Safety first for Lexus NX

28 August 2019

LEXUS reckons it has created the closest car yet to the crash-proof vehicle, in the guise of the new NX crossover, with prices of up to £43,000.

It is its first model in the UK to be fitted as standard with radar-controlled systems to help prevent an accident happening.

All versions of the NX 300h, which is Lexus’s first compact crossover, are equipped with a Pre-Crash Safety system and Adaptive Cruise Control as part of a sophisticated system of active, passive and preventive safety features.

The Pre-Crash Safety system incorporates

 a radar sensor in the front grille to detect vehicles and other obstacles on the road ahead. If there is a high risk of a collision, the system will alert the driver with a buzzer and visual warning, activate the Pre-Crash Seatbelt pretensioners, and when the driver begins to brake, provide Pre-Crash Brake Assist to supplement the braking effort. If the driver does not brake and a collision becomes inevitable, the Pre-Crash Brake will automatically apply the brakes to reduce impact speed and lessen the consequences of the impact.

The NX’s Adaptive Cruise Control uses the same front-mounted radar sensor as the Pre-Crash Safety system and steering sensors to recognise a vehicle ahead and maintain a safe distance.  The latest development of Lexus’s technology works at all speeds, even down to standstill. Once on the move again, the system will automatically accelerate back to the pre-selected speed.

The active safety package includes Lane Keep Assist, Blind Spot Monitor and Rear Cross Traffic Alert.

Lane Keep Assist with steering control sounds a warning buzzer if it judges that the vehicle is about cross lane markings without using the turn indicators. Appropriate steering assistance is initiated to help avoid moving out of lane.

The Blind Spot Monitor and Rear Cross Traffic Alert use radars on each side of the vehicle that detect vehicles moving in the driver’s blind spot, or approaching from either side when the car is being reversed out of a parking space. Both systems warn the driver of nearby vehicles by triggering lights in the door mirror on the appropriate side of the car.

The NX is equipped with daytime running lights, a rear-view camera and front and rear fog lamps, as well as numerous electronic safety and handling systems. These include an emergency brake signal, traction control, anti-lock brakes with brake assist and electronic brakeforce distribution and hill-start assist.

The automatic high beam function uses a windscreen-mounted camera to detect both on-coming traffic and vehicles ahead. It automatically switches the headlamps to high beam when the road ahead is clear, and to low beam to prevent other road uses being dazzled.

All models are fitted with whiplash injury-lessening front seats and all versions of the NX 300h come with eight airbags, including a dual-stage driver’s airbag, dual-stage and dual-chamber front passenger airbag, driver’s knee airbag, front passenger cushion airbag, front side airbags and full-length curtain airbags.

Pedestrian protection is also impressive.

The NX arrived in the UK initially in the form of the full hybrid NX 300h, and now there is also the NX 200t, which is the first model to use Lexus’s new 2.0-litre petrol turbo engine.

Lexus says that the NX opens up new opportunities for the brand in an expanding and popular part of the premium car market, originally created by the Sunderland-built Nissan Qashqai.

Five equipment grades are on offer, with several “firsts” for a Lexus, including a wireless charging tray for mobile phones and other devices and the first application of a new remote touch interface with a touchpad control.

Other innovative features include a new panoramic view monitor, a comprehensive multi-information display incorporating for the first time a G-sensor and boost meter on NX 200t, head-up display, blind spot monitor and rear cross traffic alert.

The NX 300h S, which is the entry point to the range, is available with front-wheel drive only, whilst all other versions get all-wheel drive, equipped with a second electric motor on the rear axle.