Auto123.com reports the next-generation Lexus NX will likely get a PHEV version.
When automakers register names for vehicles with intellectual property offices, it’s wise to take at least some of those instances with a grain of salt. The most recent case that has come to light is likely be worth taking seriously.
The trademark request was actually made in Europe, as Toyota’s luxury brand Lexus registered two names: the NX 350h and NX 450h+. In the first case, the name pretty clearly refers to the existing hybrid version of the model previously known as the 300h. In the second case, the use of the ‘plus’ sign points to a version that will give us more in terms of hybridity, more precisely an electric range.
Other elements make it easy to draw certain conclusions. The NX will be entirely new for 2021 and since there's currently only one plug-in hybrid SUV in the Toyota family, it's only natural to conclude that we'll be getting a derivative of the Toyota RAV4 Prime, which is eagerly awaited by next fall.
For Lexus, it will be the first plug-in hybrid vehicle in its history.
The configuration for the PHEV would take the form of a 2.5L 4-cylinder engine as well as two electric units, front and rear, to ensure four-wheel drive. If this does come to pass, we can expect a Lexus NX 450h+ to offer a similar electric range as the RAV4 Prime - around 62 km. The same goes for the 302 hp total output and a 0-100 km/h acceleration time of under 6 seconds.
While all of this still falls under the umbrella of speculation, it matches up with comments previously made by Lexus executives. They've already confirmed, for instance, that their first plug-in hybrid vehicle will be launched in the "early 2020s".
The names NX 250 and NX 350 are also reportedly registered in the U.S., which suggests that the NX 250 and NX 350 will be more powerful than the outgoing model offered here, the NX 300. Note that the 2020 version is available in two configurations: NX 300 and NX 300h.
For the rest, we can expect a new NX that's more spacious and also features the latest advances in safety and technology. It remains to be seen whether this plug-in hybrid variant will make the leap to our market. Most likely that it will, but we've seen stranger decisions made in the automotive world.