Judged on the image at the top of this page, you’d be forgiven for writing off the Lexus NX’s transition to a second generation as no more dramatic than your average mid-life facelift.
Indeed, save for the addition of a new rear light bar, a spelled-out badge across the bootlid and subtly reworked side detailing, there’s little to mark this out as the latest version of Lexus’s biggest-selling European car. And that’s probably not bad news for those in control of the company coffers; in the UK alone, the outgoing NX – even at seven years old – accounts for roughly a third of the brand’s sales so far this year, outselling the larger RX by a ratio of about 3:1.
So, outside at least, this is a classic case of evolution over revolution – even though 95% of the components on this car are new. Parked up against the outgoing model, the restyled creases and overhauled front end are more obvious additions, but you still might miss the shorter overhangs, 20mm increases in length and width and extended tracks on both axles – significant changes that result from the NX’s switch onto parent company Toyota’s new GA-K platform, as used for the indefatigably popular Toyota RAV4 and its technically identical Suzuki Across cousin.
As well as bringing the centre of gravity down by 20mm and increasing overall stiffness by 30% for improved dynamics, this new platform provides the NX with its first (and, indeed, Lexus’s first) plug-in hybrid powertrain. Familiar from the RAV4 PHEV, the system pairs a 2.5-litre petrol engine with a 180bhp electric motor on the rear axle, and another with 54bhp at the front for a total output of 305bhp, while an 18.1kWh under-floor battery endows the crossover with an EV range of 43 miles. The entry-level NX 350h, with a familiar but upgraded version of the outgoing car’s full-hybrid system, will also be offered.