Radical styling in a mass-market car doesn’t usually make sense, which is why it rarely happens.
Think of the Hondas and Toyotas of the world and you’ll conjure up visions of bland four-door sedans and efficiently shaped crossovers. They are fine looking automobiles, of course, but nothing that’ll cause whiplash in a passerby.
Hyundai and Kia started to change things with designs that demanded attention and helped justify increasing prices. Just compare a 2014 Optima with a 2008 Optima and you’ll see my point.
Over the years, Lexus fell into a design category perhaps best labeled as “stodgy,” with designs that imply subtle sophistication instead of head-turning aggression.
That began to change with the LFA supercar, and now some extreme design is trickling all the way down to the compact crossover segment.
Mass market automakers stay conservative in design for a reason: it’s timeless and attractive to the majority of car buyers. When design starts to get edgy, some people are turned off and the possibility of the design aging quickly becomes very real. With the new NX compact crossover from Lexus, I have a feeling the latter will apply.
Look at that thing. It definitely looks modern, with angular creases, sharp edges and an aggressive front fascia. If Lamborghini were to create a small crossover, it would look something like this. From the side, though, its shape looks more like a Ford Escape than a Lexus.
Lexus is not an aggressive brand so I feel like there’s a disconnect happening with this design. When I think of Lexus, I think of smooth luxury. Don’t get me wrong, I believe that compact premium crossovers can have bold, extreme styling, I just think it belongs with the likes of Audi and BMW.
Buyers might prove me wrong in the short term and make the Lexus NX a sales success, but check on it in 5 to 10 years and let’s see how that styling has stood the test of time.
What’s your preference: Classic Lexus design or the new edgy look?