Revealed at the Shanghai Auto Show, the 2018 Lexus NX has been given a mid-cycle update that adds new visual edge and sharpens its dynamics. The compact front-drive/AWD luxury crossover also gains a number of interior enhancements and sees the NX 200t variant transition to NX 300 status, a change that more closely aligns its nomenclature with the NX 300h hybrid.

The exterior changes are most evident up front, where the fascia has been revamped to gain a bolder but more aerodynamic character. Modifications to the upper part of the spindle grille better integrate it into the fenders and the fog lamps have been repositioned. The 2018 NX also will offer the same link of triple projector beam headlamps found on the Lexus LC Coupe. A similar recasting has taken place out back, where redrawn taillamps have more presence and the restyled bumper houses a new underbody spoiler and larger chrome exhaust outlets. New 18-inch alloy wheels round out the remix, imparting a bit more distinction to the profile of this versatile Lexus.

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Inside cabin revisions endow the NX family with a better combination of sport and luxury. Highlighting the list is the availability of new 10.3-inch center touchscreen display in place of the current 7.0-inch unit. Simplified HVAC controls, a larger remote touch interface pad on the center console, a new analog clock design and repositioned USB ports with boosted amperage for faster charging add more appeal as does a new foot-activated/kick-under power rear hatch. More sound-deadening materials make for a quieter ride under all conditions.  

Driving more confidently

The suspension retuning includes the springs, shocks, stabilizer bars and bushings to refine the ride and sharpen the handling on all NX variants. F Sport models benefit from a more capable Adaptive Variable Suspension based on the system used on the new LC 500. All models now come with the Lexus Safety System+ suite of active safety technologies including the pre-collision system, dynamic radar cruise control, lane departure alert and automatic high beams.

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Name change notwithstanding, the newly minted NX 300 continues on with the 200t-spec 235-horsepower, 2.0-liter turbo 4-cylinder engine and 6-speed automatic transmission. Things also carry over on the AWD-only NX 300h which pairs its naturally aspirated 2.5-liter 4-cylinder with the 2-motor Lexus Hybrid Drive that makes 194 horses. Output is delivered via a dedicated CVT automatic. No information has been released regarding pricing or on-sale date for the 2018 Lexus NX models.

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