Anthony’s Analytics: 2022 Lexus NX350 F Sport

Lexus SUV in the desert

by  Anthony Fongaro  - Photos via Lexus- 05/17/2022

Doing a second act for a vehicle can be difficult. Automakers may make some minor tweaks to the powertrain, design, and technology. Sometimes, the predecessor had many flaws that should be rectified by the company. Take Lexus. Their previous and some current cars had the worst infotainment system I’ve tested in the last three years. It was clunky, difficult to use, and downright ugly. Lexus has heard the masses and made some changes. 

Instead of having this new technology be displayed on their flagship vehicles, Lexus went with its NX lineup. Not exactly known for being sporty, the previous generation NX was necessary for Lexus to make smaller SUVs. Unfortunately, they all suffered from odd interiors and a numb driving experience. The NX wasn’t bad by all means, it just wasn’t anything special. That all changed when the second generation NX came to be. The differences are so massive that comparing the cabins of both shows an extreme evolution.

Although we will talk about that change in the interior, let’s start with the exterior and the literal biggest design element of the NX. Being a Lexus, the NX wears one of the largest grills that looks like it could double as a shield. In F Sport trim, there are some fake front vents but they do break up the design and compliment the lights. Wearing Redline red paint, F Sport black side mirrors, and some F Sport exclusive 20-inch black wheels, the NX is a handsome and bold SUV. My favorite part is the rear, with a new light bar that looks more in line with the rest of the design. Once again, there are some fake vents, but that’s nothing new in this segment anymore.

Lexus NX350 F Sport in Desert

When I first sat in the 2022 NX350 F Sport, it felt like such a massive upgrade compared to the previous generation. Even opening the door is different since it uses a button under the door handle, not the door handle itself. The red and black combination matched well with the red paint with a large multi-function steering wheel and large infotainment system. More on that later. For now, the F Sport seats were comfortable and had both heating and ventilation. I am a fan of a head-up display and the NX gave me all the info I wanted along with cross-traffic warning which flashes arrows in the direction of traffic. That’s nice until it does that every time a car passes by you.

The biggest upgrade is the 14-inch infotainment system which houses a majority of the controls. Thankfully, Lexus has finally stopped including that ridiculous mousepad and made this a touchscreen. It comes with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto along with a 17 speaker Mark Levinson sound system which has some good treble. Surrounding the infotainment system are actual rotary controls for the climate control and haptic-feedback buttons for the fan speed and heat controls. Look at the steering wheel and you’ll see a lack of designations for some of the buttons. When you put any pressure on them, the little bank of buttons shows up in the head-up display. It felt odd at first but you get used to it pretty quickly.

Lexus NX350 backseat

Quick is a good word to call the NX350. This SUV comes with a turbocharged 2.4-liter inline-four producing 275-horsepower and 317 lb-ft. Using an eight-speed automatic and AWD, the NX350 F Sport goes from 0-60 MPH in 6.6 seconds. It isn’t the quickest SUV in its segment, but the engine does pull strong. That is unless you use Eco mode. Eco mode in the drive select mode makes the throttle pedal so dulled it almost felt dangerous. Keep it in the default mode and it has the acceleration you need. There are Sport S and Sport S + modes, the latter disables stability control and shows a different view on the digital display. You can use paddle shifters in manual mode or just let the transmission do its thing. The shifts were quick and unobtrusive. The fuel economy was around 24 MPG.

On the road, the NX felt a little firm due to the F Sport suspension treatment, but it wasn’t uncomfortable. Being a Lexus SUV, the NX felt more at home doing the regular drive to and from work than attacking corners. Instead of those concerns, the NX has a full safety suite including adaptive cruise control, blind-spot monitoring, and a 360-degree camera. That made driving on the highway even more enjoyable while listening to the upgraded sound system. When you exit the NX, there is a little button you press to get out. It’s a cool design that makes the door look different compared to a majority of SUVs.

Lexus NX350 F Sport Fender Badge

The amount of changes that Lexus made when they designed the second-generation NX is vast. Not only is it more handsome than the previous generation but it has a more powerful engine and luxurious interior.  All of these add up to the $55,000 asking price which includes all of the features stated above. This is a good deal since the competition can ask for well over $60,000. If there was an award for most improved, it would be the 2022 Lexus NX350 F Sport. Anthony’s Analytics: 2022 Lexus NX350 F Sport