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Love it or hate it, Lexus’ sharp styling and spindle grille aren’t going away anytime soon, judging by the refreshed 2018 NX crossover that debuted at the Shanghai motor show.

Both the front and rear fascias do receive modest design changes, though. The massive spindle grille is still present — and as bold as ever — but Lexus refined the styling so that it flows better with the hood. The headlights are also redesigned; they’re now similar to the triple-projector units found on the LC coupe.

At the rear, the taillights are elongated to better emphasize the L-shaped lenses. The NX300 features a larger chrome-tipped exhaust, while the NX300h hybrid wears a slotted sectional piece with satin chrome borders.

2018 Lexus LC500 500h First Drive Concept as Road Car

The NX F Sport trim continues for 2018 with its pronounced mesh grille and jet-black plating, in addition to unique machined-finished wheels with solid black paint. The inside is decked out in the Metallic Sport interior trim.

Inside, nearly all the controls and switches, including the door handles, shift knob and drive-mode selector, have a metallic satin finish. The infotainment screen gets a size upgrade from 7 inches to 10.3. The HVAC controls are simplified down to just four toggle switches.

The touch interface has been redesigned for easier operation. A reshaped palm rest offers better comfort. The wireless charger tray is also bigger so that it can accommodate today’s larger phablets smartphones. A new feature added for 2018 is a foot-operated rear hatch, which can open and close with a wave of the foot under the rear-bumper cover — perfect for when your arms are full.

The refreshed 2018 Lexus NX still wears the love-it-or-hate-it spindle grille Photo 1 4-19-17

A larger 10.3-inch infotainment screen dominates the refreshed center console.

The biggest change for the 2018 NX is with the NX300 nomenclature replacing the NX200t. The engine — a 2.0-liter, 235-hp turbocharged four-cylinder — stays basically the same, though. The automaker says the NX300’s straight-line performance will “essentially remain the same.”  

Performance upgrades come in the form of enhancements to the crossover’s suspension tuning and the addition of Lexus’ Adaptive Variable Suspension based on the system found in the LC 500, which can offer up to 650 instantaneous compression and damping adjustments, up from 30. The shocks, springs, stabilizer bars and bushings are retuned for improved turn-in response and cornering.

Haters of Lexus’ spindle grille won’t love the refreshed NX300 and NX300h, but the small design improvements do make the abrasive design a bit more palatable. The 2018 Lexus NX will go on sale later this year.