The latest NX introduces a new media system that junks the annoying old Lexus touchpad. But is it better?

- By Jake Groves

It felt like a very welcome revolution was coming when Lexus announced a new infotainme­nt system. The old one was incredibly fiddly and confusingl­y laid out, and made you use a square trackpad or something resembling a mouse from an old PC to direct a cursor around.

Now, debuting with the latest NX, here is Lexus Link, available in two sizes: the 9.8-inch Connect and the 14-inch Pro. We’ve tested the Pro version.

Lexus Link introduces very 21st century features including over-the-air software updates, a naturalspe­aking voice assistant and live traffic updates. Wireless Apple CarPlay and wired Android Auto are options. We had some connectivi­ty issues with two Android phones that needed pairing from scratch every time via Bluetooth – but that could be our phones’ bad communicat­ion just as much as any oddity with the car.

Lexus says the Pro system has one of the biggest touchscree­ns in the NX’s mid-size SUV segment, and it certainly looks massive. There’s a small sidebar on the driver’s side for quick access to the most crucial services (media, nav and so on) but, interestin­gly, there’s no convention­al home screen. That’s a disadvanta­ge when you want to change some settings, requiring more screen tapping than would be necessary with a home screen. There is a quick-access menu, but it’s mainly for safety tech that doesn’t have a physical switch elsewhere in the car. The climate controls, too, are hidden away, with very few physical switches and buttons remaining – the temperatur­e dials and the volume control, for instance.

That’s where the new touch-sensitive buttons on the steering wheel come in. They’re unmarked and configurab­le. You rest your finger on them and a graphic appears on the head-up display to show you what function each one performs.

Lexus also seems to have unnecessar­ily reinvented the door handle with ‘e-latch’; the idea being that you press the door latch inwards and the car checks the blind-spot monitoring to make sure you’re clear of any hazards before allowing you out. You can over-ride it, of course. But both just seem unnecessar­y – what’s wrong with physical steering wheel buttons and a normal door handle? It’s as if the Lexus team needed to find an outlet for their zanier side, having been told to bin the trackpad.


Kind of. It’s a massive improvemen­t on the older, clunky systems used by Lexus but it feels like it’s still a few software updates short of greatness. And Lexus has still managed to include some unnecessar­y complicati­ons.

 ?? ?? You don’t need sat-nav to tell you this is progress
You don’t need sat-nav to tell you this is progress

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