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By Jonathan Crouch
Added 1st October, 2021
With its second generation NX, Lexus at last fields a properly class-competitive contender in the segment for mid-sized premium brand SUVs. Jonathan Crouch takes a look.
The fourth generation RX was certainly a much improved product - primarily to look at but also in terms of luxury, safety and technology. Less telling, we think, are the handling changes Lexus claimed to have made here: the car itself remains an SUV for the Riviera, rather than the racetrack. For most potential buyers though, that’s as it should be. As one writer observed, ‘the RX replaces dynamism with the calming aura of whale music and scented candles’. There’s something in that.
We still like it though. Forget what the magazines tell you: buyers in search of a large luxury SUV typically prioritise luxury, style and tax-friendly efficiency above almost everything else, these elements being things that this Lexus can here nail more effectively than ever before. According to the brand, it’s all about ‘sharpened sophistication’ and ‘seductive strength’; we’d prefer simply to call this a more sensible way to own what remains a very indulgent kind of car.
So there you have it. The Lexus NX has always been a little too individual to sell in the kind of numbers its maker would like - but then that’s all part of its appeal. It’s not perfect but it’s never boring. And in a market sector that can be just that little bit stale, it’s a breath of fresh air. Especially if you’re looking at this first generation model in its later 2018-2021-era form.
That might not necessarily mean you’ll want one. It’s obviously not intended for the few who regularly want to get their tyres muddy in this segment. Nor will it really suit family-minded driving enthusiasts. Then there are the distinctive looks. If your favoured model choice in this segment is something squarer and more sensible like an Audi Q5 or a BMW X3, you might find an NX a bit. in-your-face. If, on the other hand, you like bold design and don’t mind standing out a bit on the school run, it’ll probably suit you perfectly.
Such potential buyers will revel in the sophisticated drivetrain that shines in the city. They’ll love the generous equipment levels. And most of all, they’ll like the way that this car makes them feel special and different, just like a Lexus should. If you fit that buying demographic, then we think you’re going to absolutely adore this car.
The Lexus RX is more versatile in its seven-seat body style. Jonathan Crouch reports on the revised version.
With the UX 300e, Lexus finally enters the full-EV segment. Jonathan Crouch takes a look.
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