’15 Lexus NX on sale in U.S. later this year.
WHISTLER, BC, Canada – Lexus never has been known for especially exciting vehicles. Its biggest successes in the U.S. have been the nice-but-dull ES sedan, aka Lexus’ Camry, and the RX CUV, aka the wealthy-soccer-mom-mobile.
But in the past few years, prodded by race-enthusiastPresident Akio Toyoda and the continuing performance press of the Germans, Lexus has brought out some relatively heart-pounding product.
The IS F sport sedan released in 2008 is a beloved model in industry circles, the new non-F IS has received above-average reviews, and industry-watchers are salivating over the upcoming RC and RC F coupes.
Even the most sedate Lexus models now look exciting, thanks to the brand’s signature in-your-face spindle grille.
Considering these recent victories, it is with the highest hopes we get behind the wheel of the new entry-luxury NX CUV here recently.
It has the fit-and-finish supremacy Lexus is known for – and the exterior and interior styling flair it isn’t.
But driving the new NX 200t, NX 200t F Sport and NX 300h hybrid leaves us flat, largely because the new CUV is too quiet and pokey off the line.
Achieving better levels of interior quietness and calmness is admirable, and something many automakers should prioritize.
But for this product, in this segment, the NX needs more NVH.
The sound of the twin-scroll turbocharger in the 200t model is nonexistent.
How an engine sounds is a big part of a sporty driving experience.
Lexus realizes this, so to make up for the lack of natural engine sounds it pipes artificial, computer-created noise into the NX’s cabin, via an instrument panel-mounted speaker.
But this artificial noise is high pitched, unnatural and annoying.