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New models - Lexus - NX

Lexus NX range priced from $55,000

Small luxuries: Lexus has priced its petrol-electric hybrid NX 300h from $55,000 as it targets rivals including the recently launched Mercedes-Benz GLA-Class.

First Lexus-badged entry into compact SUV range here in October

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Lexus logo1 Sep 2014

By BARRY PARK

LEXUS has armed its first entry into the city-sized luxury SUV world with a $55,000 price tag, aiming its new NX range directly at BMW’s X1 and X3 pair, and Mercedes-Benz’s new GLA-Class.

The luxury arm of Toyota announced today the NX300h, featuring a 2.5-litre four-cylinder petrol engine paired with an electric drivetrain to help cut fuel use, would also come with a long list of standard equipment when it launches here in October.

At launch, the vehicle will sell with a fairly rich level of kit. This includes a reversing camera with front and rear sensors, satellite navigation and a 10-speaker digital radio with two USB ports, a powered tailgate, heated front seats with eight-way adjustment, LED low-beam headlights, keyless start, cruise control, an electric parking brake, tyre pressure sensors and 18-inch alloy wheels.

All versions of the NX use a continuously variable transmission (CVT) with six pre-set ratios.

A wireless charging tray for mobile devices will also be available as standard on higher-grade versions of the vehicle.

The $55,000 price-tag, excluding on-road costs, will be for the entry-level, front-wheel-drive Luxury version of the Toyota RAV4-based NX, with all-wheel-drive grip adding $4500 to the price.

By comparison, BMW’s rear-drive 3-Series-based X1 sells from $48,300, its X3 from $60,765, and the very softly SUV-styled Mercedes-Benz GLA-Class from $57,900.

Alternatively, the Volkswagen Tiguan-based Audi Q3 sells from $42,300, compared with its slightly larger, strong-selling Q5 sibling, which starts from $63,600..

The NX300h will also sell as an all-wheel-drive F Sport, priced from $66,000, and as a Sports Luxury priced from $75,000.

Over the entry-level Luxury, the F-Sport adds an adaptive suspension system, a 360-degree view camera system, heated and cooled 10-way adjustable power front seats trimmed in leather and with a memory function for the driver’s chair, unique 18-inch alloys, exterior and interior styling, and front and rear performance dampers.

The Sports Luxury adds power 60:40 rear-folding seat that Lexus claims is a segment first, a collision warning system, active cruise control that automatically keeps the SUV a set distance from the car in front, a lane departure warning that sounds an alarm if you stray out of your lane, colour widescreen head-up display, an automatic high-beam function that automatically dips the headlights, a smart card key, sunroof and the more premium audio system.

In Lexus tradition, little is reserved for the options list. Buyers can add a sunroof to the base NX for $2500, while for $4000, F-Sport buyers can add the sunroof and a more premium 14-speaker Mark Levinson audio system that replaces the 10-speaker system.

Alternatively, NX F-Sport buyers can spend $7500 on a package that adds active cruise control, lane departure warning, a head-up display, automatically dipping high-beam headlights, and smart key.

The NX300h is one of two models that will form the Lexus line-up. Early next year, the luxury brand’s first-ever turbocharged engine, a 175kW/350Nm 2.0-litre four-cylinder unit, will power the NX200t and give buyers the option of sending drive to the front or all four wheels.

The newest Lexus engine uses a larger turbocharger and reconfigured exhaust manifold to produce a much flatter torque curve low in the rev range.

Lexus sales for the first seven months of this year are only slightly ahead of where they were last year, rising 2.5 percent.

Its performance has been buoyed by its radically overhauled IS small sedan range, as sales of the larger RX SUV range take a back seat for the brand.

The small SUV segment, in which the NX will compete, is one of the fastest-growing parts of the new-car market, up 16.9 percent to the end of July compared with the same seven-month period last year.

2014 Lexus NX*
Luxury 2WD$55,000
Luxury AWD$59,500
F Sport AWD$66,000
Sports Luxury AWD$75,000
*Excludes on-road costs.

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