By on April 15, 2020

Image: Steph Willems/TTAC

With a new Lexus NX compact crossover expected to arrive next year, trademark applications on both sides of the Atlantic point to increased powertrain diversity — and more available power for U.S. customers.

Overseas, at least, the little Lexus (but not the littlest Lexus) CUV stands to go even greener.

European trademark applications posted to the forum show that, in that market at least, Lexus has a use in mind for the NX 450h+ moniker. While “h” denotes a hybrid model in most OEM parlance, the “+” seems to indicate a boosted level of electrification. A plug-in hybrid, one has to assume, not unlike the Toyota RAV4 Prime PHEV unveiled for the 2021 model year.

The upcoming NX is expected to borrow that model’s platform.

While Europe has gee-whiz tech in store, that same trademark cannot be found in the automaker’s U.S. applications list. Instead, a brace of new trademarks (filed in early April and first noticed by Motor Trend) point to four- and six-cylinder power. The North American NX currently exists in NX 300 and NX 300h form, with the gas-only model donning a turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder and the hybrid pairing a naturally aspirated 2.5-liter with an electric motor.

The new additions are NX 250 and NX 350, which suggests a Camry-esque powertrain lineup, free of turbos. Toyota’s midsize sedan returns healthy fuel economy with its 2.5-liter four-banger/eight-speed auto combo (the NX still carries a six-speed in its current guise), with the thriftiest non-hybrid Camry topping the least-thirsty gas-only NX by 9 mpg in combined driving.

It’s assumed that NX 350 hints at the inclusion of Toyota’s sturdy 3.5-liter V6, though one must be wary of displacement-based naming conventions these days. Many automakers are throwing such things to the wind. Numbers mean nothing and reality is what you make it.

Introduced in late 2014 as a 2015 model, the NX has proven a reliable seller for Lexus. While yours truly wasn’t overwhelmed by the 2.0-liter turbo’s gas mileage or responsiveness, the transmission didn’t hunt and the model’s suspension was top-notch. It’s a valuable model for the brand, and one that Lexus will be sure not to screw up.

[Image: Steph Willems/TTAC]

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23 Comments on “Due for a Revamp, Lexus NX Hints at V6 Power...”

  • avatar

    Is the NX the Lexus version of the Rav4?

    If so, I’d buy a new Rav4 V6 for my next vehicle. I had a 2011 Rav4 Sport, and it was awesome with the V6.

  • avatar

    A V6 in this CUV class would make it a class leader. Then if the V6 found it’s way down to the Rav4, unbeatable

  • avatar

    I don’t expect a V6 in this platform; it’s never had one before. “NX 350” seems a more likely name for a 2.0T with more boost than we’ve seen to this point.

    The top powertrain is surely going to be the one from the RAV4 Prime.

    • 0 avatar

      I wouldn’t be too sure about that. Toyota seems to moving away from the popular 2.0T every other maker is using. As the article points out, Toyota’s naturally aspirated engines deliver better fuel economy than the turbine counterparts, and are probably cheaper to make, and maybe more durable for being less complicated. If there’s an economy of production that increases profit margins, Toyota will find it. In this case, they may have already done the math.

    • 0 avatar

      I was thinking same thing! But then, you might miss that turbos will be gone. Then #350 means what, their 2.7L? No. With the bigger hole under the hood on the new platform, they might just stick v6 in there

  • avatar

    I too would be shocked about a V6 in this vehicle.

    With that said, I have 2 points.

    1) Toyota and their V6 has become a very unique selling point. Almost nobody is offering this in their sedans anymore (for mainstream brands). Ditto for the compact CUV luxury class, at least without getting into expensive German brand territory. Acura RDX is about all I can think of. Smooth, non-turbo V6 power is luxurious. In addition the Toyota V6 is basically bulletproof

    2) The turbo 4 kinda sucks. My sister has this car. There is quite a bit of lag when you step on it, not nearly to the level of say the VW/Audi turbo 4s. Its smooth for a 4 cyl but you can tell. But the biggest disappointment is the fuel economy blows with this engine. Maybe it isn’t bad around town but having driven that car a few times on multi-day road trips, 75mph cruises and you’re around maybe 22mpg. My father has a 10 year old RX with the V6, bigger, heavier, older car. And the RX can do the same MPG. But at least it feels luxurious.

    So, the fact that the 2.0L isn’t trickling down makes me think maybe Toyota is rethinking using this engine. The fact that a V6 is now a differentiator has to be helping that decision.

    Also will give Toyota props for sticking with conventional automatics and non-turbo engines for the most part.

  • avatar

    Look at it – it’s terrible. Lexus what has become of you?

    • 0 avatar

      Like every other automaker, they’re limited to what they can do with the front and rear clips, and there are partial restrictions on the front clip, while the middle of the vehicle is ruled by the wind tunnel, which in turn limits the rear clip.

      Too bad most people here aren’t old enough to have enjoyed the golden age of auto design, the mid-’60s to mid-’70s. Of course, those cars folded like a cheap suit in a crash, but at least you went out in style. It’s been just the drip, drip of limitations layered on to handcuff styling.

      I’ve wondered if you could build a unibody ’68 Charger, or ’70 Ford Torino with crush zones, air bags, 4-wheel disc brakes, and all the other modern drive train and suspension components. but it’s probably not possible with all the regulations and costly manufacturing issues.

  • avatar

    I would rather buy Tellurude.

  • avatar

    My question is this: What will be the next evolution of the “Predator” grille??
    It couldn’t possibly get any larger or uglier…could it?!?

    • 0 avatar

      Since there isn’t much else they can do to make a vehicle “distinctive”, everything is on the table. So, yes – it CAN get larger and uglier. The predator grille still has room to widen and engulf the headlights and front fenders, and don’t be surprised if it creeps up and over the hood.

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