The Lexus NX compact SUV is all new for 2022 and goes all out on technology, design intensity, clever interior details, and powertrain options including hybrid and plug-in hybrid versions.
There are four models in the 2022 NX lineup. In order of pricing from lowest to highest: NX 250, NX 350, NX 350h, and NX 450h+. Two to four trim levels are available for each one.
Base pricing with a $1,075 destination charge included starts at $40,100 and ends at $57,710. An F Sport trim for the NX 450h+ adds $1,340 to its base price, so strictly speaking that’s the top level.
In a departure from the usual, I didn’t drive the most extravagant model. I drove the base model, the NX 250, albeit the Luxury trim. The customary reaction of car reviewers to base models is “feh,” but they won’t be making the payments, and there’s a fixation with “how fast can it go?” even if it’s a school bus.
The NX 250 is available with front-wheel or all-wheel drive. The latter is an extra $1,600. Its four-cylinder gas engine is joined with an eight-speed automatic transmission and produces 203 horsepower. For the speed-curious: NX 250 can go from zero to 60 mph in 8.2 seconds with FWD and 8.6 seconds with AWD. Not an impressive showing for Circuit of the Americas, but plenty enough for an I-5 on-ramp. It’s a similar situation with NX 250’s handling on a winding road.
Fuel economy ratings for a front-drive NX 250 are 26 mpg city, 33 mpg highway, and 28 mpg combined. With AWD the numbers are 25/32/28.
In the 2022 NX, Lexus does away with its unloved trackpad-based infotainment system and replaces it with Lexus Interface, featuring voice and touch controls. High-end trims get a 14-inch touchscreen. The new system, a tech addict’s reason to live, can do all sorts of wonderful connectivity things for people who love such things. It’s allegedly intuitive, but of course I struggled. Thank God for the voice command function that let me limp along all week by saying “Hey Lexus” hundreds of times, often shouting.
The NX 250 interior is simple but elegant. Seats are sturdy and comfortable synthetic leather, and convenience features abound. There are several clever touches. The wireless phone charging tray slides into the dash, hiding the phone while also giving access to an otherwise hidden stowage bin. The center console bin’s lid is “hinged” on the driver side and the front passenger side, creating easier access as well as less intrusion for both parties. A new feature Lexus calls Digital Latch provides smooth push-button operation of the doors. Outside door handles remain fixed when pulled, and doors shut tight with a magnetic feel. The system is wonderful for protecting manicures, for people who love such things.
2022 LEXUS NX 250 AWD LUXURY
Base price, including destination charge: $46,775
Price as driven: $51,395
Mary Lowry is a member of the Motor Press Guild and a member and past president of the Northwest Automotive Press Association. She lives in Snohomish County. Vehicles are provided by automotive manufacturers as a one-week loan for evaluation purposes only. Manufacturers do not control content of the reviews.