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Test driven: 2023 Lexus NX tech deep-dive

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Chris Teague

2023 Lexus nx overview

Though it still offers more passenger cars than many automakers, the Lexus catalog tilts toward SUVs and crossovers. The latter two categories have grown with the introduction of the Lexus NX in 2015 and the UX in 2019. Lexus completely redesigned the NX for 2022 with a sharp new look, updated powertrains, and better tech.

2023 Lexus nx overview

2023 Lexus NX Overview

The NX slots into Lexus’ lineup between the smaller UX and larger RX. Pricing for the gas-powered 2023 NX starts at $39,755, and the NX Hybrid starts at $43,105. The NX PHEV starts at a whopping $57,705, which surpasses all RX models’ pricing and reaches into GX territory. That extensive range of pricing options covers a large range of configurations, and we recently had the opportunity to test the mid-range NX350 F Sport variant.

Unlike BMW’s M cars or Mercedes-AMG’s performance models, Lexus’ F Sport trims are primarily appearance packages. That said, the NX F Sport gets adaptive suspension that other trims do not, but its powertrain is unchanged from the standard setup. The 2.4-liter four-cylinder makes 275 horsepower and a whole lot of noise, and acceleration is decent at around 6.5 seconds to 60 mph.

One of the most significant upgrades came in the technology department. Lexus overhauled the NX’s infotainment system, giving it new displays, a new interface, and better features. Safety and advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS) got a boost, and the vehicle feels more cohesive overall as a result.

2023 Lexus nx overview

2023 Lexus NX Tech Highlights

e-Latch System

Instead of physical door locks that snap shut when you tap the button, locking in the NX happens silently. The only indication that anything happened is a small light on the switch itself.

The benefits of a system like this go beyond the convenience of silent, smooth door operation. Lexus uses the e-Latch function as part of its safe exit assist feature, which can lock the rear doors to prevent a passenger from stepping out into danger, such as an oncoming car or cyclist. Electronic door latches are also a big help for people with disabilities since they can open the door with less effort than traditional latches offer. Finally, Lexus may choose to offer a remote door open feature that works with its app or key fob controls.

If you’re wondering what happens when the battery dies, don’t worry. It’s still possible to unlock and open the doors, but it takes a few extra steps. Lexus installed a small cover on the end of the driver’s side exterior door handle that can be opened to reveal a physical key slot. A small physical key inside the fob can be inserted to unlock and manually open the car. If the computer detects a crash, all four doors enter manual open mode, allowing emergency crews and first responders to open the vehicle.


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Improved Lexus Infotainment

Many people, myself included, have criticized Lexus and Toyota for their clunky, confusing infotainment systems in recent years, but things are changing. Both companies have new interfaces, and the 2023 Lexus NX tech is a great example of their hard work. It’s available with a 14-inch touchscreen mounted high on the center stack. The new layout is easier to navigate, and the screen itself is clearer, more responsive, and brighter than previous Lexus units. Taps and swipes register much more quickly, and navigation between menus is far less annoying than before.

Wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto come standard with a larger display and connect quickly on startup. Some systems, such as Volkswagen’s newest, exhibit a small amount of lag between screen input and wireless smartphone connection responding, but Lexus seems to have worked around that issue in the NX. Climate and other vehicle controls are integrated into the display, but they’re far less tedious to use than in some vehicles. Annoyingly, the few physical controls Lexus included are easily confused with each other. The climate temperature dial is closer to the driver than the stereo volume knob, leading to several accidental temperature changes when trying to crank up the tunes.

Useful Head-Up Display

Plenty of vehicles have a head-up display (HUD), but few have implemented it as cleverly as Lexus did in the NX. The 10-inch display shows vehicle speed and safety alerts, but it’s also helpful when using the steering wheel-mounted controls. Gently resting a finger on one of the steering wheel triggers a special display in the HUD that shows which button the driver is about to press. It’s a minor feature, but the display helps make the correct button press every time, and it helps reduce distraction when driving.

2023 lexus nx overview

Generous Standard Safety Systems

Though the 2023 NX hasn’t been rated, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) awarded the 2022 model with a Top Safety Pick +. It earned “Good” scores in all crash-test categories, a “Good” headlight score, and “Superior” for both vehicle-to-vehicle and vehicle-to-pedestrian crash prevention systems. Its car seat LATCH anchor system earned a “Good+” score for being exceptionally easy to use when installing child seats.

All models come standard with Lexus Safety System+ 3.0. The 2023 Lexus NX tech and driver assistance package includes the following:

  • Adaptive cruise control with curve speed management – uses the navigation system to detect upcoming curves and adjusts vehicle speed accordingly
  • Automatic emergency braking
  • Automatic high beams
  • Blind spot monitoring with rear cross-traffic alerts
  • Forward collision warnings
  • Lane departure warnings
  • Lane keep assist
  • Left turn oncoming vehicle detection and braking – helps prevent collisions by sensing oncoming traffic. The system can apply brakes if necessary.
  • Oncoming vehicle detection
  • Risk avoidance emergency steering assist – works with lane keep system to prevent collisions.
  • Road sign recognition
  • Turning-capable pedestrian detection – Delivers warnings and can automatically brake if a pedestrian or cyclist is in the vehicle’s path when turning.

2023 Lexus nx overview

Frequently Asked Questions

Does the 2022 Lexus NX have a touch screen?

The NX comes standard with a 9.8-inch touchscreen, and Lexus offers a 14-inch display. Both units provide Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, voice controls, Bluetooth, and more.

Who makes the Lexus Premium Sound System?

Lexus relies on Mark Levinson for its high-end audio systems, as it has done for years. The two companies have worked together since 2000, when the LS 430 landed in the UK with a custom stereo system.

Which Lexus models have the new infotainment system?

The NX is Lexus’ first model to get the new interface, but it’s coming to other models. The new LX600 gets a version that runs on dual touchscreens.

Which Lexus models have the electronic door latch system?

The NX is also the first Lexus with an electronic door lock system, but it should only be a matter of time before it comes to other models.

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