Spotted: Is this the new 2015 Lexus NX mule in the Wild?

2015 lexus nx mule video spy prototype

TFL team catches what we think is the new 2015 Lexus NX mule undergoing high altitude testing in the Rocky Mountains.  Last month, we brought you news of the Lexus LF-NX Concept from the 2013 Frankfurt Auto Show.  And today, we catch this prototype/mule in a gas station parking lot.

If you are thinking that this looks like a 2013 Toyota RAV4 skillfully covered in many layers of black duct tape, you are correct.  However, you have look deeper as there is more than meets the eye.  First, it was parked next to a new BMW X3 and Audi Q5 Hybrid.  Second, when Roman starting recording – a unit of Japanese engineers appeared from nowhere and proceeded to block the camera and hide the mysterious vehicle.  Next, if you had a 2013 RAV4, which has been out on sale for months, why would you hide it?  Lastly, check out the masterful snapshot of the interior that Roman sneaked.

This mule had fairly finished Lexus interior, which was also disguised.  There was the unmistakeable Lexus steering wheel (identical to that of the 2014 Lexus IS) and gauges.  What can Toyota be working on to compete with the successful BMW X3 and Audi Q5 (also with the BMW X1 and Audi Q3)?  The logical answer is the upcoming 2015 Lexus NX.

There is still a lot of room in the Lexus Crossover/SUV portfolio.  The current Lexus RX is their smallest crossover.  The upcoming Lexus NX is rumored to go on sale in calendar year 2014 as a 2015 model.  Lexus already registered NX “200t” and “300h” nameplates, which is very revealing.  The “200t” suggests a 2.0-liter turbocharged engine, not unlike the BMW X3 xDrive28i.  And the “300h” is pointing to a powertrain very similar to the current ES 300h sedan.  It uses a 2.5-liter four cylinder and electric motor combination with a total of 200 hp.  If that’s the case, the new NX 300h could return around 40 MPG combined, which would be class leading.  Now, it also makes sense why they had a Q5 Hybrid for testing.

See for yourself here:

Andre Smirnov

Andre Smirnov is a life-long automotive enthusiast, writer, reporter, and software engineer. He has been a contributor at TFL since 2011. When not working or spending time with the family – you can find him tinkering in the garage or simply ‘going for a drive’.