Cast your mind back to 2014 and the launch of the first-generation Lexus NX. At the time (and mostly in a positive way), we found the car quite shocking to behold.
Even the TV advert, which featured an origami fox along with other creased creations existing in an abstracted urban environment – Facet City – might have induced tension headaches in the viewer. Just how many angles, we wondered, was it possible to design into the body of a car before the result resembled a ball of tinfoil? The NX stopped well short of that point, but still.
Clearly, given that this new version doubles down on the approach, Lexus feels it was onto something with the razor-sharp looks of the first-generation NX, and not without justification. This mid-sized SUV has become the brand’s best-selling model, propelling Lexus out of relative obscurity in Europe and giving it respectable market share in perhaps the most unforgiving segment of them all.
The second-generation car tested here aims to double that share and take even more conquest sales from the likes of the Audi Q5, Mercedes-Benz GLC, BMW X3 and Range Rover Evoque. It features some small but significant changes to help it achieve that goal.
While the aesthetic merely fine-tunes that of the Facet City star, there are broader changes underneath. The entire line-up now consists of petrol hybrids (though non-hybrid models will be offered in eastern Europe), and there is also a plug-in hybrid for the first time in the form of the powerful, range-topping NX 450h+.