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2022 Lexus NX 250 is a Small SUV that Prizes Value Over Performance

2022 Lexus NX 250 is a Small SUV that Prizes Value Over Performance

  • New variant of the redesigned Lexus NX
  • Less expensive than other NX models, but less powerful, too
  • New touchscreen-based infotainment system
  • 2022 model kicks off the second NX generation

What is the NX 250?

Shopping for a luxury SUV on the low end of the price scale can be tricky. You could select a subcompact SUV to better fit your budget, but these extra-small models often compromise on passenger and cargo space. Going up a size solves that problem but might strain your budget. There might be a solution, however: the 2022 Lexus NX 250. As long as you don't need the speediest SUV on the block, the new NX 250 could save you serious coin.

The 2022 NX is a small SUV akin to the Acura RDX and Mercedes-Benz GLC. This new NX 250 is the entry-level version and joins the more powerful NX 350 and two hybrids, the NX 350h and NX 450h+. While we don't know the official price just yet, the NX 250 should cost thousands less than the NX 350, which is projected to start around $39,000. Look for the NX 250 to arrive at Lexus dealerships in the fall of 2021.

2022 Lexus NX 250

2022 Lexus NX 250

What's under the NX 250's hood?

The NX's model designations refer to what's under the hood. The NX 250 is the entry-level model and comes with a 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine producing 203 horsepower and 184 lb-ft of torque. It also has an eight-speed automatic transmission and front-wheel drive as standard. All-wheel drive is optional.

This isn't a whole lot of power for a luxury SUV, and it's reflected in Lexus' estimate that the NX 250 will accelerate from 0-60 mph in 8.2 seconds. If true (we'll know for sure once we get a model in for our own testing), that would make the NX 250 the slowest vehicle in its class by a wide margin. Of course, you can always pay extra and enjoy the sprightlier acceleration of the NX 350, which is estimated to zip from 0-60 mph in 6.8 seconds.

How's the NX 250's interior?

The first thing you'll notice upon entering the cabin is the wide central display canted toward the driver. A 9.8-inch touchscreen is standard, and can be upgraded to a 14-inch screen with a combination of virtual and physical controls for the climate system. This is a massive departure from other Lexus models, which usually are equipped with a central display mounted far from the driver and controlled by touchpad. We haven't even tried this system firsthand, but desperately hope the new screen percolates throughout the Lexus lineup. We panned the previous NX's display screen/touchpad combo for being overly distracting to use while driving.

Overall, the interior of the new 2022 Lexus NX is more cohesive and less busy than its predecessor. Buttons on the steering wheel are larger than before, which should make them easier to use at a glance. Behind the wheel is a fully digital instrument panel that completes the NX's high-tech look. In terms of space, Lexus says the GA-K platform on which the NX is based (and which underpins the Lexus ES sedan) affords more headroom, legroom and cargo space.

2022 Lexus NX 250

2022 Lexus NX 250

How's the NX 250's tech?

The Lexus NX 250 comes with a ton of cool tech features. All models are equipped with wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto connectivity, so you can access your smartphone's entertainment and map apps without having to plug in. On the options list is a 10-inch head-up display that projects useful information onto the windshield for easy viewing. The available navigation system is now cloud-based, which Lexus says allows for more accurate mapping. The system even recognizes when you're about to enter an area with low 4G coverage, and will download maps in advance so navigation is uninterrupted.

On the safety side, the NX 250 will be equipped with forward collision warning, lane departure warning, adaptive cruise control and road sign recognition. Several enhancements also debut in the NX, such as warning the driver when a pedestrian is in the crosswalk while turning left or right, and sounding an alert and potentially hitting the brakes while turning left when there's oncoming traffic. The blind-spot monitor now searches for traffic or bicyclists approaching from the rear of the vehicle, and will prevent the doors from opening if they are likely to be struck.

Edmunds says

Buyers who are willing to temper their expectations for performance will find that the new 2022 Lexus NX 250 is a solid pick for a value-oriented small luxury SUV.