overview: Colin Sharp | images: Carla Leopold | price from: R599 900

Three years after its introduction, the NX 300 mid-range SUV has cemented its status as a leading model in the Lexus range. The 2.0-litre four-cylinder turbo-petrol version has received a substantial update, benefitting from refreshed styling, revised suspension, added features and improved safety. Yet – as its drivetrain is FWD – is this a genuine SUV?

Yes, because there is an AWD option.

In 2018 SUV’s of all sizes and performance are de rigueur in South Africa, likely due to our bushveld proximity and, more practically, lousy road surfaces with burgeoning potholes in many provinces. The appetite for this ilk of vehicle is therefore ongoing and voracious; Lexus reckon that the addition of their two-wheel drive variants will offer a more attractive price point.

There’s no doubt that the NX 300 has optical appeal. It’s particularly attractive when viewed in profile; projecting a chiselled, purposeful and muscular stance. Its lively turbo-boosted four-cylinder petrol power plant is good for 147kW / 210Nm and is linked to a 6-speed A/T gearbox. New grills, bumpers, exhaust tips and wheels also sharpen the NX’s look and, down below, the suspension has been revised across the range to improve ride.

Inside the cabin there’s a plethora of whistles and bells and yet – in a premium SUV such as this – their presentation is refined within a sophisticated interior design signature. The Lexus NX 300 delivers in terms of cabin comfort, features and refinement. This is a sumptuous space showcasing the Lexus obsession with attention to detail. From the hand stitching on the form-hugging electric seats to the leather-wrapped wheel and well-considered ergonomics, this is a cut above the average SUV interior. And there’s good space in the cabin both front and rear, with reasonable boot volume augmented substantially with the 60:40 rear seats folded flat.

Add a larger 10.3-inch multimedia display with improved ‘remote touch’ controller and an upgraded Lexus Safety System+ (LSS+) now standard. This feature has at its centrepiece a pre-collision warning system to detect pedestrians (and wildlife) in addition to other vehicles.

Other LSS+ components include autonomous emergency braking, all-speed radar cruise control and active lane keeping assist, plus blind-spot monitoring, rear cross traffic alert, trailer sway control and a selectable wider field of view for the reversing camera; and headlights have been upgraded across the range. The Drive Mode Select function allows the driver to switch between eco, standard and performance-oriented options; programming can retain drive mode, chassis and air-conditioning settings.

For the full article see Habitat #264 March / April 2018

visit: www.lexus.co.za

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