Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Lexus NX (Z10/Z15)

The Lexus NX is Toyota Motor Corporation's attempt to take on the likes of its European compact crossover rivals such as the Audi Q5, Mercedes-Benz GLK, and the BMW X3. While this is smaller than its big brother, the RX, the NX is known to be one of the most important models for the Japanese carmaker and I'd expect good hope for this one even though the crossover population is as skyrocketing as the increasing demand for these unknown car categories.

2015 Lexus NX

There's more to it than that because what lies beyond the imminent positive outlook for the new NX is the engine power plants under the hood and for the first time ever, the NX comes with this; their newly-developed 8AR-FTS engine. What is it? This is Toyota Motor Corporation's first ever turbocharged engine since the Caldina discontinued in 2007. I was relieved to have them saying that but this is a 2.0L 4-cylinder engine that promises V6 power with 4-cylinder fuel economy and looks like downsizing can go a very long way. If you want, Lexus will offer you the top-of-the-line NX300h model equipped with the same 2.5L 2AR-FXE hybrid powerplant as seen from the Toyota Camry and the Toyota Harrier. I wouldn't mind having that because even though I had one, I would say that I wish for this car to be more exciting.

The new 8AR-FTS engine has a power output of a class-leading 238PS, 350Nm of torque output, and it's mated with a 6-speed ECT automatic gearbox. Depending on the model, 12.8kmpl is usually the fuel economy for this turbocharged NX200t although your actual fuel consumption can vary. As for the 2AR-FXE engine bolted on the NX300h model, this engine is connected to an electric motor and an old-school nickel metal battery. Running on engine alone, it develops 152PS of power output and 206Nm of torque output while running on its 2JM electric motor alone, that's 105kW of power and 270Nm of torque. Opt in for a 4WD model and you can get a 50kW electric motor bolted to the back. The CVT gearbox is standard for the hybrid model and as always, 21kmpl of fuel economy is plenty for the NX300h although fuel consumptions can vary.

2015 Lexus NX

In terms of ride quality, the NX is not quite bad either although there are some few drawbacks to it because the suspension setup isn't as sophisticated as its European rivals because while most rivals focused solely on the more sophisticated ones, the NX has double wishbones on the back and MacPherson struts on the front. It has rack and pinion power steering so it looks nice to drive but lacks the character I was hoping for. It may not be exciting though but the NX isn't a dull car to drive for an day to day basis even for a company car for fleet use. You can refer to it as an average; it may not be quite a good car but the ride isn't half bad.

2015 Lexus NX

2015 Lexus NX interior
In terms of styling, the NX is not quite a harsh looker on the road. Thanks to its bizarro take on the L-Finesse design language like we seen on the biblically harsh-looking Lexus IS, the NX is a bit like when 10-year-olders took control of the design room but this isn't child's play. Oh no. This is a serious crossover built for some barely serious driving on a daily routine. If I have to talk about the interior, there's a downside that the dashboard's a bit too small and while you're busy driving, you can't look at the buttons until you are at the red light and when you're stopped, you have a few seconds to find out what does these buttons do and as for the Remote Touch, the NX integrates a new generation of this interface. It's no longer a mouse thingy and it's now a touch thingy of some sorts. Well, you get that idea but learning the interior can be a bit too complexed until you all know about this.

What about the upsides? Well, it can seat up to five people, can be folded at the back for added luggage, not quite cramped in terms of legroom (unless someone meddles with the front seats), and the seats are comfy as well.

So, should you buy one? The turbocharged NX200t starts at 4,280,000 Yen while its F-Sport model, complete with some sport-tuned suspension and an even more bizarro look than the normal one, starts at 4,920,000 Yen. The hybrid NX300h model starts at 4,920,000 Yen with its F-Sport model starts at 5,560,000 Yen. It maybe more expensive than the Toyota Harrier it was based on but when compared to the pricing from its German rivals, this could be very one sided but better still, this is made for those who can't afford an X3 or a GLK or a Q5. This is money well spent.

Available colors: Sonic Quartz, Platinum Silver Metallic, Sonic Titanium, Mercury Grey Mica, Black, Starlight Black Glass Flake, Red Mica Crystal Shine, Fire Agate Mica Metallic, Exceed Blue Metallic, and Meteor Blue Mica Metallic.

Photo: Toyota Motor Corporation

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