Toyota and its luxury brand Lexus are starting to roll out new infotainment systems with large touchscreens, wireless CarPlay, Android Auto, and more, and I recently had a chance to get my hands on one of the first to get the new system, the 2022 Lexus NX.
My test car was the NX 450h+ AWD plug-in hybrid, which costs nearly $60,000 and has a roomy 14-inch main infotainment display.The lower trim of the NX comes with a standard 9.8-inch display that can be upgraded to a 14-inch display.
The infotainment system is similar on Toyota and Lexus vehicles, and on the luxury brand it’s called the Lexus Interface.The system provides a modern, clean look that is heavy on a light grey background during the day and a dark grey background at night.
Unlike many other modern infotainment systems, Toyota and Lexus choose not to offer a home screen or dashboard view, meaning you can only view information from one main app at a time (except for persistent climate control).A small bar on the left side of the screen lets you switch between CarPlay (if connected), navigation, audio, phone, vehicle controls and settings.
Like many other infotainment systems, the system also supports voice control, which can be triggered with the push of a button or a simple “Hey Lexus” voice command.It supports a wide range of functions, from navigation and phone calls to audio, climate and vehicle settings, and worked well in my tests.
The Lexus Navigation System is cloud-based, which means it can be updated dynamically, but it requires a Drive Connect subscription package that also includes cloud-based smart assistant functionality for extending voice control through natural language processing.It also includes Destination Assist, which provides 24/7 access to live agents who can help find addresses, businesses or POIs and send them directly to your navigation system.
A Drive Connect subscription costs $16 a month, but vehicles with the larger 14-inch display come with three years of access.There is no trial period for vehicles with smaller 9.8-inch screens.
Lexus also offers several other subscriptions, including the $8 per month Safety Connect package, which includes features like automatic collision notification, collision assist, and stolen vehicle location, and the $8 per month Remote Connect package, which includes digital keys, Remote start/stop and manage locking/unlocking, etc. via the Lexus smartphone app.Both packages include a three-year trial period on all trims before you need to start paying.
Speaking of digital keys, Lexus will also introduce Shared Digital Keys in early 2022, which will allow you to share vehicle access with up to seven people using the Lexus smartphone app, making it easy for your friends or family to use your vehicle when necessary , without having to give them physical keys.
As expected, wireless “CarPlay” is simple to set up, simply connecting your phone and car via Bluetooth, and automatically configures itself with just a few prompts.Since then, everything has been seamless, with “CarPlay” quickly showing up every time the vehicle is started.
With the new infotainment system, Toyota is one of the few automakers to support direct streaming of Apple Music and Amazon Music.This feature is available for Wi-Fi Connect service provided through AT&T subscription.
In addition to the large main infotainment screen, the Lexus NX also includes a fully digital cockpit that offers a variety of customizations, with a variety of styles and display options to choose from.
While CarPlay’s wireless connectivity is convenient and simple, the 2022 NX also offers four USB ports for wired connections, with one USB-A and one USB-C port on the front.For some reason, only the USB-A port supports data, the USB-C port is used for charging purposes.
The wireless charger isn’t standard equipment on any trim, and it’s part of a rather expensive $450 package that also adds digital key and SmartAccess card key support.Unfortunately, the feature requires extra packaging, although it still only makes up a fraction of the car’s overall price.
The new Lexus interface is a huge leap from the previous Lexus Enform system, which used a bulky touchpad on the center console.With a revamped modern design, large screen options, wireless “CarPlay” and “Apple Music” integration, this is a welcome improvement for Apple fans.
Overall, the native system is responsive, and “CarPlay” looks great on the big 14-inch screen.Climate control is a thoughtful combination of hardware and software, and their implementation makes the whole system look clean and easy to use.
It’s also a solid design that works perfectly with wireless “CarPlay,” assuming the wireless charging issues I’m having can be resolved, though I do wish the charger was included as standard equipment.
Heavy CarPlay users will rely heavily on their iPhone for features like navigation, so this may not be a problem for those users, but the subscription requirement for features like built-in navigation is unfortunate.Toyota’s management of cloud-based navigation will certainly incur ongoing costs, but it’s really a bit of a fuss for customers who already spend a lot of money on their vehicles.
The 2022 Lexus NX starts at around $38,000 and goes up to $60,000 fully equipped.
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Post time: Jul-28-2022