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]

Join the conversation
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?)

  • Dennis Howerton Nice article, Cory. Makes me wish I had bought Festivas when they were being produced. Kia made them until the line was discontinued, but Kia evidently used some of the technology to make the Rio. Pictures of the interior look a lot like my Rio's interior, and the 1.5 liter engine is from Mazda while Ford made the automatic transmission in the used 2002 Rio I've been driving since 2006. I might add the Rio is also an excellent subcompact people mover.
  • Sgeffe Bronco looks with JLR “reliability!”What’s not to like?!
  • FreedMike Back in the '70s, the one thing keeping consumers from buying more Datsuns was styling - these guys were bringing over some of the ugliest product imaginable. Remember the F10? As hard as I try to blot that rolling aberration from my memory, it comes back. So the name change to Nissan made sense, and happened right as they started bringing over good-looking product (like the Maxima that will be featured in this series). They made a pretty clean break.
  • Flowerplough Liability - Autonomous vehicles must be programmed to make life-ending decisions, and who wants to risk that? Hit the moose or dive into the steep grassy ditch? Ram the sudden pile up that is occurring mere feet in front of the bumper or scan the oncoming lane and swing left? Ram the rogue machine that suddenly swung into my lane, head on, or hop up onto the sidewalk and maybe bump a pedestrian? With no driver involved, Ford/Volkswagen or GM or whomever will bear full responsibility and, in America, be ambulance-chaser sued into bankruptcy and extinction in well under a decade. Or maybe the yuge corporations will get special, good-faith, immunity laws, nation-wide? Yeah, that's the ticket.
  • FreedMike It's not that consumers wouldn't want this tech in theory - I think they would. Honestly, the idea of a car that can take over the truly tedious driving stuff that drives me bonkers - like sitting in traffic - appeals to me. But there's no way I'd put my property and my life in the hands of tech that's clearly not ready for prime time, and neither would the majority of other drivers. If they want this tech to sell, they need to get it right.