2022 Lexus NX 350 AWD Review - Getting with the Times

Fast Facts

2022 Lexus NX 350 AWD Fast Facts

2.4-liter turbocharged four-cylinder (275 horsepower @ 6,000 RPM, 317 lb-ft @ 1,700-3,600 RPM)
Eight-speed automatic transmission, all-wheel drive
22 city / 29 highway / 25 combined (EPA Rating, MPG)
10.5 city / 8.3 highway / 9.5 combined. (NRCan Rating, L/100km)
Base Price
$43,025 (U.S) / $54,850 (Canada)
As Tested
N/A (U.S.) / N/A (Canada)
Prices include $1,075 destination charge in the United States and $2,245 for freight, PDI, and A/C tax in Canada and, because of cross-border equipment differences, can't be directly compared.
2022 lexus nx 350 awd review getting with the times

I’ve always had mixed feelings about Lexus’ NX compact crossover. I’ve found it to be fairly sporty – in general, and not just by staid Lexus standards – and overall more engaging to drive than the larger (and highly popular) RX, but also a bit cramped inside. Not to mention that the NX, like most Toyota and Lexus products, just seemed a step behind when it came to infotainment.

Lexus addressed two of those criticisms with the current model and did so quite nicely.

The NX gains about an inch of length and half an inch of height, and it’s a bit wider. There are four new powertrains, including two hybrid setups, and I got my mitts on the 350, which has a 2.4-liter turbocharged four-cylinder that makes 275 horsepower and 317 lb-ft of torque and mates to an eight-speed automatic.

The increase in size is subtle, but I felt less cramped while tooling around town. That tooling wasn’t too boring, either – the NX is just sporty enough, at least for a small crossover, to entertain. The engine is stout enough for the cut and thrust of urban driving.

It’s a Lexus, so silence and a compliant yet not soft ride are part of the deal, even with some sport dialed in. The “sport” does make occasionally make the NX feel a bit stiff, but generally, the smooth ride that most Lexuses (Lexii?) have ended up being the dominant setting.

The updated infotainment system is vastly superior to what it replaces – it not only looks better but the user experience is much improved. Toyota and Lexus have taken a leap forward here. For those who still prefer their smartphone to factory systems – I am often among that crowd – wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are standard.

It’s not perfect – there’s a mix of haptic touch and knobs, and we all know that haptic touch can be confounding, though it wasn’t too bad here. Still, it looks so much better, and again, the user experience is just so improved, even with haptic touch, that you’ll be mostly happy.

Lexus and/or my local fleet didn’t provide me with a Monroney – I believe my tester was a pre-production vehicle, so I can’t tell you exactly how it was equipped. I can tell you that Lexus Safety System+ 3.0 is standard across the board and it includes emergency steering assist, left-turn oncoming vehicle braking, curve-speed management, intersection support, dynamic radar cruise control, road-sign assist, pre-collision alert, and lane-departure alert with steering assist.

All-wheel drive is standard on 350 models, and the EPA lists fuel economy at 22/28/25.

Spending some time online building an NX similarly equipped to the one I drove put the sticker at around $52K, with a base of $43,025, including $1,075 for destination, which is somehow not listed on the Lexus consumer site. Standard features include keyless entry, dual-zone climate control, heated front seats, Bluetooth, and LED exterior lighting.

Options include the 14-inch touchscreen for infotainment, moonroof, cooled front seats, 20-inch wheels, rain-sensing windshield wipers, power rear liftgate, ambient lighting, and Mark Levinson audio.

Some change is subtle – the NX is a bit bigger but it will be hard for the naked eye to see that. Some change is obvious – new powertrains, bigger infotainment. Either way, the NX is better than what it replaced, and it no longer feels half-baked.

What’s New for 2022

The 2022 Lexus NX gains new powertrains, more size, and an improved infotainment setup.

Who Should Buy One

The moneyed yuppie who found the previous-gen to be cramped and who is impressed by new tech.

[Images © 2022 Tim Healey/TTAC]

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3 of 19 comments
  • Teddyc73 Teddyc73 on Jul 08, 2022

    It's stunning how ugly this car is. I saw one on the road, came up behind, and I was just repulsed. Coming and going it's hideous.

  • Analoggrotto Analoggrotto on Jul 08, 2022

    Lexus would do well to remember how much customers liked the "conservative, kinda boring" end of their styling. This garish insanity has cost them not only sales but possibly the GS and the IS and LX might be next. How I yearn for the handsome boxy business of the LS 400.

    • ToolGuy ToolGuy on Jul 08, 2022

      Automotive writers were dissatisfied with Toyota's conservative styling. "Boring" they said. "Vanilla." "No excitement." Toyota, wanting to be hip and young and with it, and like every insecure person everywhere wanting most of all to Avoid Criticism, went for more styling "reach" in their designs. Which can happen some on the rear, and more on the sides, but mostly on the 'face' of the vehicle, i.e., the grille. (Not "grill" -- which reminds me of a boneheaded elaborate person tale relating to the crash of the ecomony, but we will stay on task.) So now we see more "expressive" grille designs, and sexier low rooflines which harm entry/egress, and multitudinous other Incremental Changes which add up to Blech and we've just about killed the sedan, thank you auto writers. Ask me sometime about how Brock Yates Ruined My Life. (Or are you too busy making observations I made three years ago in these same pages?)

  • DenverMike When was it ever a mystery? The Fairmont maybe, but only the 4-door "Futura" trim, that was distinctively upscale. The Citation and Volare didn't have competing trims, nor was there a base stripper Maxima at the time, if ever, crank windows, vinyl seats, 2-doors, etc. So it wasn't a "massacre", not even in spirit, just different market segments. It could be that the Maxima was intended to compete with those, but everything coming from Japan at the time had to take it up a notch, if not two.Thanks to the Japanese "voluntary" trade restriction, everything had extra options, if not hard loaded. The restriction limited how many vehicles were shipped, not what they retailed at. So Japanese automakers naturally raised the "price" (or stakes) without raising MSRP. What the dealers charged (gouged) was a different story.Realistically, the Maxima was going up against entry luxury sedans (except Cimarron lol), especially Euro/German, same as the Cressida. It definitely worked in Japanese automaker's favor, not to mention inspiring Lexus, Acura and Infiniti.
  • Ronnie Schreiber Hydrocarbon based fuels have become unreliable? More expensive at the moment but I haven't seen any lines gathering around gas stations lately, have you? I'm old enough to remember actual gasoline shortages in 1973 and 1979 (of course, since then there have been many recoverable oil deposits discovered around the world plus the introduction of fracking). Consumers Power is still supplying me with natural gas. I recently went camping and had no problem buying propane.Texas had grid problems last winter because they replaced fossil fueled power plants with wind and solar, which didn't work in the cold weather. That's the definition of unreliable.I'm an "all of the above" guy when it comes to energy: fossil fuels, hydro, wind (where it makes sense), nuclear (including funding for fusion research), and possibly solar.Environmental activists, it seems to me, have no interest in energy diversity. Based on what's happened in Sri Lanka and the push against agriculture in Europe and Canada, I think it's safe to say that some folks want most of us to live like medieval peasants to save the planet for their own private jets.
  • Car65688392 thankyou for the information
  • Car65688392 Thankyou for your valuable information
  • MaintenanceCosts There's no mystery anymore about how the Japanese took over the prestige spot in the US mass market (especially on the west coast) when you realize that this thing was up against the likes of the Fairmont, Citation, and Volaré. A massacre.