Even though the lines were always a bit blurry, the sharply rising prices during the pandemic era have scrambled the distinction between luxury cars and what used to be considered the more mundane mass market offerings.
The rising prices also have blurred the identities of some brands that used to have rather fixed personas. Lexus had built a strong line-up, ranging from the very top end to “nearly luxury” slices of the market. The latter where it placed the Lexus NX 350, hoping to attract more youthful buyers on their way to bigger incomes or buyers looking for a smaller vehicle and prestige.
For a compact vehicle, the 2022 NX 350h carries a hefty price of more than $55,000 in a package with luxury touches, an array of the latest technology and a hybrid powertrain with solid fuel economy numbers — very attractive in the wake of gas price spike following the Russian invasion of Ukraine.
It also comes with the brand’s reputation for reliability, but it also is a relatively anonymous vehicle, which many buyers, who don’t want to be the center of attention, will find attractive.
The overall impression of the 2022 Lexus NX 350h is the exterior design goes just far enough, thanks to the strong front fascia with a prominent place for the Lexus badge, to separate it from the other vehicles in a rather crowded segment with only a small amount of genuine visual differentiation. But Lexus designers have worked to make it more like a hatchback than a utility vehicle by giving the windshield more a slant and sloping the roofline rearward.
In addition, the rear liftgate is given more shape and the window openings are outlined with bright work to set it off inside the vehicle’s silhouette. Twenty-inch wheels sit at the corners and roof rails add a back country touch to the vehicle’s overall appearance.
The cabin of the 2022 Lexus NX 350h is nicely furnished with a leather-wrapped steering wheel and shift knob as well as soft materials on the inner doors as well as wood trim and piano black hard plastic in key spots around the interior. The materials are neatly integrated into the design scheme for the NX 350h. The centerpiece of the interior design is a horizontal, 14-inch touch screen for navigation and entertainment, which sits on top of the center stack but is canted toward the driver.
The touchscreen in the center stack is augmented by dials and buttons for other controls such as HVAC. The NX 350h I drove also came with a rear seat package, including a powered folding seat, which increased the vehicle’s overall versatility.
The 2022 Lexus NX 350h is powered by a 2.5-liter, inline 4-cylinder engine and a continuously variable transmission, and electric drive motor-generators for acceleration and passing performance. The all-wheel-drive system on the NX 350h employs a second, independent electric motor to drive the rear wheels when needed.
The system produces 235 horsepower and 258 pound-feet of torque. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has given the Lexus NX 350h a combined fuel-economy rating of 39 miles per gallon, including 41 mpg in the city and 37 mpg on the highway.
Safety and Technology
The NX 350h is equipped with the Lexus Safety System 3.0, which includes lane-departure alert, road sign assistance, pedestrian detection, dynamic radar cruise control, curve management assistance and intelligent high beams.
It also has eight airbags for protection in frontal and side impact collisions. It also has Lexus interface with Android Auto, Apple CarPlay and Bluetooth as well Sirius XM, and a Wi-fi hotspot, Cloud Navigation and, in the vehicle I drove, a 17-speaker Mark Levinson sound system as well as a wireless charger and a panoramic view rear-backup camera.
Driving the 2022 Lexus NX 350h is a pleasure. It has ample power that comes into play quickly and efficiently when called upon. The hybrid drive system has been around for years but the engineers at Lexus do work at making it better from year to year. The effort shows in NX350h, which, while not a race car, has no trouble keeping up with traffic in the city or out on the highway.
The extra weight from the lithium-ion battery pack as give the vehicle some extra stability so the ride and handling is also quite pleasant. All in all, it delivers a pleasant drive for any suburban house holder, who needs dependable and efficient transportation for everyday errands and commuting.
2022 Lexus NX 350h Specifications
|Dimension||L: 193.5 inches/W: 73.4 inches/H: 65.8 inches/Wheelbase: 105.9 inches|
|Powertrain||2.5-liter turbocharged inline 4-cylinder engine with two permanent magnet motors; CVT|
|Fuel Economy||41 mpg city/37 mpg highway/39 mpg combined|
|Performance Specs||239 horsepower and 258 pound-feet of torque|
|Price||Base price: $43,225; As tested: $55,755 including $1,075 destination charge.|
|On-Sale Date||Available now|
This 2022 Lexus NX 350h competes in against a long list of vehicles buyers have found quite satisfying over the years, and are actually a bit less expensive, such as the Honda CRV or Toyota’s own RAV4 hybrid, which has become one the Japanese automaker’s top sellers.
But while the Lexus NX 350h is rather pricey for a near luxury vehicle, the revised hybrid powertrain gives it some fresh and added appeal in an environment where high gas prices appear likely to hang around for a while.
Of course, people chose a Grand Cherokee for its comfort, size, technology, performance and ability to handle bad weather, and who can blame them? This is a really good ride, albeit a very spendy one. It is truly grand, in every sense of the word. If every hybrid were this enticing, we’d all be driving one.
2022 Lexus NX 350h — Frequently Asked Questions
Will the 2022 Lexus NX be the first with Remote Touch?
Being sold alongside the enormously popular RX SUV is a positive and being the first Lexus in the showroom to do away with the Remote Touch Interface can only help the NX strip away some shoppers. The 2022 NX is currently assembled in Japan, but production will begin at Toyota Motor Manufacturing Canada in early 2022.
Does the Lexus NX 350h have Apple CarPlay?
The Lexus NX 350h is equipped with wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto connectivity, so you can access your smartphone’s entertainment and map apps without having to plug in. On the options list is a 10-inch head-up display that projects useful information onto the windshield for easy viewing.
Should you buy a 2022 Lexus NX 350h?
A full 2022 redesign for Lexus’ NX compact SUV reintroduces an entry-level powertrain, boosts mileage and acceleration for the available hybrid variant, adds the first Lexus plug-in hybrid (for some markets) and makes the whole NX line-up more competitive in several ways.