Launch & drive: Lexus NX 300 just got safer from RM314K

By JAY WONG | 27 June 2019

PETALING JAYA: Lexus Malaysia, a division of UMW Toyota Motor, has launched the latest NX mid-sized sport utility vehicle (SUV) in Malaysia with more safety equipment and a sportier ride.

Bookings for the fully imported NX opened on June 11.

There will be three model variants starting with the Urban variant with an on-the-road price without insurance of RM313,888 followed by the Premium variant at RM333,888 and the F Sport at RM349,888. The SUV is covered by a five-year warranty with unlimited mileage.

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A total of seven exterior colours are available for the new model, which includes Blazing Carnelian, Amber Crystal Shine, Sonic Titanium, Sonic Quartz, Graphite Black Glass Flake, Red Mica Crystal Shine and Sparkling Meteor Metallic.

The NX300 F-Sport is offered exclusively in Heat Blue Contrast Layering or Lava Orange Crystal Shine, but customers are also able to specify other colours except for Amber Crystal Shine.

All three variants will come equipped with the Japanese luxury carmaker's Lexus Safety System+ which features a myriad of active safety features to help drivers avoid or reduce the effects of an accident.

Such features include Pre-Collision System (PCS), Lane Tracing Assist (LTA), Lane Departure Alert (LDA), Pre-collision Brake Assist, Dynamic Radar Cruise Control (DRCC), Active Cornering Assist (ACA), Parking Support Alert and Adaptive High-beam System (AHS).

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Additionally, the NX has been further enhanced with performance dampers, co-developed with Yamaha, to reduce the effects of noise, vibrations and harshness for added comfort.

A six-speed automatic transmission with Torque-Demand manages power delivery of the 2.0-litre (1,998cc) 8AR-FTS turbocharged engine (with 235hp from 4,800 to 5,600rpm and 350Nm of torque 1,650rpm to 4,000rpm) to the all-wheel-drive system.

Members of the media were given the chance to try out a few of the NX's safety systems on a day trip to Port Dickson.

With the NX 300 traversing twisty roads, our first impression was that it is sporty with good stability arising from the front and rear axles working in concert to handle directional changes.

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The powered front seats were plush and comfortable but the same could not be said of the rear bench. The cabin was well insulated from noise, vibrations and harshness.

Rear leg-room was more than adequate considering this 175cm writer was seated behind a lanky lad who was almost 180cm-tall.

The purpose of the drive was to highlight selected features of the NX 300's Lexus Safety System+, which makes this mid-sized SUV from Japan an intelligent highway runner.

It must be noted that the advanced safety system or similar such systems in other cars is only meant to "assist" the driver and cannot replace the driver - at least not yet.

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The interaction of the Dynamic Radar Cruise Control system with the Active Cornering Assist on well-marked roads deserve praise.

The NX 300 was not just able to keep its distance from the vehicle in front until it comes to a complete stop, but also slows itself down enough so that the driver can comfortably turn a corner.

The only drawback is that the driver will need to tap on the accelerator pedal to allow the SUV to get going again and go up to the predetermined speed.

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Drivers must note that while the NX 300 is able to keep its distance from the vehicle in front at highway speeds, it's no excuse not to keep your eyes on the road.

Should the SUV veer from its lane without the driver signalling, the Lane Departure Alert would cause the steering wheel to vibrate and trigger the Lane Tracing Assist system to swing the car back to its lane, assuming no steering corrections are made by the driver.

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After dinner in Port Dickson, it was time to return to Kuala Lumpur. Thanks to the Adaptive High-beam System, dark sections of the highway were well illuminated for a safe drive.

The high-beams would turn on by default so long as the system didn't detect other vehicles travelling ahead of it or approaching from the oncoming lane.

The smart headlights were able to brightly lit up signboards in the distant while part of  the beams dipped so as not to blind oncoming traffic. It was certainly  a welcomed convenience in our book.

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