NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- This is 2014. So if a major car company launches a futuristic new vehicle, it's bound to be electric or at least a plug-in hybrid, no? If you're Lexus, the high-end division of Toyota (TM), not a chance.
I spent four hours driving the 2015 Lexus NX, a new SUV that arrives in U.S. showrooms this December. It runs off fuel derived from recycled dinosaurs who died millions of years ago, now refined and readily available to conveniently provide 444 miles of range in just five minutes of refueling time from any gasoline station. Amazing, isn't it?
Normally, environmentalists tend to be thrilled when products use recycled natural materials, but when it comes to oil and gasoline all concepts go out the window. The Lexus NX 300h is very frugal for a heavy SUV at 33-35 miles per gallon in the city and 30-31 mpg on the highway, but it uses gasoline as its only fuel.
The first thing you will notice about the Lexus NX is its very aggressive appearance. Lexus explained its design as having been inspired by the desires of a woman in Los Angeles who wants to pull up to a red light looking as intimidating as possible. It is very Hollywood drama.
Being unaware of the status-seeking Hollywood lady in need to intimidate nearby drivers, I immediately saw another inspiration behind the Lexus NX design: It is one half Jeep Cherokee, and one half Mazda CX-5. You see those inspirations all around the car.
In terms of size, the Lexus NX is a half-notch smaller than the current version of the Lexus RX, which has been its SUV best-seller for 16 years. When it was launched back then, the original RX was actually a couple of inches shorter than this NX. That's what we call size-inflation.