In terms of sheer handsomeness, Lexus has made enviable leaps and bounds in the luxury compact SUV category. It is fast shaking off the adage that the marque manufacturer is meant for “sensible” (read: mature) roadsters. With the release of the NX Hybrid 2.5, it’s like an haute couture designer making trendy, commercial moves on the international stage.
The ride is all muscular shoulders, steely LED headlamps and aggressive wheel arches that converge into the familiar ‘X’ on the front grille. Extra pains have been taken to contour the side panels and skirts into aggressive lines, making a plain show of its intention to court drivers hungry for sporty elegance and responsive performance. Over tight corners, the higher CG leads to a palpable rollover, but the drive is reliably comfortable, exceedingly quiet and steers well.
While the interiors don’t detract from the snug and luxurious appointments in the current-gen IS, there is a play for the premium driver with rich, soft and perforated leather seats. The inside feels intimate and exclusive. The new trimmings include a sensitive, vibrating touch pad that has also replaced the old mouse-activated cursor, turning navigation controls into a highly intuitive experience. Rear air-con vents and legroom complete the comfort checklists for the passengers in the back. A 475-litre boot, while not the largest in its class, is ample enough for most beach outings with the gang, plus a couple of beer coolers. Unless, of course, you’ve got more than a few dogs in the family.
The Lexus NX Hybrid 2.5
Engine: 2.5 litre, 16V-DOHC, 4 cylinders
Top speed: 180km/h
Acceleration: 9.2 seconds (0-100km/h)
Fuel consumption (combined): 17.5km/l
Price: $264,000 with COE