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First Look: Lexus NX 300h

nx_1The market’s fastest growing segment right now is for compact SUVs and Lexus is eager to tap into this lucrative niche with their new NX. We went to London for a sneak preview of this new Lexus writes Geraldine Herbert

What is it? The NX is a production version of the LF-NX hybrid, the concept shown at Frankfurt. Perfect for young urban professionals and couples who want a grown up hatchback with saloon proportions and four doors, the compact SUV market is dominated  by the Audi Q5, BMW X3 and the Range Rover Evoque while Porsche and Mercedes have both recently introduced rivals models.

First impressions of the Lexus NX?  Not quite as bold a design as the original concept suggested the signature Lexus grille, flared arches and sculpted body combine to make  this a very distinctive car. Outside the exterior is chiselled, muscular and very masculine. In a market where the compact SUV is the ultimate fashion accessories Lexus showrooms are not likely to resonate to the sound of high heels just yet with this car.

What about the interior?   Inside the distinctive and premium feel continues and the sporty car style cabin features a chunky racy sports steering wheel and contrasting black and red stitching. A feature, Mr. Takeaki Kato, Chief Engineer of Lexus NX, was keen to stress was intended to appeal to women.

With a lower than expected seating position this only adds to the feeling of space throughout and there is decent head and leg room for front and rear passengers. Despite the sloping roofline it is also practical and has Lexus tell us the best luggage load length in its segment.

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Under the bonnet? Powering the NX 300h is a 2.5-litre petrol engine with an electric motor to give a total power output of 192bhp. Lexus is aiming for emissions of just under 120g/km, giving it the edge over rivals and would mean a combined economy figure of 5.2 litres per 100km or 54 mpg and annual road tax of €190

How Much? The new NX 300h is likely to be priced from under €45,000 but exact pricing and specification details will be announced later this year

How Safe?  The NX comes with a host of safety features including a Panoramic View Monitor featuring the highest resolution camera to be offered on a Lexus vehicle. Other active safety systems include Lane Departure Alert (LDA), Blind Spot Monitor, Rear Cross-Traffic Alert, newly adopted cornering lamps and Head-Up Display.

What about my options:  Five trim-levels will be available at launch including an F SPORT version which will add exclusive items, such as spindle grille, front lower bumper, aluminium wheel, unique interior colour, ornament panel and sport seat.

3 words to describe the Lexus NX:  Aggressive; Angular; Frugal

 

 

For more information check out Lexus.ie or the Lexus Ireland Facebook page.

Geraldine Herbert

29th May, 2014

 

Author: Geraldine Herbert

Contributing Editor and Motoring Columnist for the Sunday Independent and editor of wheelsforwomen. Geraldine is also a regular contributor to Good Housekeeping (UK) and to RTÉ Radio One, Newstalk, TodayFM and BBC Radio. You can follow Geraldine on Twitter at @GerHerbert1

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