What it is: The NX is a luxury compact crossover that Lexus has been selling since 2015. It features an aggressively styled exterior that is in line with the Lexus current offerings and features the signature spindle-shaped grille. As a quick note, Lexus is retiring the “200t” moniker for the 2018 model year. The new nomenclature is the NX 300. There will be some revisions, but it still has the same engine.
The Lexus NX is roughly the same size as the Toyota RAV-4, and does share a few core pieces, but it’s a completely difference beast. Lexus not only makes a very luxurious crossover, but the NX is focused on the driving experience as well. The 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder generates a stout 235 horsepower and 258 lb-ft of torque. With a relatively small vehicle such as the NX, it provides plenty of acceleration. My test model was equipped with the F Sport package which provides a revised sport-tuned suspension as well as bolstered sport seating. The F Sport package is only $1,900 more than the base model and comes highly recommended if you want a more enthusiastic experience.
My test model came with plenty of options as well. The F Sport Premium Package adds a moon roof, heated front seats with memory, LED daytime running lights, and 18-inch alloy wheels. Additional options are LED headlamps ($1,160), navigation with 10-speaker stereo system ($1,665), park assist ($500), power rear hatch ($400), pre-collision system with adaptive cruise control ($900), and a few others. I think all of these are worth the money and I applaud Lexus for both offering them at competitive pricing and letting you choose so many options a la carte. Too many manufacturers make you bundle everything together.
I loved that the NX was good at just about anything I asked of it. Highway cruising was smooth and enjoyable. The F Sport steering was nimble and made technical driving entertaining. The interior was a pleasure to be in and had the signature Lexus luxurious touch. The NX makes the most of its small stature and while it’s likely too small to handle three kids, it’s definitely up for most other jobs.
MPG: 24 combined/22 city/27 highway
Price: $35,285 base price. $47,869 as-tested.
Upsides: Unique exterior. Fun to drive. Plenty of room.
Downsides: Don’t expect more than 19-20 MPG if you like to mash the throttle.
Wrap-up: I really enjoyed driving the NX. Compact crossovers are a HUGE segment of the car industry and most manufacturers are playing it safe so that they appeal to a wide audience. The aggressive appearance of the NX is backed up by the driving experience, which I found refreshing. It’s not a sports car, but it has the soul of one. You can drive it tepidly and get decent gas mileage or you can rev the engine and get into the boost from the turbocharger and have fun with it. I’m happy to do either.