The new NX is a sales leader for Lexus and has become the brand’s most popular new SUV. But at the Toyota dealer across the street, they’re also selling tons of RAV4s. The two are related and use the same platform, but they are two incredibly different SUVs. Of course, the Lexus version brings a lot more luxury, but what makes it worth $12,000 more than its Toyota RAV4 sibling? Is the Lexus NX worth it?
The NX is all-new for 2022
Lexus released the NX as a 2022 model and it’s an all-new SUV for Lexus. It’s Lexus’s first PHUV, it’s the first with the new Lexus Interface multimedia system, and the first with the new Lexus badging on the back. It’s the second generation of the NX and comes with all-wheel drive, several new tech features, wins safety awards, and the new sheet metal gives a much-needed upgrade outside, too.
The RAV4 was all-new in 2019 and hasn’t changed much since. There’s not much reason to, though: it’s the world’s best-selling SUV right now. We are expecting a new RAV4 soon, however, possibly in 2024. But, the 2023 is about the same as the 2022. Despite its age, the RAV 4 is also a sales leader because of its utility and good looks.
The NX also comes in gas, hybrid and PHEV versions
The plug-in hybrid version, the NX 450h+ has an EPA-estimated 36-mile range of EV power. But, when you add the power of the 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine, it pouts down near RAV4 Prime levels of performance and can hit 60 in 6.0 seconds according to Lexus. You can still order a gas-powered NX and it comes in two versions, the new 2.4-liter turbocharged engine on the NX350 provides 275 horsepower, and the NX 250 gets better mileage, but 203 horsepower and is the cheapest NX at about $39,000. The NX 250 can be ordered in front- or all-wheel drive.
The Hybird NX uses Toyota’s clever hybrid all-wheel-drive system just like the RAV4 Prime that simply sticks an electric motor in the back and uses it to power the rear wheels. The system in both SUVs cuts down on the added complexity of adding a transfer case and an extra driveshaft to the rear, but still provides more power.
RAV4 can be ordered in gas, hybrid and rocket-ship Prime versions
You can order the RAV4 in LE, XLE, XLE Premium, XSE, Limited, and TRD Off-Road versions, as well as the PHEV Prime. The RAV4 starts at about $27,000 in LE front-wheel-drive trim. In Toyota speak, the Prime is the top trim and it brings the heat. The Prime can travel 42 miles on a charge, which means it has the longest EV range of any plug-in hybrid SUV. And, that’s with all-wheel drive.
The Prime though does have one advantage over the NX PHEV: It’s a lot more powerful. The Prime packs 302 horsepower, combined, and Toyota says it’ll hit 60 miles per hour in 5.7 seconds. That sports car quick. But, it does come at a price penalty and the Prime starts at about $40,000 if you can find one.
If you like tech, the Lexus NX is worth it. The NX can be ordered with a positively huge 14-inch touchscreen, which is nicely integrated into the dash, that allows drivers to personalize their settings. Once you set a profile, the system uses a smart key or your phone to recognize you. You activate the system with your voice and you control most of the NX’s non-driving functions by simply speaking.
The Prime may be quick, but there’s no F SPORT version
The NX 350, NX 450h+ can be ordered with the F SPORT package, which adds performance and handling upgrades. It does that through a new active suspension system that can adjust to your driving style. While the F Sport packages don’t add more power, they do add more-supportive seats, a different steering wheel and pedals, and larger wheels.
We can say, however, that the Prime version of the RAV4 is the F Sport version, considering its blistering 0-60 mph times.
The 2022 Lexus NX just looks cooler
The new design of the Lexus NX shows off what Lexus can do with packaging. To create the NX’s bold, wide, styling and give it a lower center of gravity Lexus engineers moved the batteries of the PHEV and Hybrid versions around the cabin. That let Lexus create styling that is more form over function that the RAV4’s. It’s a bit more coupe-like than the RAV4, so you can think of it like BMW does its X6 over the X5, they’re similar but the X6 is sportier. There was one recall, however, on the NX.
The RAV 4 is larger, however. It can hold 69.7 cubic feet of stuff with the seats folded. That good-looking sloping rear roof line cuts into the cargo area and the Lexus NX can only hold up to 46.9 cubic feet of stuff with the rear seats folded.