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Old 22nd March 2022, 00:39   #16
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Default Re: Lexus NX 350h Review

Great review @Turbanator and hope to see more reviews from you.

Feel Lexus should have brought the 2.4 turbo petrol and the 450h PHEV too. Especially the latter would be an image booster even with an inflated price tag.

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Unlike most Asian cars, light stalk is located on the left while the wiper stalk is placed on the right. As expected of a car in this segment, auto wipers and headlamps are standard:
Can't really get it. Had pointed out elsewhere in the forum too. It is a Japanese car imported from Japan, sold in a RHD market. Then why the heck are the stalks LHD oriented? IIRC, except the LX, rest all Lexuses sold officially in India has LHD stalks. Maybe two reasons.

1. We are getting UK spec cars? Am assuming as a few cars we got as CBU/CKD were UK spec. Especially the Prado.

2. Some survey of theirs might have found that Indians think LHD oriented stalks= European = premium car.

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E-Latch electronic locking system features a switch that needs to be pushed to open the door:
The failsafe manual mechanisms look good, and especially the blind spot thingy is a handy one. But, why? It is not flush fitting or any other crazy design. Just looks like an ordinary pull type handle. Yet, going the unnecessary way and making it button operated .

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Originally Posted by Mr.Ogre View Post
That is a very nice review. I have a few questions and I am sorry if they sound dumb. Is Lexus - Toyota synergy same as Audi - VW - Skoda. If yes, then on what Toyota model is the nx350h based on or it shares the platform with. My guess would be RAV4.
Yes and No.

No.
Audi- VW- Skoda were different companies that came under the VW umbrella and started to make parts sharing a success. Lexus was Toyota's way to sell more premium cars without the mass market badge problems.

Yes.
Just like VAG cars share parts, Toyota and Lexus share platforms and engines. The NX does share platform with the Rav4, but if you are looking for a same to same model, the Toyota version of the NX is the Toyota Harrier/Venza.
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Old 22nd March 2022, 07:08   #17
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Its not a traditional CVT at all and I am not sure what you mean when you say rubber band effect in the earlier NX because it has largely the same hybrid system but with nickel metal hydride battery instead of lithium ion. Its only called a CVT because it has infinite ratios but its not driven by belt and pulley systems that most CVT's are and hence the rubber band effect. The Lexus hybrid system's CVT works via a planetary gearset or what is a power split device which can drive the car on combustion power alone, on battery power or a combination of everything. Its a genius system and we are doing it a huge disservice by calling it a CVT and then comparing with a typical CVT.

Here is an excellent video describing how it works. Bear in mind Toyota and Lexus hybrid system are the same.

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Old 22nd March 2022, 14:19   #18
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Default Re: Lexus NX 350h Review

Thanks Turbanator and Aditya for a great review.

I have a few questions, if you can help out:

1. How is the insulation - is the road / tyre noise evident inside when the music system is off?

2. How is the perceived build quality - in comparison to the Germans? Door closing sound, etc.

3. The biggest question (a subjective one) - in your opinion, is it worth the wait till end of year vs. an X3 which may be available immediately/ 1-2 months?

Thanks in advance.
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Old 22nd March 2022, 14:41   #19
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3. The biggest question (a subjective one) - in your opinion, is it worth the wait till end of year vs. an X3 which may be available immediately/ 1-2 months?

Thanks in advance.
I will make a very broad statement about Lexus vs BMW: eCVT + NA petrol (atkinson cycle) + Hybrid is state of the art of engineering in smooth driving with fuel efficiency in mind. ZF8 + turbo petrol is state of the art engineering for a spirited/sporty drive. I feel spending this big an amount on a car requires having an appreciation for who the drivetrain is meant for.

All other aspects like build quality, NVH, comfort features, etc. will be very much comparable IMHO. Lexus being a CBU is likely to have superior material quality (leather etc.)

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Originally Posted by akhilesh View Post
Its a genius system and we are doing it a huge disservice by calling it a CVT and then comparing with a typical CVT.
It is a brilliant system for sure but it is still a CVT programmed for efficiency. A typical AT gearbox can shift to the best power band instantly with milliseconds response time. eCVT as far as I know, can't do it and more importantly the designers prefer that the car is driven with efficiency in mind.

Last edited by Axe77 : 23rd March 2022 at 03:58. Reason: Minor typo.
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Old 22nd March 2022, 15:09   #20
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Default Re: Lexus NX 350h Review

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Originally Posted by mayjay View Post
1. How is the insulation - is the road / tyre noise evident inside when the music system is off?
It's good, not anything intrusive for sure but, I was mostly listening to the Jazz via Tidal and didn't particularly notice this

Quote:
How is the perceived build quality - in comparison to the Germans? Door closing sound, etc.
It's very good, doors are heavy though no thud. Overall paint finish and materials are all first class. Leather is far better than EU manufacturers, very close to Nappa of BMW.

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The biggest question (a subjective one) - in your opinion, is it worth the wait till end of year vs. an X3 which may be available immediately/ 1-2 months?
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Originally Posted by androdev View Post
I feel spending this big an amount on a car requires having an appreciation for who the drivetrain is meant for.
Absolutely, 20 Years before, maybe I would not have even looked at leather or audio, but just the thrill (from a BMW). However, this may not be just due to age, some people have a different taste in the twenties.

Frankly, I will still like to drive fast but the reality of our road conditions and the risks associated with fast speeds.

The best will be to test drive one for yourself, all the Lexus dealers will be having vehicles for drives already or in near future. If you are flexible on the colours, you may not have to wait that long. If BMW excites you more, do have a look at the X4, that feels more modern to me.

Last edited by Turbanator : 23rd March 2022 at 04:50. Reason: Minor corrections
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Old 23rd March 2022, 00:24   #21
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Default Re: Lexus NX 350h Review

Superb review Turbanator! Glad to see you doing the reviews. Hope to join you on one soon!
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Old 23rd March 2022, 06:03   #22
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Default Re: Lexus NX 350h Review

Thank you Turbanator, Aditya for a terrific and detailed review. And as GTO pointed out, for your first review Turbanator it was right up there with T-BHP's expected high standards!

For me it was an unexpected bonus, thanks to Akhilesh's video. I had no idea that there is a CVT using an electric motor-cum- planetary gear train (deeply complex as it is and without that - cringe inducing! - mechanical rubber-band effect!).

As always, if you want a handle on state-of-the-art automotive tech, there is no place other than T-BHP in the Indian media!

Last edited by shashanka : 23rd March 2022 at 06:26.
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Old 23rd March 2022, 06:35   #23
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Originally Posted by akhilesh View Post
Its not a traditional CVT at all and I am not sure what you mean when you say rubber band effect in the earlier NX because it has largely the same hybrid system but with nickel metal hydride battery instead of lithium ion. Its only called a CVT because it has infinite ratios but its not driven by belt and pulley systems that most CVT's are and hence the rubber band effect. The Lexus hybrid system's CVT works via a planetary gearset or what is a power split device which can drive the car on combustion power alone, on battery power or a combination of everything. Its a genius system and we are doing it a huge disservice by calling it a CVT and then comparing with a typical CVT.

Here is an excellent video describing how it works. Bear in mind Toyota and Lexus hybrid system are the same.

https://www.Youtube.com/watch?v=O61WihMRdjM
Thanks Akhilesh for the great video. The fact that infinitely variable ratios could be accessed so elegantly (& mechanically) and combining this feature with a transaxle drive motor is - for me certainly - technical artistry!
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Old 23rd March 2022, 10:38   #24
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It is a brilliant system for sure but it is still a CVT programmed for efficiency. A typical AT gearbox can shift to the best power band instantly with milliseconds response time. eCVT as far as I know, can't do it and more importantly the designers prefer that the car is driven with efficiency in mind.
Well the CVT can keep the engine running at its most efficient rpm or at a rpm where it makes peak power and therefore, arguably, better than a typical transmission for both getting the best performance and/or efficiency. The Toyota e-CVT is essentially a power split device which manages gear ratios by the way to two electric motors - MG1 and MG2 and is therefore very direct.
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Old 23rd March 2022, 11:24   #25
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Well the CVT can keep the engine running at its most efficient rpm or at a rpm where it makes peak power and therefore, arguably, better than a typical transmission for both getting the best performance and/or efficiency. The Toyota e-CVT is essentially a power split device which manages gear ratios by the way to two electric motors - MG1 and MG2 and is therefore very direct.
While the implementation details are impressive, it is still a CVT - just drive by wire using two motors instead of belt and cones. All the power has to come from the Atkinson cycle NA engine (ignoring the tiny battery that is not designed for performance). How this system responds to a kickdown would be very different to say a BMW - I agree with you it's not a rubber band effect as this is drive by wire - but to the end user it's lazy and very CVT like. Sorry, I do recognise the beauty of engineering in this drivetrain but underneath all the implementation coolness, it is an Atkinson cycle NA engine mated to a CVT.

CVT is a necessity for an Hybrid to work. If CVT was so good at everything and only a matter of programming, why do you not find CVT used in sporty cars? In fact, I would say ZF8 is the do-it-all transmission. It shifts smooth like a CVT if you drive it gently - unless you look at the current gear info, you hardly notice the shifts. And it can be mental if you bury the pedal.

Don't get me wrong. I like the hybrid drivetrain of Toyota and I read about it with great interest. Right tool for the right job is what I would say.

Last edited by androdev : 23rd March 2022 at 11:49.
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Old 23rd March 2022, 17:37   #26
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Originally Posted by androdev View Post
I will make a very broad statement about Lexus vs BMW: eCVT + NA petrol (atkinson cycle) + Hybrid is state of the art of engineering in smooth driving with fuel efficiency in mind. ZF8 + turbo petrol is state of the art engineering for a spirited/sporty drive. I feel spending this big an amount on a car requires having an appreciation for who the drivetrain is meant for.

All other aspects like build quality, NVH, comfort features, etc. will be very much comparable IMHO. Lexus being a CBU is likely to have superior material quality (leather etc.)



It is a brilliant system for sure but it is still a CVT programmed for efficiency. A typical AT gearbox can shift to the best power band instantly with milliseconds response time. eCVT as far as I know, can't do it and more importantly the designers prefer that the car is driven with efficiency in mind.
Correct me if Iím wrong, but my understanding of the planetary gear train is that it works seamlessly & in real time (rather like the Torsen diff. which doesnít need to wait for external inputs like a haldex clutch or accelerometer inputs sensing wheel spin). So what would prevent the planetary e-CVT from switching between MG1 & MG2 as effectively as a normal AT.

As far as the designers preferences regarding driving habits are concerned, wouldn't that need a very different skill set - telepathic perhaps!
And comparing the Atkinson NA with a turbo-petrol seems like that old adage about the alfonso verses the dasehri Ė to each his own!
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Old 24th March 2022, 11:40   #27
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Originally Posted by androdev View Post
While the implementation details are impressive, it is still a CVT - just drive by wire using two motors instead of belt and cones.
That is the actual genius of the system - how it uses two electric motors, MG1 and MG2 and planetary gear sets to manipulate gears. MG1 by the way is the generator and MG2 provides propulsion. MG2 by itself, for example, has got 165bhp of power in an RX450h hybrid.

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Originally Posted by androdev View Post
All the power has to come from the Atkinson cycle NA engine (ignoring the tiny battery that is not designed for performance).
Incorrect. The propulsion can come from just the electric motors, just the ICE or a combination of everything. Its why the total system power is more than the power of the combustion engine but is not a total of power output of the motor power and the engine power.

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Originally Posted by androdev View Post
How this system responds to a kickdown would be very different to say a BMW - I agree with you it's not a rubber band effect as this is drive by wire - but to the end user it's lazy and very CVT like. Sorry, I do recognise the beauty of engineering in this drivetrain but underneath all the implementation coolness, it is an Atkinson cycle NA engine mated to a CVT.
Wrong again. CVT does not have to kick down because there are infinite ratios. Based on how much the accelerator is pressed, it will either prioritise/optimise performance or efficiency via the said planetary gearset.

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Originally Posted by androdev View Post
CVT is a necessity for an Hybrid to work. If CVT was so good at everything and only a matter of programming, why do you not find CVT used in sporty cars? In fact, I would say ZF8 is the do-it-all transmission. It shifts smooth like a CVT if you drive it gently - unless you look at the current gear info, you hardly notice the shifts. And it can be mental if you bury the pedal.
No CVT is not necessary for hybrids to work. Toyota's system is the most advanced and mechanical the most reliable and ingenius. Kia or Hyundai hybrid's for example have the electric motor sandwiched between the ICE engine and the gearbox which is inefficient both for performance and for regen.
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Old 24th March 2022, 12:46   #28
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My post was a reply to @mayjay who asked about NX vs BMW X3. I simply wanted him to understand the difference between CVT drivetrain vs BMW drivetrain. I didn't recommend one over the other. You leave me no option but to offer a reality check about this drivetrain.

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Originally Posted by akhilesh View Post
That is the actual genius of the system - how it uses two electric motors, MG1 and MG2 and planetary gear sets to manipulate gears. MG1 by the way is the generator and MG2 provides propulsion. MG2 by itself, for example, has got 165bhp of power in an RX450h hybrid.
Lexus themselves don't think so highly of cvt. Look at the wikipedia of Lexus LC:

LC 500 has a v8 mated to dual clutch transmission.

LC 500h has a v6 mated to a unique transmission, which consists of a four-speed automatic transmission embedded inside a continuously variable transmission. (Lexus calls it multi-stage transmission)

Quote:
Incorrect. The propulsion can come from just the electric motors, just the ICE or a combination of everything. Its why the total system power is more than the power of the combustion engine but is not a total of power output of the motor power and the engine power.
Thank you for letting us know that hybrid uses both ICE + battery power. Have you driven any of these cars? I have been driving a Camry Hybrid regularly. For all practical purposes and real world driving, the battery is too small and the charge available is too little and the programming is too conservative that it is utterly useless for spirited driving. If you are thrilled by this drivetrain on an open road, it only means you haven't driven other cars.

Quote:
Wrong again. CVT does not have to kick down because there are infinite ratios. Based on how much the accelerator is pressed, it will either prioritise/optimise performance or efficiency via the said planetary gearset.
eCVT is a very dull transmission with typical CVT rubber-band effect. Rubber band effect doesn't literally mean there is a rubber band inside the CVT box. It is a metaphor to say that under hard acceleration, the engine RPM and vehicle speed seem disconnected.

You can hear it directly from LC chief engineer Koji Sato himself:

Quote:
Multi Stage claims to improve the relationship between car and hybrid. Multi Stage is still a continuously variable transmission, and there is potential for a dramatic disconnect between engine rpm and throttle inputs, the so-called "rubber-band" effect that is a relationship killer. LC chief engineer Koji Sato says the goal is to eliminate this disconnected feeling. In normal driving modes he admits the trans will perform much like a conventional CVT because it is more efficient to keep the engine in optimal operating conditions (load and rpm). In the new "M" mode, Multi Stage will mimic a 10-speed automatic, creating discrete ratios through a combination of HSD and planetary reductions. If you're so inclined, you can shift with paddles located behind the steering wheel.
source: https://www.caranddriver.com/news/a1...-stage-hybrid/


Quote:
No CVT is not necessary for hybrids to work. Toyota's system is the most advanced and mechanical the most reliable and ingenius.
Most advanced CVT? Yes. Most advanced transmission? 100% No.

Quote:
Kia or Hyundai hybrid's for example have the electric motor sandwiched between the ICE engine and the gearbox which is inefficient both for performance and for regen.
There are engineering and marketing decisions behind these choices. Toyota eCVT is nearly two decade old and it is not that Hyundai doesn't have the capability to build such a system. A single motor system is cheaper and compact and can be used in smaller cars. Hyundai and Kia don't see themselves in the mould of Toyota - they want to be sporty and exciting and willing to sacrifice efficiency. Only Nissan, Honda and Toyota love CVTs - you can guess why. Companies like Porsche and Ferrari also have roadmap for Hybrids (you can check out Porsche 918 Hyrbid) and you can bet they won't use CVT.

Last edited by androdev : 24th March 2022 at 12:51.
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Old 24th March 2022, 13:48   #29
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Originally Posted by androdev View Post
Lexus themselves don't think so highly of cvt. Look at the wikipedia of Lexus LC:

LC 500 has a v8 mated to dual clutch transmission.

LC 500h has a v6 mated to a unique transmission, which consists of a four-speed automatic transmission embedded inside a continuously variable transmission. (Lexus calls it multi-stage transmission)
I would not call it as "not thinking highly of". Their e-CVT would not even work with just an ICE engine.


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Originally Posted by androdev View Post
Thank you for letting us know that hybrid uses both ICE + battery power. Have you driven any of these cars? I have been driving a Camry Hybrid regularly. For all practical purposes and real world driving, the battery is too small and the charge available is too little and the programming is too conservative that it is utterly useless for spirited driving.
My friend has a RX450h and I have driven it extensively. Point to ponder - RX450h with hybrid is actually faster than V6 powered RX350 with an 8 speed automatic. I never said I am thrilled by this transmission - the original point I made was that its not "just a CVT" and calling it as such without actually knowing how it works and attributing rubber band effect when there isn't any is disingenuous.

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Originally Posted by androdev View Post
eCVT is a very dull transmission with typical CVT rubber-band effect. Rubber band effect doesn't literally mean there is a rubber band inside the CVT box. It is a metaphor to say that under hard acceleration, the engine RPM and vehicle speed seem disconnected.
That is true because unlike a regular transmission which varies engine RPM, a CVT varies its infinite gear ratios. Its a fundamentally different take, not usually taken and hence the prejudice.

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Most advanced CVT? Yes. Most advanced transmission? 100% No.
Most advanced Hybrid transmission would be right. The rest is incidental.

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Originally Posted by androdev View Post
You can hear it directly from LC chief engineer Koji Sato himself:

Not sure what your point is but it is still a Lexus Hybrid transmission. Quoting verbtim "Back to the LC500h: The CVT half of Multi Stage is an evolution of the longitudinal hybrid transmission found in those Lexus sedans. The big difference in Multi Stage from the older transmission is the additional four-speed planetary gearbox attached at the CVT’s output. In the current GS and LS, MG2 gets a two-speed reduction, but in the Multi Stage the ICE drives MG1 and/or MG2 directly, but both MG2 and the ICE get the additional reduction of the four-speed auto. This keeps MG1 from hitting its redline, the cutoff for electric-only driving, and allows for EV driving as fast as 87 mph (up from 40 mph in the GS and LS).

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Originally Posted by androdev View Post
There are engineering and marketing decisions behind these choices. Toyota eCVT is nearly two decade old and it is not that Hyundai doesn't have the capability to build such a system.

Not sure the cost issue stands. Toyota uses basically the same fundamental transmission all the way from a Yaris to an LC500h! I can't speak for Hyundai/Kia but sacrificing efficiency and performance in a hybrid that is meant to be efficient does not sound very intelligent to me. In fact looking at how popular Toyota/Lexus hybrid's are I would expect them to do better.

For performance, they have their N division now anyway.

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Originally Posted by androdev View Post
Only Nissan, Honda and Toyota love CVTs - you can guess why. Companies like Porsche and Ferrari also have roadmap for Hybrids (you can check out Porsche 918 Hyrbid) and you can bet they won't use CVT.
And guess what a Nissan hybrid is entirely different to a Honda Hybrid which is entirely different from a Toyota Hybrid even they if all have "infinite ratio transmission".[/quote]

My last post on this topic. Thanks.

Last edited by Turbanator : 25th March 2022 at 16:53. Reason: Fixed quote
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Old 25th March 2022, 16:38   #30
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Default Re: Lexus NX 350h Review

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I have been driving a Camry Hybrid regularly.
Allow me to chip in on this topic. Iíve driven the Camry a bit and the Lexus ES 300h more and I can tell you the new NX has a much much better drivetrain. I took a test drive of the new NX yesterday and was blown away by the instantaneous response. Iím not sure if itís the new Li Ion battery or AWD or new transmission - the car just launches and how. Feels completely different from the Camry / ES. Itís closer to an electric car now.
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