World Debut: Lexus NX PHEV Offroad Concept & Hydrogen-Powered Side-by-Side Are At Tokyo Auto Salon

Toyota and its luxury arm are hitting the Tokyo Auto Salon with quite a few interesting concepts

Images: Lexus

I don’t know how this could happen, but the Lexus NX PHEV Offroad Concept certainly looks like a lot of fun.

Sure, the Lexus NX PHEV Offroad Concept looks unlikely to reach production. It was never meant for serious off-road use, as it is a cousin to the Toyota RAV4. Still, we can attest that the XA50 platform is pretty rugged, and there is potential for some mild off-road capability.

The NX PHEV is very powerful, and we see serious potential in having an electric motor power the rear wheels. For one thing, you get instant torque. On top of that, you reduce mechanical weight while eliminating the need for a driveshaft. If engineers opted to be a bit wild, they could simulate a locker of sorts, forcing the rear wheels to engage at all times, when called upon.

Unfortunately, Toyota/Lexus doesn’t do that – at least not yet.

This concept appears to be a stock vehicle, with a lift, tires, and wheels. That means it has the 2.5-liter four-cylinder that makes 181 horsepower @ 6,000 rpm on its own. Add to that the permanent-magnet electric motors and you get a robust 302 hp – combined. Sticking with the regular body and grill, the Lexus NX PHEV Offroad Concept looks like it’s around two inches higher than the stock model. That would make it between nine and 10-inches off the ground… give or take an inch.

Those meaty BFGoodrich AT’s are 265/65R17 All-terrain tires on 17 x 7 black wheels.

You can read about the all-new Lexus LX 600 (here).

The “ROV Concept” (next to the NX Concept) is a hydrogen-powered side-by-side

NX PHEV Off-road Concept Overview and specs:

  • Base Vehicle: Lexus NX 450h+ plug-in hybrid
  • Dimensions: Length: 4,660 mm x Width 1,865 mm x Height 1,675 mm
  • Powertrain: 2.5 liter inline-4 Plug-in Hybrid System [AWD]
  • Drivetrain System: E-Four (Electronically controlled all-wheel drive system)

What are the chances that Lexus would build a production version of this off-road concept? I would say they are slim to none. This appears to be a design exercise, specifically built to show off the unusual Iron Oxide color mixed with blacked-out accents. Honestly, if they did build it, and if they did a few unique drivetrain mods, it would be epic.

Moving on from the NX, the automaker also brought a hydrogen side-by-side concept to the show. It packs a 1.0-liter H2-burning engine — not a traditional fuel-cell — offering “near-zero emissions” for your off-road adventures. As goofy as that might seem, you could argue for something like this if you’re concerned about fielding an all-electric side-by-side, especially if you’re well off the beaten track (and away from an available plug).

The Tokyo Auto Salon runs from 14-16 January 2022.

Easily amused by anything with four wheels, Nathan Adlen reviews vehicles from the cheapest to the most prestigious. Wrecking yards, dealer lots, garages, racetracks, professional automotive testing and automotive journalism - Nathan has experienced a wide range of the automotive spectrum. Brought up in the California car culture and educated in theater, childhood education, film, journalism and history, Nathan now lives with his family in Denver, CO. His words, good humor and video are enjoyed worldwide.