It is all the time attention-grabbing to evaluate a automobile within the final 12 months earlier than its main refresh. By this level, the engineers and designers and bean-counters have seemingly reached a consensus that the automobile has come so far as it could actually. It is pretty much as good because it’ll ever be. That is the case with the Lexus NX, which entered manufacturing in 2014.
- Comfortable journey
- Spectacular checklist of normal security tech
- Buttery-soft leather-based
Do not Like
- Awful infotainment tech
- Underpowered in comparison with rivals
- Inside design is a bit bizarre
Now that everybody’s a house baker, I will current this analogy: The 2020 Lexus NX is sort of a fantastic loaf of bread that somebody took a variety of effort and time to make with good elements, however they forgot so as to add salt. In different phrases, the NX does every thing a compact luxurious crossover ought to do: It carries individuals in consolation, affords a number of room for cargo and is adorned with good supplies. There simply is not a lot in the best way of taste.
F Sport in title solely
The NX 300 F Sport examined right here is the top-shelf non-hybrid NX. It packs a 2.0-liter turbocharged I4 engine with a not-exactly-class-leading 235 horsepower and 258 pound-feet of torque, the latter of which is accessible from 1,650 rpm. Energy goes to all 4 wheels by a six-speed computerized transmission, with steering wheel-mounted paddle shifters.
On paper, that six-speed transmission sounds old style, significantly within the face of extra fashionable eight- and nine-speed items provided by a lot of the Lexus’ rivals. In follow, nevertheless, it really works simply fantastic. Shifts are clean and properly timed.
Having fewer gears would not actually damage the NX 300’s gas economic system relative to its competitors, both. With all-wheel drive, the Lexus is rated at 22 miles per gallon metropolis, 27 mpg freeway and 24 mpg mixed, which is about on par with the Acura RDX, Infiniti QX50 and. Throughout my testing, I used to be in a position to get near that 24-mpg mixed ranking with out a lot effort.
The NX’s chassis is properly sorted. The usual drive mode does a superb job of smoothing out freeway enlargement joints and LA’s shockingly gnarly drainage dips at intersections, and this tester has the non-obligatory adaptive dampers, which let you dial up a Sport mode, but it surely would not change issues all that a lot.
However regardless of the F Sport badge, the NX would not actually lend itself to spirited driving. Whereas I just like the consolation degree that the NX’s chassis offers, I really feel colder and fuzzy in regards to the steering, which, whereas removed from sloppy, affords little in the best way of suggestions to the driving force. In brief, the NX 300 has a journey befitting the Lexus badge on its nostril, however should you’re after some on-road character, greatest to look elsewhere.
The finer issues, principally
The NX’s exterior styling is aggressive by compact SUV requirements, but it surely seems proper at dwelling in Lexus’ lineup. From the aspect, the NX is well-proportioned and athletic, and issues additionally look respectable round again, with sharp taillights and a dramatic crease on the beltline.
Sadly, the NX’s entrance finish takes some getting used to. Lexus’ spindle grille, often known as the Predator grille, is fairly polarizing even now, almost a decade after its introduction. Fortunately, Lexus is slowly determining efficiently combine that unwieldy schnoz onto a few of its fashions like the brand new ES and LS. Do I like it on the NX? Nope. However styling is subjective, so your mileage might range.
Inside, issues enhance significantly. The cabin’s design is a bit of busy, and the inside feels darkish and extra cramped than it ought to, however the supplies and construct high quality are nothing in need of Lexus-excellent. All the automobile’s leather-based touchpoints are buttery smooth and contribute to an air of high quality. The plastics are fantastic, however I would reasonably see some extra actual supplies like metallic or wooden, even when they’re used sparingly.
The NX’s seats are comfy, supportive and promise to maintain driver fatigue at bay for longer drives. Weirdly, Lexus solely affords leather-based seating on the Premium fashions and up, so my F Sport mannequin comes with black Nu-Luxe materials (aka faux leather-based), although it is a minimum of perforated. Seat heating and cooling are customary on NX Luxurious fashions, however are non-obligatory on every thing else, together with this F Sport.
The rear seating space is not precisely huge, however with a bit of finagling, I used to be in a position to squeeze in behind my regular entrance seating place (I am 6 toes, four inches tall, in order that’s saying one thing). The cargo space is respectably spacious, too, although the facility opening and shutting tailgate is not customary, accurately on one thing at this worth. It is an additional $400 in order for you the facility tailgate on the F Sport; add one other $150 in order for you the kick-under-the-bumper-to-open sensor.
Unhealthy infotainment, however a number of customary security tech
The NX 300’s greatest weak point is its infotainment tech. The Lexus Enform system is — and all the time has been — terrible. It is awkward to make use of due to the haptic suggestions touchpad on the middle console, and the system is not significantly responsive or simple to make use of, particularly whereas driving. and compatibility go a good distance in direction of making the expertise ignorable, fortunately, however Lexus actually wants to present this technique a rethink, and quick. At the least a Wi-Fi hotspot is customary.
Fortunately, the non-obligatory 835-watt Mark Levinson audio system stays superior, and a worthwhile choice should you care about your music (or actually like listening to Ira Glass’ bizarre mouth noises in HD, you weirdo). The Mark Levinson package deal additionally nets you the upgraded 10.3-inch widescreen infotainment show, whereas the usual display is barely eight inches.
Lexus deserves a variety of credit score for its security tech roster, and the 2020, the Security System Plus 2.Zero with road-sign recognition and lane-tracing help is customary throughout the NX vary. Different highlights of the Lexus’ driver-assistance suite embody customary computerized emergency braking, adaptive cruise management, lane-keeping help and computerized excessive beams.
Lexus additionally consists of three years of Enform Security Join, which incorporates computerized collision notification, stolen car notification and an emergency help button. It additionally will get you a three-year trial of Lexus Enform Distant, which helps you to management sure car features (lock/unlock, local weather management and so forth) by your iOS or Android system with an app.
The milquetoast choice
The 2020 Lexus NX begins at $37,895, together with $1,025 for vacation spot, which simply barely undercuts rivals just like the Acura RDX and Infiniti QX50, and is available in just a few thousand lower than the BMW X3 and Mercedes-Benz GLC300. All loaded up, this F-Sport tester prices $52,307. That is loads, particularly when you think about the rivals are principally extra participating to drive and provide extra trendy cabins with higher multimedia programs.
There are many patrons who prioritize consolation and confirmed high quality above issues like driving dynamics or (subjectively) attractiveness, and for them, the NX is a strong — if boring — alternative. Here is hoping the brand new NX retains these rhythms intact when it arrives in 2021, however we might like it if it introduced a bit extra verve and higher infotainment tech to the get together, too.
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