Lexus has just unveiled an all-new NX for 2022. It gets new powertrains including the first plug-in hybrid (PHEV) for the brand, is the first model to get the third-generation Lexus Safety System, and boasts an all-new trackpad-free infotainment system along with an available 14.0-inch screen.

The new model is still unmistakably Lexus and clearly NX, but has lost much of the underbite that the old model displayed. A more upright spindle grille with a refreshed grille pattern makes for a much more pleasing look. Lexus spells out the brand name on the rear in lieu of the traditional circle L badge. The large, wide swath of letters adds some serious attitude to the tail.

New Infotainment Finally Ditches the Trackpad

Inside, the NX is very much in line with the other Lexus crossovers but the "remote touch" trackpad interface is gone. Taking over is a new 9.8-inch touchscreen infotainment system that Lexus says will make comfort features more easily accessible. It's an all-new interface that looks like it is multiple generations ahead of the previous system. Wireless Android Auto and Apple CarPlay are part of the new software suite, with an optional wireless charger that can be be stowed when not in use.

A 14.0-inch screen is the upgrade option, and while dial controls remain for commonly used features on the smaller screen, Lexus takes advantage of the larger one to make them digital. There are still some dials, though, and they're integrated into the face of the screen for a cleaner look. In the dashboard is a 7.0-inch information display and sitting above it is a new optional head-up display.

Lexus has added a new virtual assistant, and the automaker expects that to be the primary way you interact with the vehicle. Dual microphones, enhanced noise cancellation, and seat detection capabilities are all intended to add to the experience. It's also cloud-based, using Google's point-of-interest data and over-the-air updates to make the experience seamless for the user. With a new digital key, user profiles can be tied to each driver's smartphone with a Guest profile offered for occasional drivers.

Lexus Safety System+3.0 is all new and comes standard on the new NX. It has added features including Risk Avoidance Emergency Steer Assist, a new collision avoidance system that works by adding gentle braking and steering to avoid an in-lane crash. It has right- and left-turn oncoming pedestrian detection and braking, left-turn oncoming detection and braking, and the adaptive cruise control can now better maintain speed with the flow of traffic in corners.

Cabin improvements include more noise-reduction measures to cut out exterior distractions and a new optional Thematic Ambient Illumination that gives one of 14 nature-evoking themes to the interior. A new platform underneath means more head- and legroom for passengers as well as more storage space, while the front seats are a new design and come heated as standard. A panoramic moonroof is also available for the first time.

2022 Lexus NX Hybrid, Plug-in Hybrid, and Gas-Only Variants

A new PHEV model, the NX 450h+, joins the NX line with a 58-km electric range. The first PHEV for Lexus here gets a lithium-ion battery and has a 2.5L inline-four-cylinder engine for when gas power is needed. Lexus says it can be charged up in just 2.5 hours with the 240V onboard charging system. No performance figures have been announced aside from a 0–100 km/h time of 6.2 seconds.

Lexus expects the volume model to be the NX 350h hybrid. With 239 hp from a 2.5L engine and electric motor combo, it bests the 0–100 km/h time of the outgoing NX 300h by 1.7 seconds. It also posts an estimated 6.5 L/100 km, a full litre better than before. A base model NX 250 gets just a 203 hp 2.5L four and eight-speed automatic for those looking for less power and likely lower cost.

Buyers wanting the most power can opt for the NX 350 (non-hybrid) that gets a 2.4L turbo with 275 hp and 317 lb-ft. Paired with an eight-speed automatic, it's quicker and offers 40 hp more than the previous NX 300.

All NX models get all-wheel drive.

Lexus will continue the F Sport brand on this model with 20-inch gloss black wheels and body-colour fender flares. It will also offer the F Sport in special colours including Cadmium Orange and Ultra Sonic Blue Mica 2.0.

The 2022 Lexus NX will join the RX in production at Toyota's Cambridge, Ont., factory. The model will go on sale in the fourth quarter of this year with pricing closer to the on-sale date.