While crossovers are huge right now, compact crossovers are even bigger. Lexus has thrown it's hat into the ring with the NX, a compact cross that fits snugly between the BMW X1 and X3 models.
Lexus was the first luxury brand to offer a crossover, introducing the RX 300 sixteen years ago. It was an instant success, quickly becoming the brand's volume leader. Heavily imitated, the company is hoping to repeat history with the luxury compact crossover NX 200t and NX 300h models.
The NX is built on the Toyota RAV4 platform, but all similarities end there, 90 percent of parts are different. Those that remain, have been retooled to give the NX a more luxurious feel than found in the RAV4. The NX also utilizes more high-strength steel, adhesives and screw welding to improve structural integrity.
Toyota's new turbo 2.0-litre four cylinder, which is being built in-house, will make it's debut in the 2015 Lexus NX. It boasts strong and smooth acceleration, delivering 235 hp and 258 lb-ft of torque, running the 0 to 60 mph race in seven seconds. A hybrid version will also be available, using the same 2.5-liter inline-four engine found in the ES 300h. Both models will be available in FWD and AWD versions. The AWD utilizes active torque control with electromagnetic coupling, allowing the system to shift power from 100 percent front to a 50-50 split with the rear.
Standard features include an 8-speaker CD system with satellite radio, 17-inch wheels, door handle footlights, LED headlamps and turn signals, keyless locks and Siri Eyes Free mode. The 2015 Lexus NX compact crossover comes with a cargo cover that can be folded and stored with the spare tire under the rear storage panel. A sporty model called the F Sport is available, but it's differences are mainly centred around interior trim, body paneling and a stiffer suspension, with no powertrain changes.
Compared to the 2014 BMW X3, it's primary rival, the NX is similar in length, height and width, though it's wheelbase is about six inches shorter, very similar in size to the Audi Q5.. It falls slightly short in horsepower, torque and fuel economy, but should come in about $3,000 cheaper.
The NX has a design that will appeal to younger buyers, this compact crossover's target audience as the company seeks to offer something to entry-level customers. Expect the 2015 Lexus NX compact crossover to hit North American showrooms in November.
By Linda Aylesworth - autoExpert.ca