First introduced in 2014, the Lexus NX SUV heads into the Shanghai Motor Show as a 2018 model, the mild facelift bringing the Lexus Safety System + active safety package as standard, along with the requisite visual updates for its midlife makeover.

Starting at the front, the distinctive spindle grille has been revised and now includes satin and smoked chrome trim elements, while the front bumper has also been updated for a more fluid blending into the bonnet and front panels, says Lexus.

New headlamps with rearranged triple projector elements are available on the updated NX, while the fog lamps have been moved to the corners, separate from the ducts. At the back, the lower rear bumper cover now includes parts of the spindle grille motif and has been widened to accentuate the impression of a wider stance and a “low centre-of-gravity” look.

The tail lamp garnish has also been revised to further accentuate the L-shape lenses, while the exhaust tips are now larger, chrome-tipped items, mated to an updated rear bumper design and a new underbody spoiler. On the hybrid variant, a slotted sectional piece with an L-shaped satin chrome border sets its apart.

Meanwhile, Lexus is making a change on the model nomenclature front, with a new NX300 nameplate taking the place of the NX200t for the 2.0 litre, turbocharged inline-four model. Meanwhile, the NX300h hybrid continues to mate a pair of electric motors with the 2.5 litre inline-four cylinder petrol engine.

The change in naming convention will be adopted on other turbocharged Lexus models as well – to be applied gradually in the coming months, the company says. The flagship LS 500 already adopts this practice, with its 3.5 litre biturbo V6 engine represented without the ‘t’ and corresponding numerals in its name.

Much the same on the powertrain front, then. However, the NX chassis has received updates. Springs, stabiliser bars and bushings have been retuned to improve both turn-in response and steady-state cornering, while new dampers are set to improve ride quality on the NX, according to Lexus.

The most significant update to the NX’s mechanicals is the introduction of adaptive variable suspension (AVS), a system Lexus says is based upon the one in the LC 500 coupe. It increases the range of compression and rebound damping adjustment to 650 (up from 30) in order to have more precise control over the vehicle’s handling and stability, says Lexus.

The NX interior also receives updates. Both the NX300 and NX300h feature a metallic satin finish on its controls and switches, including the drive mode selector, shift knob and door handles. The remote interface touch pad has been redesigned and enlarged for easier use, while the wireless charging tray has also been enlarged to accommodate larger smartphones, and gains increased amperage for quicker charging.

The infotainment screen has grown from seven to 10.3 inches, and the HVAC controls have been simplified. The NX gains a sportier form in the shape of the F Sport trim level, which has jet-black plating on the spindle mesh grille and wheels combining black paint with a machined finish. Inside, the F Sport gets unique interior colour combinations, while also receiving separate readouts for turbo boost and G-forces on its head-up display unit.