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Lexus finally joins the compact SUV party with its new NX 300h

28 Oct 2014

IT HAS been a long time coming, but Lexus finally has its hands on its first compact SUV, the NX.

Launched in its petrol-electric hybrid 300h guise, the NX range will be extended in about February next year when another first for Lexus – a turbo-charged petrol four-cylinder engine – makes its debut in the NX 200t alongside the hybrid variant.

Once both versions are firing on all sales cylinders in 2015, the NX is expected to become one of the Japanese luxury brand’s biggest sellers, drawing a lot of customers new to the brand.

At launch, the NX 300h comes in a choice of front-wheel drive and all-wheel drive in the base Luxury level.

The sporty NX F Sport and top-shelf Sport Luxury have all-wheel drive as standard, but not just any old all-wheel drive: the rear wheels are driven independently by an electric motor to provide rear drive, while the front wheels are powered by a conventional petrol-electric powertrain, in this case borrowed from the larger Lexus ES.

This system employs a 114kW 2.5-litre Atkinson cycle four-cylinder petrol engine that, when combined with a 105kW electric motor, pumps 147kW of power to the front wheels via a continuously variable transmission (CVT).

The question that many people will ask is whether they should slap their hard-earned down on an NX 300h now or wait until the petrol 200t arrives in the New Year. Good question …

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Model release date: 1 October 2014

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