Lexus has introduced a new front-wheel-drive version of its NX mid-size SUV that slots in at the foot of the range. Priced from £35,860, the premium SUV is designed to offer lower emissions and a lower price, while still offering a high level of standard specification.

That said, the new front-drive option is only available on the entry-level trim - everything else in the range comes with Lexus’ E-Four all-wheel-drive system. That, in combination with 17-inch alloy wheels, sees carbon dioxide emissions slashed - a move Lexus hopes will appeal to company car drivers and fleet managers.

Thanks to those tweaks, the new base-spec NX manages to cut its CO2 emissions to 161 g/km, down 10 g/km on the four-wheel-drive versions. That means company car tax stands at 35 percent, as opposed to the 37 percent levied on the more polluting versions of the car. That means a company car driver in the 40-percent income tax bracket could save £418 in the first year and £832 over three years.

As well as lower emissions, the entry-level model also gets an eight-inch multimedia system, front and rear parking sensors, and LED headlights with automatic high beam. A reversing camera, an eight-speaker audio system and the Android Auto and Apple CarPlay are also part of the standard equipment, while a navigation system is an optional extra.

Lexus NX 300h 2018 White Front Static

There’s a plethora of safety systems included, too, with adaptive cruise control, lane keeping assistance offered. Traffic sign recognition comes as standard, too, as does Lexus’ Pre-Collision Safety system and auto-dimming mirrors.

Under the bonnet, you get the same hybrid powertrain you’d normally find in the NX, with a 2.5-litre petrol engine complemented by an electric motor. That means a total power output of 194 bhp, which is enough to manage 0-62 mph in 9.2 seconds. More importantly, though, it’ll manage just shy of 40 mpg on the new and more stringent WLTP economy and emissions test.

Lexus NX300h

The new NX with front-wheel drive and 17-inch wheel options is available to order now, with prices starting at £35,860. However, while customers can place orders, Lexus says deliveries will not begin until “conditions relating to the current Covid-19 pandemic permit”.

The arrival of this new low-end version of the NX follows hot on the heels of a more luxurious mid-range Premium Sport Edition model, which was announced last month. That car, which comes in at just under £39,000, is marked out by some black trim and larger 18-inch alloy wheels, while man-made leather and a larger infotainment screen.

Gallery: 2018 Lexus NX