Lexus should have been finding the fairway with the NX, no doubt about it. Between the current crop of usual diesel suspects and the near-future prospect of plug-in electric runners, there was an opportunity for Lexus to present its tried and tested hybrid tech as a desirable and common-sense source of power for a compact SUV.

In practice swings, many of the constituent parts are still there, it being supremely quiet, strikingly handsome, nicely appointed, typically well equipped and – in hybrid form – efficient, especially in regard to the rising concern about NOx emissions.

The new Lexus NX is not without merit but the Volvo XC60, Audi Q5 and BMW X3 remain the more appealing choices

But elsewhere, Lexus has failed to make a sufficiently strong case. Its crossover is too aloof to pedal, too tempestuous to sit in and, in this trim, too expensive to seriously consider, given its rivals.

Lexus fans will continue to celebrate the brand’s short game, played considerately, smoothly and in a veiled hush. To crossover buyers at large, it’s predictably one-dimensional.

However, the emergence of the NX led to Lexus refining the formula for its latest generation Lexus RX which has proven to be a hit with customers in the large SUV category.


Find an Autocar review

Find an Autocar car review