Monday, September 26, 2016

Lexus NX = Toyota RAV4 Huge Facelift

Toyota's Lexus Brand has done well for many years with its RX series crossover SUV.  But management felt there was room in the brand's lineup for a smaller, less-expensive crossover.  Voila!! the 2015 Lexis NX crossover (more information here).

In order to create this new model economically, Lexus went to Toyota's RAV4 to form the basis for the NX body.  The result is a SUV with the same wheelbase as the RAV, but slightly longer, wider and higher.  Also, as many of Lexus' new styling theme details as possible were crammed onto the RAV's basic structure.


Two NXs are shown here sporting the spiky, angular look Lexus deems necessary for brand identification.  I find it an overly-contrived visual mess of superficial detailing.

This is a 2013 Toyota RAV4 posed almost the same as the NX in the previous image.  The windshield and cut lines for the hood, front strike panel and front door are the same or very nearly so for both cars.

Here we see various creases and cut-lines converging on the tail light assembly.  This is a sensible way to tie design elements together, but I think there are too many of those elements.  The side treatment of the tail light assembly is well into cliché territory, looking very similar to that of the current Nissan Maxima, for instance.  Sculpting on the trunk panel repeats the double-L (for Lexus) theme of the grille, an especially awkward bit of styling.

The additional length and height of the NX, as compared to the RAV, can be seen in these rear views.  The RAV has less overhang and its roofline is more curved.  The NX has a higher belt line, resulting in smaller side windows.  Rear doors and the gas filler doors are in the same positions in both cars, though cut lines differ.

This NX side view features the sheet metal folds and planes that catch and emphasize light originating above the car.  Because there are so many of these light-catching details, the overall impression is busyness.

The RAV4 looks dull by comparison, and could have used a higher belt line anchor at the front and perhaps a horizontal character line about two-thirds up the doors.  Otherwise, it's a superior design to the frantic NX.

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