Lexus Updates NX Crossover For 2018
Auto Shanghai 2017 Hosts Facelifted Compact Crossover
Revealed today at Auto Shanghai 2017, the Lexus NX is getting an update for the 2018 model year. Boasting prediction-beating sales throughout North America, Europe, and China, Lexus announced a series of stylistic and mechanical changes to keep the NX current for its third year of production.
First up is a name change: The base NX200t abandons its logical displacement/aspiration moniker for a nonsensical “NX300,” while the hybrid NX300h keeps its slightly more descriptive name. Powered by either a 2.0L turbocharged I-4 (NX300) or a gas-electric hybrid 2.5L I-4 (NX300h), Lexus admits straight-line performance will be almost identical to the 2017 model’s. However, the NX’s Adaptive Variable Suspension is optimized using lessons learned on the LC coupe, giving it up to 650 instantaneous adjustments (up from 30 on the outgoing NX). Combined with retuned springs, stabilizer bars, and bushings, Lexus claims the NX has crisper handling and improved ride comfort.
Cosmetically, the changes are barely noticeable. Up front, the slightly sleeker radiator grille is framed in thinner, more delicate chrome trim. The headlights are also updated with optional LED projectors, arranged in a triangle rather than in line as on the outgoing NX. The headlamps look modern and fresh, but the air inlets beneath them look fussy, cluttering what is already a very, er, feature-rich design. It’s a distinctive look, to say the least, but not everyone will love it.
A new rear bumper cover looks much more architectural than the outgoing model, and the newly foot-operated hatch is reshaped with stronger creases and character lines. New wheel designs and smoky new taillights complete the exterior changes, giving the 2018 NX a slightly more updated appearance. Squint, and you might be able to tell.
Inside, the most obvious change is a much larger center display screen, up from 7.0 inches to 10.3. The landscape-oriented widescreen display looks similar to that of the LX SUV, though that range-topper gets a 12.3-inch screen. Lexus has also greatly simplified the operation of the HVAC controls, replacing the many single buttons with four multi-function toggle switches embossed with a tiny “L” logo. Materials were likewise updated for 2018, and both the trackpad and wireless charging tray have been enlarged based on customer feedback.
Overall, the changes made to the NX will likely keep it on the shopping lists of the Lexus faithful, as the company has improved its performance, comfort, and appearance, if only slightly. The NX faces stiff competition from newer competitors, but its incremental updates help it remain in the hunt.