial leather in most versions of the new NX, but the NX 450h+ test vehicle had the real deal plus 10-way power adjustment, heating, and ventilation for the front seats. Seat comfort is good, and storage space is decent. However, neither is what you might call amazing. Lexus says the new NX is longer, wider, and taller than before, but it feels smaller when you’re sitting inside.
The back seat is roomy enough for average-size adults, and my teenagers grumbled but didn’t complain. My older child, however, was mighty concerned about whether or not, during a collision, her head might smack into the accessory front seatback tablet computer holder Lexus installed in the test vehicle.
According to Lexus, cargo space behind the back seat increases 14%, now measuring 22.7 cu. ft. in all models, including the hybrid and the plug-in hybrid. Maximum volume with the rear seat folded down amounts to 46.9 cu. ft. Both figures remain on the smaller side of the compact luxury SUV spectrum.
2022 Lexus NX Review: The Technology
Before diving into this evaluation of the new Lexus Interface touchscreen infotainment system, it is essential to note that the test vehicle’s complimentary three-year subscription to Drive Connect was inactive. That meant its connected navigation system, Destination Assist, and Intelligent Assistant features were inaccessible, the latter a fundamental improvement with the new technology. Furthermore, the Wi-Fi Connect was not connected, so I couldn’t use the new integrated audio streaming functionality.
Fortunately, I’ve driven a different Lexus NX that had these features turned on, and they worked well. The natural voice recognition tech is particularly impressive, though it is worth noting that many vehicles now offer this level of sophistication concerning connected digital assistants.
Because I couldn’t use any new tech, I effortlessly connected my iPhone via the wireless Apple CarPlay system. Each time I got into the Lexus, Apple CarPlay provided access to Siri, navigation, music, calling, and more.
However, at one point while driving in an urban environment with good cell service, I got a “Wireless connection failed” message on the infotainment screen with buttons to “Cancel” or “Retry” the connection. After several attempts to retry the connection, I pressed “Cancel.” But that didn’t cancel anything because the message kept popping up. So finally, after several attempts to get out of that loop, I gave up and left the message on the infotainment display, where it took up a significant amount of viewing area.
When you combine these struggles with the unmarked steering wheel buttons and the invisible head-up display when you’re wearing polarized sunglasses, you can feel irritated with the NX’s tech. And to add to this, the remote keyless entry fob battery for this 2022 Lexus NX failed. So I had to consult YouTube (since the manual was locked in the SUV), remove the key from inside the remote, pop a piece of plastic off the exterior door handle, and then hold the remote close to the engine start button to fire up the SUV.
The NX has a new front cross-traffic alert that shows its warnings on the head-up display, but, as you might guess, I could not see them while wearing my sunglasses. The feature is one of several new safety systems on the 2022 NX, which has an expanded Lexus Safety System+ 3.0 (LSS+ 3.0) collection of driving aids. Other new tech includes evasive steering assist, intersection assist, and curve speed management for the adaptive cruise control.
During testing, I turned off the adaptive cruise control and then wished to resume my speed. Doing so requires using one of the unmarked steering wheel buttons while you’re looking at the head-up display, which I couldn’t discern due to my prescription polarized sunglasses. I require them to see clearly while I’m driving.
As for LSS+ 3.0’s performance, the lane-centering assist system had some trouble on Pacific Coast Highway north of Malibu. Like some examples of this type of technology in other vehicles, it sometimes tried to hug a painted line in a curve rather than center the vehicle. Also, on one of these curves with an intersection in the middle and both left and right turn lanes, the system became utterly confused and didn’t know which way to go.
On a twistier mountain road in the Santa Monica Mountains, I came upon a shiny motorcycle parked on the shoulder of a corner. As I approached the turn, the Lexus thought I would drive straight into the bike, issued forward collision warnings, and then activated the automatic emergency braking system.
In short, I was less than impressed with the NX’s technology.
2022 Lexus NX Review: The Drive
The Lexus NX 450h+ plug-in hybrid model is the most expensive and least popular version of the new NX, but it is the most intriguing. It has a gasoline-fueled 2.5L four-cylinder engine, an 18.1 kWh lithium-ion battery pack, front and rear electric motors that create an AWD system, and an electronic continuously variable transmission (CVT). Lexus says the NX 450h+ is available in limited quantities, similar to the Toyota RAV4 Prime that uses these same components.
Total system output measures 304 hp, and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) says this PHEV should travel 37 miles on electricity before the gasoline engine fires up. After that, the NX 450h+ should get 36 mpg in combined driving. Upon departure on the evaluation loop with a full battery, the NX showed 38 miles of electric range. At the end of the 65.8-mile drive, the NX had averaged 46.1 mpg.
How does this testing result apply to your life? Well, if you recharge the NX 450h+ every night, have a 60-mile round-trip commute, and take everyone to lunch around noon, then you’ll have a powerful compact luxury SUV that gets more than 46 mpg.
Of course, there is more nuance to it than that. I started the evaluation loop in Electric Vehicle (EV) mode and the Normal driving setting. For mountain driving, the NX was in Hybrid Vehicle (HV) mode and the Sport driving setting. Of course, you may choose to use Auto EV/Eco mode, HV/Sport mode, or some other combination that affects electric range and fuel economy differently. But the configurability of the powertrain is one of the beautiful things about the NX 450h+.
As for the driving experience, I’d say that if you’re planning to drive this SUV enthusiastically, you’ll want the F Sport Handling package for its sport-tuned adaptive damping suspension. Without this upgrade, the NX feels soft and allows more body motion than you might prefer. It has a flat cornering attitude due to the weight of the battery and electric motors mounted low in the platform. Still, the standard suspension and unimpressive P235/50R20 Bridgestone Alenza tires are more suited for urban, suburban, and highway driving.
In these everyday environments, the NX 450h+ feels nimble, responsive, and enjoyable to drive. The regenerative brakes can feel a little sticky and difficult to modulate at times, but this is a common trait of these systems, which capture energy when you’re stopping and feed it back to the battery.
If there is anything to complain about, it has to do with the powertrain droning under hard acceleration. The 304 hp produces rapid acceleration, but the 2.5L gas engine and the electronic CVT can make quite a bit of racket when you’re accelerating to enter a freeway or get up to speed after turning onto a busy road.
Is the 2022 Lexus NX a Good SUV?
There is a lot to like about the redesigned 2022 Lexus NX. It comes standard with style, quality, and utility and earns a Top Safety Pick+ safety rating from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS). Plus, it comes with available upgrades over the entry-level drivetrain, including a turbocharged engine, a hybrid powertrain, and a plug-in hybrid drivetrain.
However, based on this driving experience, I strongly recommend activating the Lexus Interface Drive Connect subscription and keeping it active after the complimentary trial period expires. Furthermore, if you typically wear polarized sunglasses, you’re going to want to switch if you must rely on the head-up display to convey anything of critical importance.
Lexus NX Competitors for 2022
With the redesigned 2022 NX, Lexus will compete with a long list of compact luxury SUV rivals ranging from the Acura RDX to the Volvo XC60. Models offering electrification options like the Lexus include the Volvo, plus the Audi Q5, BMW X3, and Lincoln Corsair.
Lexus NX Features
Lexus positions the redesigned 2022 NX for success by offering an attractive base price, a range of propulsion options including turbocharged gas, hybrid, and plug-in hybrid powertrains, and high-tech infotainment, driving assistance, and collision avoidance technologies.
2022 Lexus NX Safety Features
- Lexus Safety System+ 3.0 — Standard package of driving assistance and collision avoidance technologies
- Emergency steering assistance — Standard feature helps to stabilize the NX when the driver takes sudden evasive steering action
- Turn assistance — Standard feature can brake the NX to prevent unsafe turns
- Curve Speed Management — Standard feature automatically slows the NX for upcoming curves when using adaptive cruise control
- Rear Cross-Traffic Braking — Available feature automatically stops the NX when traffic is approaching from either side while reversing
2022 Lexus NX Technology Features
- Lexus Interface — Standard 9-inch and available 14-inch touchscreen infotainment system with natural voice recognition, wireless smartphone mirroring, connected services, and more
- Digital Mirror — Available camera-based rearview mirror for improved visibility
- Digital Key — Available feature allowing owners to use a smartphone to unlock, start, and drive the SUV
- Head-up display — Available feature with a 10-inch viewing area
- Lane Change Assist — Available feature that assists the driver with changing lanes
2022 Lexus NX Interior Features
Ambient interior lighting — Available feature*
Leather upholstery — Available feature*
Heated and ventilated front seats — Available features*
Heated steering wheel — Available feature*
Premium sound system — Available 17-speaker Mark Levinson audio system*
2022 Lexus NX Specs
2.5L four-cylinder engine (NX 250):
- 203 hp and 184 lb.-ft. of torque
- Eight-speed automatic transmission
- Front-wheel drive, AWD
- EPA fuel economy rating of 28 mpg in combined driving
- 2,000-lb. maximum towing capacity
2.4L turbocharged four-cylinder engine (NX 350):
- 275 hp and 317 lb.-ft. of torque
- 8-speed automatic transmission
- EPA fuel economy rating of 25 mpg in combined driving
- 2,000-lb. maximum towing capacity
2.5L four-cylinder hybrid (NX 350h):
- 240 hp (total system output)
- Dual electric motors
- Electronic CVT
- EPA fuel economy rating of 39 mpg in combined driving
- 2,000-lb. maximum towing capacity
2.5L four-cylinder plug-in hybrid (NX 450h+):
- 304 hp (total system output)
- Dual electric motors
- Electronic CVT
- EPA fuel economy rating of 36 mpg in combined driving
- 37 miles of EPA estimated electric driving range
- 2,000-lb. maximum towing capacity
*Availability is subject to specific trim level selections