The 2015 Lexus NX is the first Lexus vehicle designed to fit into the rapidly developing “luxury compact SUV” segment– a space that is also occupied by the Lincoln MKC and the BMW X3, among others.

Even though Lexus created the luxury-utility crossover category with the midsized Lexus RX model in 1998, the challenge for Lexus with the NX is to stand out in what is quickly becoming a crowded market. Lexus is answering that call by focusing on style and unique features.

Below, you’ll find just a few of the things that stood out to us during our recent test drive.

Sleek and sexy
Sleek and sexy

WHAT’S HOT:
The NX comes with Qi (pronounced “chee”), a wireless charging platform located in the front armrest. If you have a Qi enabled cell phone you can just drop your phone on the charging platform and watch your battery light change from red to green. If, however, you’re rocking with an iPhone or a Samsung you’ll have to use a Qi compatible cell phone case– a small price to pay for the convenience of wireless charging.

Of course, you can always opt to use your USB plugs instead. Can’t find your USB cord? Just hit the “hold button” on the NX dashboard, take your foot off the brake and the car will remain completely still until you touch the gas pedal, giving you more than enough time to find the cables you need before the traffic light turns green.

What’s not to like about power fold-down seats? Not only do they make it easy to get your friends and family into the car, they are invaluable when it comes time to pack the car with furniture. The bonus? In the NX, you can trigger the power fold down rear seats from just about anywhere in the car. There are buttons near the drivers seat, the rear seats and just inside the rear hatchback so, no matter where in the car you are, you can always make room for more.

For the 007 in you, the NX also comes with a hidden sunglasses holder/mirror between the two front seats. Pull on the textured loop and a section of the console pops open to reveal a small mirrored cubby just large enough for glasses.

The NX cockpit
The NX cockpit

WHAT’S NOT HOT:
The new Remote Touch interface is a good idea in theory. It’s a computer-like touch pad near the gearshift that lets you operate the car’s major functions like navigation and radio.

It takes a while to get used to it– we had to adjust the responsiveness– but it works well enough. The challenge is that it requires most of your attention. In other words, it’s not easy to operate while keeping your eyes on the road.

If you don’t opt for a NX with a navigation system, this touch pad is replaced by a clunky joystick that is less high-tech but much easier to use.

  • THE LOOK: See Photo Gallery
  • The driver’s side of the NX has been carefully sculpted to resemble the look and feel of an airplane cockpit.
  • On top of the glove-box is a functionless but beautiful ledge that draws the eye with its beveled edge and wood grain surface.
  • As you’d expect, the seats in the F sport, Lexus’ race car package, look amazing but even the base model NX has great color options.
  • Outside, the NX has lots of lines that probably mean it has a low drag coefficient but to us it simply makes the car look good. Very good. Sleek seductive and fast are the words that immediately come to mind. And that’s when the NX is sitting still.

The Lexus NX has a combined fuel economy of 24 mpg combined and will be offered in two versions: the 200t (turbo) and the 300h (hybrid). Pricing has not been announced.

GALLERY:
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