If you Google the competitors of the Lexus NX and you might be left slightly confused. Some publications say that it competes with the likes of the Audi Q3, BMW X1, and Mercedes-Benz GLA, while others say it clashes with the Q5, X3, and the GLC. Well, if you line them up side-by-side and compare the overall dimensions and the price tags, the Lexus NX really goes head-to-head with the latter. The upcoming Lexus UX, on the other hand, will take on the Q3s and the X1s of the world.
Now, the 2018 and 2019 model years of the Lexus NX has received some refreshing upgrades over its predecessors — but is it enough to capture those flocking to its rivals? We spent a week with the latest version of the segment’s current king it to find out.
2018 Lexus NX 300 F Sport Exterior
With the 2018 model year, the Lexus NX receives some handsome styling upgrades for a sportier look, and our favorite of the line is the NX 300 F Sport. As compared to standard NX models, the F Sport, gets an aggressive honeycomb grille that falls straight and gives the crossover a very sharp and grown-up look. Other F-Sport exclusive design elements include a revised lower bumper with chrome treatment, rear lower bumper, taillamps, large exhaust openings, and 18-inch F-Sport alloy wheels. Our test model also came with the optional premium triple-beam LED adaptive headlamps for an additional $1,515.
Does the Lexus NX look better than its predecessors? We sure think so. Does it look better than the rivals listed below? We feel like it sits right in the middle. Styling wise, We really love the Audi Q5, Acura RDX, and the Volvo XC60. With that in mind, we definitely think that the NX is sharper, sleeker, and more exciting to look at than the BMW X3 and Mercedes-Benz GLC.
2018 Lexus NX 300 F Sport Interior
As with other Lexus models, the Lexus NX’s interior is everything you would anticipate from the brand. There are upscale and high-quality materials used throughout the cabin.
Tech wise, our test model, the 2018 Lexus NX 300 F Sport AWD, came with all the bells and whistles including quilted NuLuxe sport seats (exclusive to F Sport), heated and cooled front seats, heated steering, dual-zone climate control, an F Sport steering wheel and shift-knob, a 10.3-inch display that’s controlled via the touchpad, Bluetooth, and a range of driver-assist technologies. Apple CarPlay is optional, along with some Amazon Alexa Lexus skills, and a range of Lexus Enform features. Overall, the interior of the Lexus NX is a solid blend of luxury and comfort.
2018 Lexus NX 300 F Sport Performance
Power for the 2018 Lexus NX 300 F Sport AWD comes from a 2.0-liter four-cylinder turbo engine making 235 horsepower and a maximum torque of 258 lb-ft. Mated to a six-speed automatic transmission, zero to 60 mph comes in just seven seconds with a top speed of 124 mph.
When it comes to driving dynamics, the Lexus NX 300 AWD is all about comfort, and to be honest, that’s true with most models in this segment. Now, the 2018 Lexus NX 300 F Sport we drove here comes with a range of sporty characteristics that will make you feel like you’re driving something faster than it actually is. First, there is a G-ball meter in the driver information display just in case you want to measure the G-Force. Enjoy the acoustics of a sporty engine revving? The Lexus NX 300 F Sport comes with what Lexus calls “Active Sound Control.” The feature brings some of the engine note through the speakers and intensifies quite a bit. To be honest, I found this extremely amusing as it sounds like you’re driving a Lexus RC F but are really driving a 235-horsepower crossover. The best part is that the volume is adjustable. When it comes to fuel economy, the Lexus NX 300 averages an EPA-rated 22/27 mpg* (city/highway).
2018 Lexus NX 300 F Sport Safety
Besides the long list of standard safety features including a rearview camera, you can tack on packages that give the Lexus NX a range of driver assist technologies. Those include a panoramic view monitor, blind spot monitoring, park assist, rain-sensing wipers, and much more.
2018 Lexus NX 300 F Sport Overall
After spending a week with the Lexus NX 300 F Sport AWD, we’ve definitely come to appreciate what Lexus has done here. Most vehicles in this segment aren’t looking to put out the best zero-to-60 times or become known as the best-handling vehicles on the market. Rather, they’re simply looking to offer their owners a luxury experience where utility and comfort are the center focus — and that’s something the Lexus NX 300 does really well.
So if you’re in the market for a luxury crossover, we recommend giving the Lexus NX a quick spin. Prices for the Lexus NX 300 start $37,585**. Visit your local AutoNation Lexus dealer for a test drive today.
*Based on EPA mileage ratings. Your mileage will vary depending specific vehicle trim, how you drive and maintain your vehicle, driving conditions, and other factors.
**MSRP excluding tax, license, registration, destination charge and options. Dealer prices may vary.