The NX had a full-throttle route from show stand to showroom. It was introduced in concept form at the 2013 Frankfurt motor show as the LF-NX, which then reappeared at Tokyo, and the toned-down production version was unveiled at the Geneva show in March 2014.
The NX’s bigger brother, the RX, has been in production since 1998 and is now gracing the streets in its fourth generation, NX-inspired guise, having been launched for the Japanese market as the Toyota Harrier in 1997. Lexus’s SUV line-up is completed in North America by the larger GX and LX.
Lexus may be slightly slow to this market segment, but the demand for mid-size SUVs is showing little sign of letting up. To capitalise, then, the NX follows traditional lines for the most part. It has an aluminium and steel monocoque shell, with a transversely mounted engine. You’ll find MacPherson struts at the front and double wishbones at the rear.
It’s 4.6m long and 1.85m wide, although Lexus has disguised both dimensions with intelligent chamfering around the car’s corners, making it appear more agile and lithe – smaller – than it truly is.
Nonetheless, for all the neat design touches, what really stands out is the novel nature of the powertrain. It’s Lexus’s Hybrid Drive system – at once fiendishly clever yet brilliantly simple.