It may have been the first Lexus crossover to sport the brand's more aggressive styling cues when it made its debut in 2014, but much of the competition has caught up – and what once was shocking is now taken for granted. It all starts up front with the signature spindle grille containing horizontal bars on the standard model and a more menacing blacked-out cross-hatch design on F-Sports that's enhanced with a larger chin spoiler and re-worked, horizontal fog lights. Bracketing the grille are narrow, triangular-shaped headlight enclosures that rest above thin, L-shaped LED daytime running lights.
Along the sides, a deeply-sculpted, triangular-shaped, lower character line rises from the base of the front wheel wells to the mid-point and leading edge of the rear wheel wells. The door handles are lit with LEDs that also act as puddle lamps, while the front and rear wheel wells are surrounded by prominent arches.
In back, the L-shaped theme from the front fascia carries over to the three-dimensional taillight lenses that ride high on the fenders, while twin chrome exhaust ports are integrated into a blacked-out lower fascia.
That highly-stylized and creased exterior is wrapped around an interior that's far more restrained, although the shape of the raucous spindle grille is cleverly integrated into the three-dimensional upper center console. The doors and upper and lower dash areas feature soft-touch surfaces, while the center console sports soft “kneepads” on either side. Dual-zone automatic climate control is standard, and an available fuel-saving “S-Flow mode” can detect the absence of a front seat passenger and direct airflow only to the driver’s seat.
The front seats are very comfortable, with Lexus taking the extraordinary step of first sewing the seat covers and then injecting them with foam to avoid any air pockets. The materials used throughout feel upscale, with F-Sport models getting a unique interior with more firmly-bolstered sport seats that grip better in tight turns, along with black or red upholstery.
But all is not perfect, as the haptic touch pad remains a fussy distraction while driving, the infotainment system still lacks Apple CarPlay and Android Auto capability, while the overall design promises a sportier character that the NX is capable of delivering.