The North American Lexus NX vs. Other World Markets: Explaining the Front End Difference

Lexus NX North America

Top Gear from the Phillippines has the answer to why the North American Lexus NX front end is different from other parts of the world — here’s Paul Williamsen, the Lexus global manager of technical education and training, with an explanation:

Paul-san (what people at Lexus call him) explained that it had to do with the Corporate Average Fuel Economy regulations in the US–popularly known as CAFE. The CAFE is more or less the average fuel economy of a carmaker’s fleet being sold in the US market. If a manufacturer’s CAFE falls below a certain figure, the carmaker is penalized.

So Lexus will classify the NX as a light truck in the US because this category has a lower fuel economy standard than the car/sedan segment. Thus, the impact on Toyota’s overall CAFE (in CAFE terms, Toyota, Scion and Lexus count as one entity) will be minimized. How does this concern the altered NX nose? Well, there are several parameters for classifying a vehicle as a light truck. One is simply to have a certain approach angle. That’s why the US NX has a slanted nose.

To illustrate the difference, I made this short video showing the world market NX morphing into the US version:

(This also explains why the standard NX in North America does not offer the side-illuminating foglights.)

Read more about the different NX faces at Top Gear