The 2022 Lexus NX and the NX Plug-in Hybrid had both earned Top Safety Pick+ awards from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. Top Safety Pick is good, but the plus means these two SUVs scored “good” ratings in six categories or more to earn the IIHS Top Safety Pick+ status.
These two Lexus SUVs are very similar and brand new for model year 2022. The two share a platform with the popular Toyota RAV4, but have a design language that is similar to other Lexus SUVs, especially the smaller UX.
How well did the NX twins score?
It’s rare to see so many green “good” boxes on an IIHS report. The IIHS says that in order to win the highest rating the SUVs had to earn “good” rankings in six categories. In this case they include:
- Driver-side small overlap, front
- Passenger-side small overlap,front
- Moderate overlap front
- Original side
- Roof strength
- Head restraint
Also, the vehicles must be available with a front crash prevention system that “that earns advanced or superior ratings in both the vehicle-to-vehicle and vehicle-to-pedestrian evaluations.” There’s a lot that goes into a Top Safety Plus+ status.
The SUVs headlights must also be considered “acceptable” or “good.”
The only non-good rating the NX received was for lower leg/foot protection, and that was “acceptable,” the second-highest rating.
The Lexus NX is all-new for 2022
The NX name isn’t new, but this model is. The new NX is based on the RAV4, but there’s not much visible RAV4 in the NX. Instead, it’s been reimaged as a luxury SUV that can take on BMWs X1 and Audi’s Q3.
Lexus is trying to electrify its lineup and the new NX offers several options. You can order the NX as a 2.5-liter hybrid, called the NX350h, and the first plug-in hybrid Lexus, the NX450h+. These are luxury SUVs and they feature a full suite of technology and driver aids. They also feature a new Human Machine Interface that replaces the much-maligned Lexus trackpad in its older cars to control many of the cars functions. They are also all-wheel-drive.
The 2.3-liter turbo four-cylinder on the NX350 has 275 horsepower, while the NX250 has a 2.5-liter four-cylinder with 203 horsepower and can be ordered as a front-wheel drive. The 350h version is a hybrid that pairs a 2.5-liter four-cylinder with two high-torque motors for 239 horsepower and up to 39 mpg. The big news, though, is the 450h+ variant’s plug-in hybrid system. The 450h+ can go 36 miles on electric power and returns an estimated 84 mpg equivalent.
The NX Plug-In Hybrid is still a rare car to see on the road. In March, Lexus said it sold just 605 examples of the all-new SUV, compared to 2,559 of the NX Hybrid, and more than 10,000 of the gasoline-powered NX.
Only two small luxury SUVs compete earn IIHS Top Safety Pick+ status, and they’re both Volvos
The small luxury SUV segment is super-hot right now. Luxury SUV makers are all trying to get in on the action, including Audi with the Q3, BMW with the X1 and Mercedes with the GLA. But when it comes to earning IIHS Top Safety Pick+ awards, only three other smaller luxury SUVs make the cut, and they’re all Volvo XC40 variants.
The Chevrolet Trailblazer, Ford Bronco Sport, Hyundai Tucson, Mazda CX-30 and CX-5, Mitsubishi Outlander and Nissan Rogue all ear Top Safety Pick+ awards. But those are not luxury SUVs like the NX.
Instead, the if you’re looking for a small, five passenger, SUV with a high safety rating you’ll have to seek out a C40 or and XC40. The 2022 C40 comes as a full-EV Recharge model, or as a gas model with a 2.0-liter four cylinder. Both models are very, accept the C40 is the more sporty version of the SUV with a fastback style roof.