New Lexus NX facelift makes European debut at the Frankfurt Motor Show

Significant changes to the design, tech and chassis of the Lexus NX compact SUV are designed to help strong sales continue.

This is the facelifted Lexus NX, a new version of the Japanese luxury brand’s UK best-seller, which has made its European debut at the Frankfurt Motor Show.

Lexus shifted just over 4,000 examples of the NX in the UK in 2016, helping the firm’s British dealers to their strongest year since 2007. So the changes to the car are relatively modest as the firm hopes to build on this progress. Lexus sources say the revised NX will go on sale in the UK just before the end of 2017.

Best SUVs to buy now

The NX’s exterior gets a revised front grille and new front bumpers that blend a bit more naturally into the bonnet and front wings and doors, along with new satin and smoked chrome trim elements. The car’s exterior designer, Shin Kamiura, says the front has a “stronger and more aggressive presence”. 

The rear gets a lower, wider bumper to improve the NX’s stance, and revised tail-lights that incorporate ‘L’-shaped lenses more effectively. There are also larger chrome-tipped exhausts, an underbody spoiler and two new designs of 18in alloy wheels.

The cabin has a number of updates, including a larger central dashboard screen (up from seven inches to 10.3 inches), simpler and less cluttered controls for the air-con and heating, and a new design of analogue clock.

Lexus’s remote touchpad has been made larger, and it gets a reshaped palm rest to improve wrist comfort, while the wireless phone charging tray has also grown, to reflect the trend towards larger smartphones. Lexus has also integrated the head-up display into the top of the instrument panel, so cars with this feature have a smooth dash that’s identical to non-HUD models.

Other new features include heating controls for the rear-cabin occupants, metallic satin finish on many of the key switches, and a sensor under the rear bumper that allows you to open the rear hatch by waving your foot underneath the car.

Under the skin, the NX’s powertrain remains broadly the same. The non-hybrid NX 200t will continue to be offered with its four-cylinder turbocharged petrol engine, but Lexus says its badge will change to become simply NX 300 - a reflection, the firm argues, of the adoption of turbo motors in other models in the range. The bulk of sales will continue to be taken up by the hybrid NX 300h, however, and this car’s hybrid set-up - a mix of electric motors and a 2.5-litre petrol engine - is unchanged.

Lexus has taken the opportunity to tweak the NX’s chassis, though. The springs, anti-roll bars and bushes have all been revised in a bid to improve turn-in and keep the car flatter during cornering. There’s a new spec of shock absorber, too - but the biggest tweak is the introduction of Adaptive Variable Suspension, first seen on the LC 500. It monitors the position of all four wheels and uses up to 650 different compression and damping adjustments to improve handling stability and deliver different modes depending on the driver’s mood. 

Other tweaks include improved sound deadening, and the addition of Lexus’s Safety System +, which brings in dynamic radar-based cruise control, lane departure alert, automatic high-beam headlights and a pre-collision system.

Will these 2017 changes help the Lexus NX keep pace with premium compact SUV rivals? Give us your view in the comments…

Recommended

New 2021 electric Hyundai 45 SUV spied for the first time
Hyundai

New 2021 electric Hyundai 45 SUV spied for the first time

A pre-production version of Hyundai’s retro-styled all-electric SUV has been spotted undergoing development at the Nurburgring
12 May 2020
New Land Rover Defender: full specs and details
Land Rover Defender - studio front
Land Rover Defender 4x4

New Land Rover Defender: full specs and details

The new Land Rover Defender brings advanced tech, proper off-roading ability and starting price of £40k
25 Mar 2020
New Skoda Kamiq Monte Carlo adds sporty flair
Skoda Kamiq Monte Carlo - front tracking
Skoda Kamiq SUV

New Skoda Kamiq Monte Carlo adds sporty flair

Racy new Skoda Kamiq Monte Carlo SUV to be priced from £23,305, with first deliveries to start in Spring
29 Jan 2020
Prices for Mercedes GLE 350 de plug-in
Mercedes GLE 350 de - Frankfurt front
Mercedes GLE

Prices for Mercedes GLE 350 de plug-in

New diesel-electric Mercedes GLE 350 de SUV will be priced from £61,360 and is capable of over 60 miles on electric power alone
29 Jan 2020

Most Popular

UK van speed limits: all you need to know
Tips & advice

UK van speed limits: all you need to know

What's the speed limit for a van in the UK? It's not always the one you'll see posted on the road. We explain all
8 Oct 2020
New 2020 Volkswagen Golf GTI Clubsport turns up the wick to 296bhp
Volkswagen Golf GTI Hatchback

New 2020 Volkswagen Golf GTI Clubsport turns up the wick to 296bhp

The new Volkswagen Golf GTI Clubsport adds more power and gets an aero overhaul
13 Oct 2020
New Porsche Panamera Turbo S E-Hybrid revealed with 690bhp
Porsche Panamera

New Porsche Panamera Turbo S E-Hybrid revealed with 690bhp

The Porsche Panamera Turbo S E-Hybrid becomes the most powerful variant available, priced from £140,130
19 Oct 2020