Auto Review – Japanese Flair

A look at the 2015 Acura TLX and Lexus NX 200t, two Japanese luxury vehicles that won’t get lost in the crowd

The Japanese premium auto segment has long lived in its own realm in terms of design. While the European and domestic segments took a turn in one direction, the likes of Acura and Lexus continued on their trajectory of somewhat futuristic design. By focusing on bold angles, creased sheet metal and other design elements looking like something out of a Ridley Scott film, both brands have developed a striking look that is seldom mistaken for anything else on the road. With that in mind, here is a glance at a couple of the most recent offerings from Lexus and Acura.

2015 Lexus NX 200t
There was a time when I was just barely lukewarm to Lexus’ design esthetic, but as time has gone on the brand has become vastly more bold and creative in a way that I really appreciate. When it comes to the new NX compact crossover, Lexus has done an incredible job of drawing on design cues from the new IS and RC F models. The compact crossover sports the brand’s massive hourglass grille as well as those funky checkmark-esque running lights, which reside just below its primary headlamps. The compact unit can come powered by a 235-horsepower 4-cylinder turbocharged engine or a compact hybrid powertrain with 194-hp and a hugely impressive fuel economy rating of only 7.1-L/100 km in the city and 7.7 in highway driving. The premium compact crossover segment has been booming lately with new entrants such as the Porsche Macan, BMW X4 and Audi Q3, and though the NX might not be the quickest of the bunch it is certainly one of the top options for someone looking to make a bold visual statement. Add to that Toyota/Lexus’ long-standing track record for reliability and you’re left with an option that will easily win over a good number of buyers.

2015 Acura TLX
Freshly redesigned for 2015, the all-new TLX is right in line with the brand’s design direction, including its funky-yet-stylish multi-projector Jewel Eye LED headlights. The refined sports sedan features the brand’s latest iteration of all-wheel steering as well as their torque vectoring “Super Handling All-Wheel Drive.” The base model is powered by a 2.4-L 4-cylinder engine capable of 206-hp and 182
lb-ft of torque, which isn’t half bad for an entry-level model. Bump up to the V6 models and not only will you be treated to a jump to 290-hp and 267 lb-ft of torque, but you also get to experience the brand’s new quick-shifting 9-speed gearbox as well. Inside the passenger cabin you’ll find a seven-inch touchscreen display controlling navigation and infotainment, as well as heated front seats, keyless entry and a multi-angle rear-view camera setup all as standard equipment for a reasonable $34,990 MSRP before the addition of taxes and fees.

Steve Kanellakos
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