Lexus Australia is still finalising pricing and specifications for the new NX but provided some indicative information in Canada to Australian media.
“Our expectation [with NX] is to be very competitive, expect to attract a whole new range of buyers to the brand,” said Lexus Australia boss Sean Hanley. “I think it will sit somewhere in our top two or top three best-selling vehicles. IS will remain our top volume car, then somewhere RX then NX.
“In terms of pricing I’d expect us to be somewhere around the $55-60K mark.”
That would place the Lexus NX below the similarly sized BMW X3, which is priced from $60,900, and the Audi Q5, which costs from $63,600.
Lexus Australia has also ruled out the cheapest NX available, an NX200 with a normally aspirated 2.0-litre petrol engine. The company believes the lower-performance model doesn’t suit our market.
“[The NX] is kind of unique like the RX,” said Hanley. “It sits in the middle, sits in the sweetspot – somewhere between small and compact, so across a number of competitors.
“[The German brands] have a different [SUV] strategy. We’ll do it our way. The entry price is not necessarily key to volume.”
Hanley admitted the new NX could partially cannibalise sales of the larger RX SUV that is also a five-seater.
“I think there will be some leakage of RX sales, particularly RX270 which was brought in to fill a gap [between X5 and X3]. But the NX will bring incremental sales increase for us.”
The Lexus NX heralds the introduction of the company’s new turbocharged four-cylinder petrol engine.
Lexus Australia says the turbo petrol NX200t is likely to start higher than the alternative NX model, the petrol-electric NX300h – following the ES sedan in going against the company’s usual pricing structure and having a hybrid as the base model.
Hanley says this is because it is better able to amortise costs now that hybrid is now a mainstream technology used across a large number of vehicles, and also that the turbo petrol is the choice for performance.
The Lexus NX300h and Lexus NX200t will be available in three trim grades: Luxury, F Sport and Sport Luxury. The entry-level Luxury will come in a choice of front-wheel drive or part-time all-wheel drive.
Both the F Sport and Sport Luxury will be offered only with the part-time all-wheel drive system that is borrowed from the Toyota RAV4 – the car on which the NX is “loosely” based.
Standard features for all NX models are likely to include 18-inch alloy wheels, rear view camera, parking sensors, 10-speaker audio, aluminium roof rails, and LED low beam headlights.
F Sport models are also set to come with adjustable suspension in addition to standard paddleshift levers.