Lexus NX trademark might hint at plug-in hybrid model to come

A curious trademark for an NX 450h Plus could spill the beans on a RAV4 Prime kind of model.

More plug-in power? Maybe.

Let's start things off with an appropriate disclaimer with regard to trademarks and patents: Automakers apply for them all the time, all around the world, and they don't always foreshadow a future product. What they do give us, though, are potential clues to the future.

Today, we're talking about the Lexus NX, the rather old compact luxury crossover that'll likely see a new generation in the near future. A Mach E Club forum user posted trademarks Lexus filed in Europe surrounding the NX, but one of them is very interesting: an NX 450h Plus. For those who don't speak Lexus nomenclature, the "h" stands for "hybrid" but the "Plus" is something new.

It could be that the plus designation means there's more going on with the hybrid system, perhaps a plug-in hybrid powertrain. It's the best theory for now since we only have previous Lexus names to go on. The brand declined to comment on future product.

Should the NX 450h Plus come to life as a plug-in hybrid, there's a possibility it could share the Toyota RAV4 Prime's powertrain. The plug-in hybrid RAV4 makes 302 horsepower, boasts 90 miles per gallon equivalent and should go 39 miles on a full charge before the engine turns over and takes over duty. It's actually the second quickest Toyota from 0 to 60 mph only behind the Supra. It'd make for a lovely range-topping NX trim, I think.

And since the NX and RAV4 were twins in the past on older Toyota architecture, it's safe to say that relationship will continue with the new NX and the Toyota New Global Architecture, or the TNGA acronym you may see mentioned from time to time. The super versatile platform lets Toyota do a lot of good stuff, like add all-wheel drive to the Camry since it can borrow bits from the RAV4.

We'll have to wait and see what Lexus has in the pipeline, or if such a plug-in comes to the US if the NX 450h Plus ends up being a reality.

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