The NX’s styling inside and out is progressive, an achievement for Lexus.

The exterior’s creases aren’t wholly original, but they lend a futuristic look to a Lexus lineup largely devoid of much angularity.

The NX’s interior is roomy, with a second row designed to fit taller folks comfortably.

Front seats are a tad wide for thinner passengers, but the F Sport seats are narrower and grip nicely.

The 60/40 rear seats fold flat and have a power-fold option, although we never come across it here.

The manual folding seats are maddening. There’s only one set of levers, on rear seat bottoms, and to get seatbacks fully upright is a two-arm endeavor, requiring moving the lever concurrently with pushing back on the seatback.

The step-like design of the center stack is a winner, as is the layered instrument panel.

Also pleasing is a new human-machine interface in the form of a touchpad in models equipped with navigation, replacing the mouse-like remote-touch controller in current Lexuses. It has two ways to select: pushing down on the touchpad or double-tapping it like a laptop touchpad.

The NX 200t F Sport’s red leather seats with black trim, accented by red stitching, are sharp, matched only by the unique sew pattern on cream-colored seats in the NX 300h.

NX pricing will be announced closer to the on-sale date. But if it follows the competition, expect the CUV to start in the upper-$30,000 range, semi-ridiculous considering these vehicles’ small size though just a notch above the average new-vehicle price in the U.S.

Lexus is strong in CUVs thanks to the midsize RX, regularly the best-selling luxury model in the U.S., car or light truck, with 100,000-plus annual sales.

This position no doubt bolsters Lexus’ confidence to target 36,000 NX sales in the vehicle’s first full year on sale in the U.S.

That would make the NX the No.1 seller in the segment given last year’s pace, when the GLK tallied 32,553 sales, according to WardsAuto data.

The NX likely will attract some RX owners wanting to downsize. By lacking the sportiness it claims, the new CUV may appeal to those who find the X3 and Q5’s rides too firm and engines too noisy.

Still, we’d love to see the NX, in a midcycle change perhaps, go toe-to-toe with the German entrants quick acceleration and growly engines.

cschweinsberg@wardsauto.com