Lexus NX

Lexus NX
An over-firm ride and a lack of driver engagement detract from the appeal of Lexus’s rival to the BMW X3, Range Rover Evoque and Audi Q5

The BMW X3-sized Lexus NX was born out of 2013’s LF-NX concept. The edgy-looking concept previewed the production car you see here, a model designed with SUV-loving Europe as its top market in mind as Lexus bids to give its sales a leg-up here.The looks aren’t to all tastes but you can’t accuse it of being bland. The styling is not the only standout point for the new NX, however, because the new SUV also gets the first airing of Lexus’s new turbocharged 2.0-litre petrol engine.Buyers can alternatively opt for an efficient petrol-electric hybrid variant, called the Lexus NX300h, which is set to take 90 per cent of sales in the continued absence of diesel from Lexus’s range.The NX300h hybrid comes with standard front- or optional four-wheel drive and reaches the UK in October priced from £29,495; the NX200t petrol is due next March and exclusively available in four-wheel drive and F Sport trim.The new turbocharged engine is pleasing enough; the 2.0-litre turbo unit is potent with 235bhp and a hefty 258lb ft of torque available from just 1650rpm. It’s hooked up to a new six-speed automatic gearbox, driving all four wheels.Performance is brisk without having passengers reaching for the grab handles, the claimed 7.1sec 0-62mph figure feeling perfectly believable. The 50-75mph time of 6.0sec also indicates plenty of mid-range shove, before it trails away at the top end.

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