Interior Insight: Lexus NX

Technology Trends

Inside story on Lexus NX

Source: Lexus

The Lexus NX has curb appeal in spades. However, what of the interior? The second-generation model introduces new infotainment, connectivity and convenience technologies. Continuing our series of reviews, we explore some interior technologies and materials of this midsize luxury sport utility vehicle (SUV).


As part of the NX’s welcome sequence, the instrument panel, door handles, puddle lights and daytime running lights illuminate as the door is opened. On closing the door, the NX side silhouette appears in the center dash display and when the brake pedal is pressed, the power button pulsates. Switching the vehicle on initiates a start-up animation with graphics and sound.


The NX is the first Lexus model to be fitted with an electronic door release (e-latch) system. It replaces the internal door handle with a push-button switch positioned next to the armrest in the door panel; on the outside, a small button is located on the inside of the fixed handle. This allows the door to be opened with a near-silent motion. The e-latch incorporates a safety function, safe-exit assist, to prevent doors from being opened into the path of vehicles approaching from the rear.

Take a seat

Lexus says it paid particular attention to the cross-section shape of the eight-way powered front seats and the position of the side-supporting bolsters, with concave cut-out areas so there is room for unobstructed elbow movement when reaching for controls or using the console box. The “deep hung” seat construction sets the upholstery seams deeper in the structure, helping the occupant maintain a better posture and producing less upward pressure during cornering.

Let’s talk about trim

The NX is offered in three equipment grades for the NX 350h — NX, F Sport and Takumi; the NX grade can also be enhanced with Premium Pack and Premium Plus Pack versions. The same grade structure applies to the NX 450h+ plug-in hybrid, except the NX entry-point version.

Interior and active safety equipment highlights for the NX include Lexus Link Connect with 9.8-inch multimedia and cloud navigation system and Tahara synthetic leather upholstery.

The Premium Pack adds rear privacy glass, smart keyless entry, a wireless phone charger, safe-exit assist, blind-spot monitor and rear cross-traffic alert.

Premium Plus Pack provides Lexus Link Pro 14-inch multimedia with navigation, leather upholstery, heated and ventilated front seats, heated rear seats (450h+ only), a panoramic view monitor and ambient cabin lighting with 64 selectable colors.

The F Sport model builds on the Premium Plus Pack. The cabin features an F Sport steering wheel, aluminum pedals and sports front seats.

A Takumi Pack can be added to the F Sport specification, introducing the 17-speaker Mark Levinson Premium Surround system (NX 350h only), extended safety package and digital rearview mirror. A sunroof can be specified for the NX 450h+ and a panoramic roof for the NX 350h.

The Takumi model has a Mark Levinson 17-speaker Premium Surround audio system, a digital rearview mirror, an automatic parking function, a panoramic roof and additional Lexus Safety Sense+ features, including front cross-traffic alert and lane-change assist.

The entry point to the NX 450h+ lineup is the NX Premium Pack version, which offers additional equipment features compared to the NX 350h version. The specification includes Tahara leather upholstery, eight-way power-adjustable front seats, rear privacy glass, smart keyless entry, a wireless phone charger, LED cornering and front fog lights, blind-spot monitor, rear cross-traffic alert and safe-exit assist. The Premium Plus Pack for the NX 450h+ provides Lexus Link Pro 14-inch multimedia with navigation, leather upholstery, heated and ventilated front seats, heated rear seats, panoramic-view monitor and ambient cabin lighting with 64 selectable colors. Elsewhere, specification highlights are the same, except the NX 450h+ Takumi version, which is equipped with fully automated parking, a sunroof, wood trim inlays and the additional Lexus Safety Sense+ features in the extended safety package.

Material matters 

NX and NX Premium Pack models are available with Black or Dark Rose Tahara, while NX Premium Plus Pack and Takumi versions offer the choice of Black, Black with Rich Cream, Dark Rose or Hazel leather. The NX F Sport models also feature leather, in Black, White or Flare Red, the latter two featuring contrasting black bolsters and inserts in the seatback and cushion. The range of trim inlays includes Micro Dot, with a pattern expressing motion, on the entry NX grade and 3D Black Prism with a 3D carved look on the NX Premium Pack and Premium Plus Pack models. Takumi grade comes with Sumi Black Walnut which has a strong wood-grain finish while the F Sport has an aluminum finish.

An acoustic windscreen and front side windows help keep the cabin quiet. Flush door moldings and a new twin-latch system for securing the bonnet further contribute to reducing intrusive noise in the cabin, while the wheel arch liners reduce the noise from water splash. This is also the first Lexus to feature foam coating at the base of the front and center pillars to reduce noise and vibration.

Wraparound cockpit

The second-generation NX 450h is the first model to feature the carmaker’s Tazuna concept for the cockpit, an approach that was first revealed in the Lexus LF-30 electrified concept car. The primary sources of information — the multi-information display, multimedia screen, gauges, meters and heads-up display — are grouped so they can be read easily.

Also, touch-tracer switches on the steering wheel can be used to change or update the contents of the multi-information display without having to look away from the road ahead. Consideration has also been given to the cross-section shape, and the position and shape of the thumb rests to give a good grip feeling.

The number of switches has been reduced from 78 to 45 and grouped in defined zones according to their function. Physical buttons have been retained for the most frequently used functions. Buttons used when driving are arranged around the steering wheel; the audio and air-conditioning controls have been consolidated in the central display screen; and driving controls that can be used when the vehicle is stationary are located in the center console.

Infotainment and connectivity

The multimedia system, Lexus Link Connect, features a 9.8-inch screen with an anti-glare finish. The CPU has 2.4 times the computing speed of Lexus’ previous multimedia system. In addition to touchscreen operation, there are physical buttons to shortcut the most frequently used functions. Menus and controls are displayed as icons on the driver’s side of the screen. The screen’s layout is divided into sections according to the level of information detail. Lexus Link Pro, available as an option with the Premium Pack and provided as standard on higher grade models or as an option, features a 14-inch screen. Colors and fonts can be changed with five different themes available. Both systems can be customized for up to three different users; the system will automatically recognize when a specific device or key is used.

Smartphone integration is provided as standard from NX Premium Pack grade — wireless for Apple CarPlay and with a wired connection for Android Auto. A wireless charging tray is available, with 50% quicker charging performance; this can be slid forward to access a handy small storage space, even when the unit is being used. There are four USB ports in the cabin, two on the front and two on the rear of the center console. Of these, three are 15 W USB-C standard and can be used for device charging; the second port on the front of the console is USB-A. Accessory power sockets are provided on the center console and in the load compartment.

The connected services include locking and unlocking the vehicle, opening the tailgate, operating the steering wheel and seat heaters, and adjusting the climate control to heat or cool the vehicle ahead of setting out on a journey. The car’s hazard lights can also be illuminated, for example, to help spot the car in a busy car park. These are in addition to established Lexus Link services such as driving analytics, hybrid coaching, fuel-level monitoring and a “find my car” function. Additional functions are available for the NX 450h+: monitoring the level of battery charge, scheduling charging and a charging timer.

Navigating through the cloud

The NX provides cloud navigation as standard. Its data communication module (DCM) enables the navigation to be always connected, providing live information on traffic events, accidents and road conditions.

Hey Lexus

The multimedia system has voice recognition that responds to questions and commands given in a more natural style of language — dynamic voice recognition. It can be used at the same time as the audio system and by both the driver and front-seat passenger. It will recognize which seat the command has come from and respond accordingly, for example, by opening the nearest window.

Sounds good

The NX 350h can be specified with a 17-speaker Mark Levinson Premium Surround Sound audio system. The NX is the first Lexus to use the Harman System for the playback of high-resolution sources. The speakers, including a 25-centimeter subwoofer in a chamber beneath the deck board, are arranged to give the effect of a 360° stage setting.

Heads-up display

The heads-up display (HUD) can be used in three modes to show different levels of information: full mode includes the status of the Lexus Safety System+ safety and driver assistance features; standard mode summarizes key information at the lower edge of the display; and minimum mode shows only the speed. It can be adjusted for position, rotation and brightness, with details saved on models with driver-personalized memory settings.

Ambient lighting

In the ambient lighting department, indirect cabin illumination can be adjusted using a “mood selector”. The ambient lighting is in the footwells, door panels and center console. There are 64 different colors to choose from; of these, 14 have been predefined.

Climate control

Both the hybrid-electric NX 350h and plug-in hybrid electric vehicle (PHEV) NX 450h+ use an electric compressor. The system featured in the NX 450h+ uses a heat pump which draws thermal energy from the air outside the car to heat the cabin, so there is less impact on the car’s electric vehicle (EV) driving capability. It also has a humidity sensor, to help prevent the windscreen from misting over, two-layer air control and a system for detecting and suppressing stale air in the cabin. Using the Lexus Link app, owners can activate the car’s heating and ventilation before setting out; for example, cooling the cabin or de-icing the screen in preparation for a journey.

Let’s pack up and go

The powered liftgate is available with a kick sensor for hands-free opening. The opening height of the door can be set to a preferred level, for example, to avoid hitting a low garage ceiling. The load space height is the same as in the previous model but is 40 millimeters longer. Thus, load space is 545 liters with the rear seats in place. This increases to a maximum of 1,436 liters with the 60/40 split rear seats folded down. The deck board divides into three ways to allow for different arrangements of the boot space and is designed so that the storage area below can be reached without having to remove the entire board. The lower area can be used for storing tools and small items; notably on the NX 450h+, there is room for the charging cable, so that no space is lost in the principal load area. The boot is also equipped with a side storage net and a folding tonneau cover that can be stored in a dedicated space on the boot floor.

Seats have been an integral part of a vehicle’s interior from the very beginning. They play a key role in ensuring safety and comfort for drivers and other vehicle occupants. Seats are also becoming more intelligent as automakers look beyond ensuring safety and comfort for occupants; automakers are offering new seats with sensors that can assess occupants’ health and stress levels while they are in the vehicle. To learn more, S&P Global Mobility’s latest report on Intelligent Seats for Tomorrow’s Vehicles explains how seats will play an increasingly important role to ensure the safety, comfort, health and wellness of all occupants (including drivers) in future connected, automated and electric vehicles.

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