Lexus’ new compact CUV, the NX, will be offered with both turbocharged and hybrid powertrains in the U.S.
The NX makes its global debut April 20 at the Beijing auto show and is expected to go on sale in the U.S. this fall.
The automaker says the turbo engine in the NX 200t is a 2.0L gasoline unit but offers no details on the hybrid model. However, the CUV’s moniker, NX 300h, suggests the same Atkinson-cycle 2.5L 4-cyl. gas engine and two 650V AC permanent-magnet motors from the ES 300h sedan.
A naturally aspirated engine will be offered, as will an F Sport grade, but it is unclear which markets will receive these NX variants.
Based on the LF-NX concept, Lexus says the new CUV has a low profile and unique roofline, with a peak set toward the back.
Wheel-well arches are pronounced and accentuate the 17-in. or 18-in. tires available on the CUV.
For the NX’s door handles, Lexus for the first time employs a hidden-key barrel and integrated lighting.
Like all new Lexus models, the NX wears the brand’s signature spindle grille.
Hard-metallic, as well as soft, surfaces can be found inside the NX, the automaker says.
The center instrument panel is framed in silver, and there are knee pads at the center stack’s base, offering support for both driver and passenger.
A low hip-point and long cargo area are interior space features.
In-vehicle technology includes a brand-first wireless-charging tray for mobile devices; Lexus’ Remote Touch Interface for center-stack functions; a head-up display; all-speed Dynamic Radar Cruise Control; blindspot monitoring with rear cross-traffic alert; and a G sensor and boost meter.
Lexus initially resisted entering the compact CUV segment, fearing such a model would cannibalize the midsize RX CUV, its No.1-seller in the U.S. Lexus sold 80,728 gas-engine-only RX 350s last year in the U.S., as well as 23,192 RX 450h hybrid variants, WardsAuto data shows.
The brand also has shunned turbocharged engines but, as a Lexus official told WardsAuto in 2012, they are rising in popularity within the demographic the brand is trying to attract.
“There’s an older generation that remembers turbos as something being broken-down, very expensive (and that) had this turbo lag,” Mark Templin, executive vice president-Lexus International said then. “With young people, they sound cool.”