2015 Lexus NX: Another Luxury Brand Jumps Into Booming Compact Crossover SUV Segment

Apr 30 2014, 10:40pm CDT | by

Lexus is jumping into the booming compact crossover segment with a new model called the NX.

This toned down version of the wild-looking LF-NX concept is significant in several ways. Not only does it give Toyota’s luxury brand an entry in one of the hottest-selling sectors of the auto market, but it introduces some interesting new technology.

The NX – which goes on sale as a 2015 model later this year – will be the first Lexus to offer a turbocharged engine.

Turbocharging allows for a smaller engine without compromising performance. Power output is a key selling point for luxury vehicles, so being able to offer an engine that is both potent and efficient enough to comply with stringent emissions regulations is crucial.

The turbocharged version of the Lexus’ new compact crossover is called the NX 200t, and it will get an all-new 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine.

Lexus has not released the performance data for the new engine, nor has it said how many miles per gallon it will get. But the company talked up the engine’s “fast throttle response,” “exhilarating performance” and “outstanding fuel efficiency” in a press release for the LF-NX Turbo, the concept vehicle on which the NX is based. The concept appeared at the Tokyo Motor Show in November (and you can see a photo of it here).

The base model of the Lexus NX 200 — no “t” in the name — will have a non-turbocharged four-cylinder engine with less power. A third version called the NX 300h will have a hybrid powertrain.

In keeping with its strategy to offer more exciting vehicles, Lexus will offer an F Sport version of the NX 200t. F Sport models feature a tighter suspension and sportier styling, among other tweaks.

The NX will compete with the Audi Q3, BMW X3 and Range Rover Evoque, all of which already have turbocharged four-cylinder engines. Another NX competitor, the Mercedes-Benz GLK-Class, does not, but is soon to be updated.

The new model will be positioned below Lexus’ only other crossover, the midsize RX.

Though the styling of the NX is toned down compared to the LF-NX concept, the aggressive “spindle” grille and sharply creased origami-like styling carries through.

Notable interior features include a new touchpad user interface and a wireless charging tray for cell phones and other compatible devices.

The 2015 Lexus NX, which made its debut at the auto show in Beijing this spring, continues a trend of luxury brands expanding into new segments. Already on the way from Lexus is the RC, which will be its first two-door coupe in 13 years.

Other examples include the Cadillac ELR, the first luxury coupe that’s also a plug-in hybrid, and the Jaguar F-Type, the British automaker’s first true sports car in four decades.

But SUVs, in particular, have been among the most active segments for expansion.
Mercedes has a new GLA-Class that slots just below its GLK-Class.

Lincoln is coming out with the MKC, its first compact crossover, and BMW recently announced plans for the X7, its first full-size SUV./>/>/>

Bentley and Maserati also have their very first SUVs in the works.

See the photos for a closer look at Lexus’ new compact crossover:

In Pictures: 2015 Lexus NX

 
 

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