Thursday April 20, 2017
By Richard Bosselman
ENHANCEMENTS meted the smallest Lexus crossover are being welcomed by the brand’s New Zealand boss.
The 2018 model offers sharper handling, improved ride, a sportier and more sophisticated look and more safety equipment.
Unveiled at the Shanghai motor show which opened this week, the improved edition will be in New Zealand by year-end. Lexus New Zealand doesn’t plan to discuss local market specifics until then.
However, Lexus NZ senior general manager Paul Carroll has wasted no time spruiking the changes.
“The brave, imaginative styling of the latest model has been taken to the next level,” he said.
“The NX will appeal to people who want to be different. It’s daring styling does not follow the conventional, conservative looks of some of its rivals.”
The spindle grille and the front bumper have been redesigned to blend more fluidly into the bonnet and front mudguards. Sequential indicators and new headlights are derived from the LC luxury coupe.
At the rear the bumper has been broadened to enhance the low centre of gravity look and wide stance. Lexus says the now elongated tail lights better emphasise the “L” shape and larger chrome tipped exhaust pipes are integrated with the bumper and rear diffuser.
New 18-inch alloy wheels complete what the brands says is a sportier and more sophisticated looking package.
In the cabin, the central dashboard display has grown from seven to 10.3 inches and the controls for the air conditioning system have been simplified, with separate temperature controls for the rear seat.
Nearly all controls and switches have a metallic satin finish enhancing the premium look and feel of the cabin. The wireless charger tray will now accommodate larger smart phones.
The heads-up display is now integrated into the top of the dashboard for a smoother look, while a movement sensor will open the rear hatch when people have their hands full.
New straight stitching is used on the leather upholstery, rather than the conventional angled stitches.
The two litre turbo charged and 2.5 litre hybrid power trains continue, but with enhanced exhaust sound.
The suspension has also been revised to improve turn in steering response and refine the ride.
Lexus’ Safety System Plus, previously only availed the Limited edition will now be available on all models. It combines the pre-collision system, dynamic radar cruise control, lane departure alert, automatic high beam and intelligence clearance sonar.
Mr Carroll expects the 2018 NX to continue the strong surge of sales by SUVs.
Three quarters of Lexus’ sales last year were SUVs, with the NX and RX taking the lion’s share, with nearly three quarters of them being the world leading hybrid models. The NX300h achieved 100 registrations last year, one less than the 200T.
The NX will continue to be available in standard, Limited and F Sport models with a choice of 2WD and AWD across the seven-model range, the brand says.