First Drive: 2022 Lexus NX Gains New Engines, Efficiency, Space, and Tech

Familiar styling hides the numerous upgrades and new features

2022 Lexus NX450 driving Photo: John Powers/Consumer Reports

The redesigned 2022 Lexus NX looks much like the previous model, but beneath that familiar design is a raft of improvements. The cabin is completely transformed, with a more modern instrument panel, a larger infotainment screen, and increased passenger space. Plus, there are several upgrades offered for the first time, such as a head-up display, a panoramic sunroof, and ambient lighting.

There are four powertrains available—a surprising number, as most vehicles offer just two or three choices. The base engine is less powerful than before, and a stronger turbocharged four-cylinder engine is also available, as are hybrid and plug-in hybrid configurations. This allows the NX to span a wider range of prices and help compensate for the decline in sedan sales. 

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Further, it boasts the Lexus Safety System+ 3.0, which brings a generous roster of active safety and driver assistance features. These go well beyond the usual equipment, such as forward collision warning, automatic emergency braking, and blind spot warning, to add innovative capabilities beyond those now familiar and appreciated safety and driver assistance systems. 

The NX is considered by the automaker to be the first in a series of 20 all-new or updated Lexus vehicles that will be introduced by 2025. Currently on sale, the NX pricing starts at $37,950 for the front-drive NX 250 and climbs to $56,900 for the all-wheel-drive NX 450h+ F Sport plug-in hybrid, plus a $1,075 destination fee.  

We rented two examples from LexusNX 350 F Sport AWD (turbocharged) and NX 450h+ AWD (plug-in hybrid)—to gain early impressions, ahead of our ability to purchase one. 

If you’re a Consumer Reports member, our initial expert assessment of the 2022 Lexus NX is available to you below. We’ll soon purchase an NX to put through more than 50 tests at the CR Auto Test Center, including those that evaluate acceleration, braking, fuel economy, handling, car-seat fit, and controls. CR members will get access to the full road-test results as soon as they’re available. 

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What we rented: 2022 Lexus NX 350 AWD and NX 450h+ AWD
Powertrains:
275-hp, 2.4-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine; eight-speed automatic transmission; all-wheel drive
304-hp, 2.5-liter plug-in hybrid four-cylinder engine; eCVT transmission; all-wheel drive
MSRP: $46,650 NX 350 F Sport, $55,650 NX 450h+
Destination fee: $1,075
Total cost: $47,725 NX 350 F Sport, $56,725 NX 450h+

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