2022 Lexus NX 350 AWD Review

The worst part of the old NX becomes the best

Amos Kwon, Editor-In-Chief

Positives: More refined styling that remains very much NX, handsome interior, one of the best infotainment systems in the industry, decently quick off the line, smooth ride.
Negatives: Noisy engine, not especially dynamic to drive, climate control knob and drive mode selector knob are too similar and too close together.
Bottom Line: The NX goes upscale inside and out, despite the so-so driving experience. It now boasts the best infotainment system in the entire lineup.
We quite liked the first-generation NX not because it was particularly good to drive or especially refined, but it was a good all-arounder with attractive looks, a comfortable interior, and a comfortable driving experience. The Achilles' heel was the terrible infotainment system. It was high time for a redesign, and Lexus finally came through for the 2022 model year. But it has to go up against more contenders, including the Infiniti QX50, Audi Q3, Mercedes-Benz GLA, and the BMW X1. The NX shares the gas and hybrid powertrains with the Toyota RAV4 but uses wholly different styling and a brand new infotainment system. We drove the NX 350 in base trim (prototype) for a week to see how much the model has changed. Read on for our detailed review.

Driving Experience



The new NX now benefits from having four powertrain options, unlike the previous generation. The base NX 250 gets a 2.5-liter four, the NX 350 receives a 2.4-liter turbo four, and then there are the two hybrid models.

Ride Quality: Since we're not in the F Sport trimmed NX, we're guessing the ride quality is a bit better because it doesn't have the sport-tuned suspension. It's still slightly on the firm side but not jarring, by any means. It feels properly dampened without feeling isolated and more refined than the outgoing model.

Acceleration: The NX 350's 275 horsepower provides decently brisk acceleration with a mid-six 0-60 time, and the 8-speed automatic is way better than any CVT we've tried.

Braking: The brakes on the NX are pretty good with no hint of mushiness in the pedal travel. Stopping distances provided security and ample bite.

Steering: There's not much to speak of in terms of steering feel, but the rack is accurate and responsive.

Handling: The NX 350 is definitely on the floaty side. Handling isn't especially thrilling, but at least its somewhat predictable.




In-car tech was the last NX's biggest shortcoming and a pox upon just about every Lexus model... until now. The new system (no longer called Enform but Lexus Interface) was a revelation in terms of visual appeal and ease of use. We were looking forward to Lexus updating their infotainment OS, controls, and look. Boy, did they ever.

Infotainment System: Base models have a decently-sized 9.8-inch display, but our tester was optioned out with the gorgeous 14.0-inch version. The screen is a stunner, and the software is remarkably satisfying to use. Everything about the system is better than the old one, substantially better.

Controls: Everything about the Lexus NX's controls have improved, including the steering wheel buttons, infotainment controls (gone is the stupid trackpad), and those stunning and easy to grip temperature controls.




The styling of the new NX is clearly evolutionary, but it's definitely a noticeable improvement over the first-generation NX. We think the base model even closes styling gap between it and the F Sport trim that typically makes the Lexus models significantly more aggressive. The interior also gets seriously upgraded, which is a welcomed change.

Front: The grille gets a fresh mesh pattern that ditches the old horizontal bars for a fresh vertical lattice. The chevron daytime running lights have been moved to the top of the headlight cluster for more of an eyebrow look. The front fascia looks more unified, as a result, and it's more vertical than 2021's front end.

Rear: The taillights now span the full width of the rear, and the Lexus badge has been replaced by actual L-E-X-U-S lettering, which makes it look fancier.

Profile: The overall shape and detailing is still very much NX-like, but the contouring is deeper and the creasing has been smoothed out.

Cabin: Thank goodness Lexus did away with the pointless mimicking of the NX's front end in the center stack. The new cabin is beautiful, and the center stack befits the brand much better. Everything is new, including the steering wheel, gauge cluster, infotainment, and controls. The antiquated analog clock is finally gone, too. Even the gearshift knob comes over from the pricey LC 500. The optional black open-pore wood trim is truly attractive and levels up the cabin nicely.




Although the interior dimensions don't change much from last year, the overall comfort level has improved mostly due to materials and ergonomics. All locations, except for the rear middle position, are good for adults even on longer trips.

Front Seats: Lexus seats are always excellent, and the ones in the NX 350 are no exception. The optional perforated leather seats feel great, cushioning is near-perfect, and bolstering is very good. We also enjoyed the good seating position for solid visibility.

Rear Seats: copy text

NVH (noise/vibration/harshness): The interior is well built, but there is some intruding road noise at higher speeds.

Visibility: The rake and thickness of the D-pillar causes obstruction, but otherwise visibility out the front, rear, and sides is very good.

Climate: The climate system is excellent. Large vents, easy controls, and the responsiveness of the heated/ventilated seats are top-notch.




Although the NX has yet to be tested by the IIHS or the NHTSA, it does come with an impressive set of safety tech. Buyers should also take comfort in the fact that the last NX nailed safety ratings across the board, and we have no misgivings about the new model's ability to do the same.

IIHS Rating: Not tested.

NHTSA Rating: Not tested.

Standard Tech: Every NX model comes with a standard rearview camera with dynamic gridlines, safe exit assist, blind-spot monitoring with rear cross-traffic alert, and the excellent Lexus Safety System+ 3.0 that has dynamic radar cruise control with curve speed management, lane tracing assist, road sign assist, and intelligent high beams. The pre-collision system includes forward collision warning, automatic emergency braking, pedestrian and bicyclist detection, intersection turning assist, and risk avoidance emergency steer assist. Premium models get intuitive parking assist with auto braking, rear cross-traffic braking, and rear pedestrian detection.

Optional Tech: No Monroney sticker provided.




The front row has improved storage compared to the last model, but the cargo room has dropped when all seats are folded flat. While that might be a bit disconcerting for some, the room behind row two is actually up a little bit.

Storage Space: The center console has good cupholders and a retracting door binnacle for small items. The armrest is also decently sized. The door pockets, however, are on the small side.

Cargo Room: There's 22.7 cubes behind row two, larger than last year. But with the second row folded, flat the NX is down to 46.9 cubes from last year's good 54.6 cubic feet.

Fuel Economy



Our mileage was pretty good in combined driving, and we had no trouble attaining the recently published EPA figures for efficiency. We drove it in Sport mode for some of the time, so we were pretty happy with the numbers.

Observed: 24.8 mpg.

Distance Driven: 112 miles.




Our tester came with the awesome Mark Levinson system, which proves to be one of the best premium audio systems around. The sound is rich and powerful.

Final Thoughts

The previous NX was pretty good, but the new one is just that much better. Although we're still not thrilled by the driving dynamics, there's enough power to satisfy most buyers. The styling has improved tremendously, to the point where it looks like a more mature version of the previous NX. But it's the interior styling and infotainment that really elevates this premium crossover, and it's a true game changer for the model and its place in the segment.

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