The NX 200t is the new kid on the block in the compact crossover segment, having been introduced just a couple of years ago. Toyota decided they wanted to have a Lexus-branded version of the RAV4 and this is the result.
As with all other Lexus models, the wacky exterior is certain to attract many buyers but possibly turn away those of a more conservative mind. That’s the price you pay for non-traditional styling but I love the fact that Lexus is doing this. In the front we find the massive spindle-shaped grille, sharply-angled LED headlights and checkmark-styled daytime running lights. The rear is much the same with a look that I would describe as “jagged”. The NX is a crossover (half car/half SUV) but its silhouette definitely rests more toward the SUV end of the spectrum which is likely what most people prefer.
The interior of the NX 200t can fit four adults but not much more & I had a heck of a time getting three toddlers buckled into the back seat. The middle seat is literally only 10 centimeters wide if you measure the distance between the seatbelt buckles but we can’t be too picky since this is, after all, a compact crossover. I found the grey perforated leather with white stitching quite nice and comfortable. The test vehicle came equipped with the F-SPORT Series 2 package which includes a wide range of upgrades but appearance-wise we’re talking about an F SPORT shift knob, aluminum sport pedals, F SPORT 18-inch alloy wheels and F SPORT badging around the vehicle. These were all very nice additions but overall, the interior felt a little more Toyota-like than I would have preferred.
Under the hood we find a four-cylinder 235 horsepower turbo engine that propels the NX as quickly as anyone will need. The transmission is a six-speed automatic that does the job just fine but one can opt for the paddle shifters for more driving excitement. Also included in the F SPORT package is a sport-tuned suspension, 18-inch wheels, blind spot monitor with rear cross traffic alert, G meter, heads up display and an adaptive variable suspension.
Lexus’ infotainment system is the main sore-sport for this vehicle. I didn’t like it at all, especially the laptop-style trackpad for navigating around the menus which I found slow and unintuitive. Quite a bit of time was spent fooling around to find basic features. Lexus would be well advised to scrap it and start over but I imagine this is much easier said than done.
Driving the Lexus NX is a breeze. The handing is car-like with plenty of input coming back to the driver wheel thanks to that sport-tuned suspension and a perfectly-tuned electric steering system. Braking is similarly good as is visibility. On the fuel efficiency front I averaged 11.3 L/100 km which is isn’t bad at all for the city driving I did.
The Lexus NX 200t starts at $44,590 for the base model and The F SPORT Series 2-equippmed tester came in at $53,990. There is also the NX300h which comes with Lexus’ Hybrid Drive system and starts at $55,900.
This offering represents a descent effort from Lexus to delve into the compact crossover market but in order to keep pace with the with the likes of the Audi Q5, Acura RDX or BMW X3 it needs to first iron on a few kinks here and there.
What we have here is a descent effort from Lexus to delve into the compact crossover market. In order to keep pace with the with the likes of the Audi Q5, Acura RDX or BMW X3 it needs to first iron on a few kinks here and there.