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You know this car is cool when it is endorsed by music icon, Will.i.am. I can watch the TV commercial for the NX over and over. It’s unique. Different from other car commercials, and echo’s the voice of who the brand is targeting and evolving into - the trend leaders.

SUV’s are the fastest selling category of car being developed and sold. It’s no wonder then that Lexus have introduced a new version. It fits under the gargantuan LX and substantial RX. The NX is Lexus’s answer to a medium sized status symbol.

Visually the NX is like the TV commercial, it’s unique. It’s a hybrid of a well sized family SUV (sport utility vehicle) and a sexy coupe looking SAC (sport activity coupe) - think of a two in one X3 and X4 BMW, only better looking. Every panel of the car’s surface is chiselled, moulded and artfully conceived. It’s a panel beater’s nightmare because nothing is straight. The NX Lexus is designed to stand out from the crowd, doing so in a confidently understated manor. Its spindle grille and distinctive Nike swoosh LED headlights separate it from the chaff.

The cabin interior carries the same sentiment: two-tone leather seats (the most comfortable in the business), Kevlar detailing, smoked metal surrounds and leather wrapped everything with glorious exaggerated stitching. Lexus product are synonymous for being well spec’d unlike their German rivals. Its multi-layered dash is littered with an array of mod cons like keyless entry, touchpad infotainment system inclusive of a club thumping sound system and navigation too. PDC, start/stop technology, an electronic handbrake and seven airbags - inclusive of a knee bag too - all which are standard.

New to Lexus, a turbocharged engine - a welcome arrival. The turbo in the 200t is mated to a 2.0, 4-cylinder unit. The result, an impressive 175kW and a back planting 350N.m of torque. This gives you a 0-100km/h dash in smidge over 7 seconds in the all-wheel drive chassis. Fuel consumption figures are claimed to be a fare 9.5l/100km - a figure I got nowhere near.

On the road the NX is smooth and quiet. It feels broad through the steering wheel and confident in its stance. By comparison to rivals, the BMW X3, Audi Q5 or Range Rover Evoque, it’s less class leading. The Audi is the most refined, the BMW has the most dynamic feel, while the Evoque features the most capabilities on all road surfaces.

The Lexus NX range begins at R539 900. The vehicle on test and my choice within the range, is the R579 900 EX model. The top of the range 300h EX is priced to go at R633 000. These price tags are inclusive of a four year/100 000 km service/maintenance plan.

If you dare to stand out from the usual suspects and happy about saving between R50 000 to R80 000 over its rivals, this is the recession friendly executive SUV to have.

www.lexus.co.za

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