You could say that Lexus seems to be undergoing a bit of a major overhaul of its complete lineup. The brand recently departed from its conservative design with a more aggressive look and feel that is highlighted by the new signature spindle grille. We first saw the new design language on the Lexus IS Sedan followed by the RC Coupe. Following the debut of those two vehicles, Lexus surprised us with an all-new model for a segment it has never competed in – meet the Lexus NX.
The Lexus NX originally made its market debut in late 2014 as a 2015 model year and is now in its 2016 model year. The NX is a very important vehicle for Lexus as it is competing in a new segment and also features an all-new 4-cylinder turbo engine. Let’s take a look and see if the Lexus NX is on the right track.
The compact Lexus NX crossover shares its structure and wheelbase with its parent company’s Toyota RAV4, however, the styling, suspension parts, engines, and the interior are everything you would expect from Lexus as a luxury brand.
Looks wise, there is no doubt that the Lexus NX is trying to grab every bit of your attention. With sharp edges and creases, the NX features a sporty and aggressive design – something we’ve never really seen from Lexus. Based on the Lexus LF-NX Concept that made its debut at the 2013 Tokyo Motor Show, the production model seems slightly unchanged from the design study, which is quite rare for any automaker to do. Usually, the concept versions of a vehicle differ heavily when they enter production. Of course, the design language here is highlighted by the huge and aggressive spindle grille, which has become a signature on all Lexus models. Our test model came equipped with the F Sport package which adds even more aggressive design cues.
What’s new for 2016? For the 2016 model year, the Lexus NX adds new exterior colors including Autumn Shimmer and Blue Vortex Metallic, and for F SPORT there is a new Ultra White color.
When compared to most of the other models in the segment, the Lexus NX stands out in front with eye-catching and elegant design.
Now, if you’ve ever been inside a Lexus before, you know that the brand’s vehicles are just screaming luxury and quality and the NX doesn’t disappoint. The Lexus NX’s cabin combines a sporty design with extremely luxurious materials. You definitely see a hint of Lexus LFA sportiness combined with Lexus LS quality. All the surfaces are covered in hard metallic, soft leather wrapping and contrast stitching.
The Lexus NX can sit a total of five passengers, but we believe four passengers fit a little more comfortably. If you’re worried about cargo capacity, don’t be. With all seats in user position the Lexus NX offers a spacious 17.7 cubic feet of cargo room – with the rear seats folded down you can enjoy a cargo capacity of 54.6 cubic feet. Also, the seats do fold down with a 60/40 split.
Lexus says that seating played a significant role in the design of the interior for the NX. You can definitely tell that the designers and engineers did their utmost best to provide comfortable seating for all passengers no matter how long the journey.
Our test model came fully loaded with all the bells and whistles including multi-information display cluster, including a Lexus-first G sensor and boost meter, heads-up display, all-speed dynamic radar cruise control, blind spot monitor with rear cross traffic alert, navigation, heated/cooled seats, Lexus wireless smartphone charging, Bluetooth phone and audio, and the Lexus Enform Service Connect system.
The Lexus NX is available in the United States in two versions including the 200t and the 300h Hybrid. Our test model, the 2016 Lexus NX 200t, is powered by a 2.0 liter 4-cylinder turbocharged engine making 235 horsepower and 258 lb-ft of torque. Mated to a 6-speed automatic transmission, the 2016 Lexus NX runs from 0 to 60 mph in just 7.2 seconds with a top speed of 124 mph.
The 2.0 liter 4-cylinder is a first for the Lexus brand and it definitely does not disappoint. The engine is very responsive and very smooth in day-to-day driving and also helps the Lexus NX 200t manage an EPA-estimated fuel-economy rating of 22/28 mpg (city/highway).
The base Lexus NX 200t comes as a front-wheel-drive setup, which is great for those that don’t live in cold weather states or don’t plan on doing any light off-roading. For those that live in cold weather states and plan on being a little adventurous, the Lexus NX 200t is available with an all-wheel-drive setup.
Like all modern Lexus vehicles, the 2016 NX also comes with a driving mode selector allowing you to pick between Normal, Eco and Sport modes. The Eco mode will allow you to conserve some fuel with less throttle response while Sport mode offers a more spirited driving dynamic with improved throttle response.
To answer our question of whether or not Lexus is on the right track with the Lexus NX. After spending a week with the brand’s new compact crossover with a brand-new 4-cylinder turbo – we definitely believe so. If you’re in the market for a luxury compact crossover, stop by a AutoNation Lexus dealer to test-drive a 2016 Lexus NX today!