While the locals in Seattle, Washington complained and apologized for the heat, I felt energized in the 80-degree weather. I had left Texas in typical July weather: 90-100 degree afternoons with steamy humidity. Driving the new compact luxury utility vehicle with the windows down was refreshing, and a terrific way to enjoy the scenery! But seriously, even if the weather had been dreadful I would have enjoyed driving the new Lexus NX. Placing it in the compact luxury utility vehicle category is only the foundation of a description. It nearly defies definition with its almost contradictory list of qualities. It is a utility vehicle, plus luxury, sportiness, innovative technology and attention to detail that answer questions we never knew we had.
Luxury is evident even as you approach the NX. A LED lights the top of the door handle and the ground below the door when the key is detected, and the interior is illuminated. The modern design of the door handle blends in with the body shape and enhances the way the NX slips through the air. Inside, the sports car type seats are comfortable for driver and passenger alike, with available heated and ventilated front seats. The instrument panel is styled with a sporty look, but designed with convenience and logic so the driver can immediately find the information he needs and manipulate dials and switches easily. Even the rear seats have added comfort and convenience with power folding 60/40 split, and they can be raised and lowered individually.
New to Lexus on the NX is Remote Touch Interface (RTI). Replacing the former joystick, a touch pad located in the center console is easily manipulated by driver or front seat passenger. My journalist driving partner and I used this with the navigation system and it was intuitive and effective. Another new feature is a Qi charging tray. Simply placing a compatible smart phone in the tray, located in the console box, will recharge the battery. This works with other compatible devices as well.
Sometimes the little things can delight the most. Having a water bottle with you is as habitual as wearing a watch of carrying a handbag/briefcase. Sometimes lifting that water bottle from the beverage holder and twisting off the cap to take a drink can be a distraction. Some clever engineer decided that they could fix that, so now the bottom of the beverage holder is made of a material that grips the bottle just enough to allow you to twist off the cap and take a drink without looking.
I was impressed with the multifunctional mirrors. Located to minimize blocked forward and side views, they also have a metal garnish to reduce glare from the sun, two problems that frequently bother me. They include turn signal lights and optional Blind Spot Monitor and Rear Cross Traffic Alert warning lights.
The 2015 Lexus offers a choice of two powertrains: a 2.0-liter 235-horsepower turbo gasoline engine with a six-speed automatic transmission; or in the NX 300h hybrid a 2.5-liter Atkinson-cycle gasoline engine with automatic transmission with a kick-down feature for improved efficiency. Each powertrain has front wheel or all-weather drive. Other choices include nine paint colors, five choices of interior trim, and wheel choices on the sport model. It will be fun to personalize your Lexus NX!