Back in 2015 Lexus decided to replicate the sales magic that it had achieved with the popular RX with the arrival of a smaller compact SUV to compete against models, like the BMW X3, Audi Q5 and Volvo XC60. Three years later and the NX is the second most popular model in the Lexus lineup, following the top selling RX. But even with its sales success, is the NX better than its rivals?
The 2017 Lexus NX is offered in two versions, the NX 200t or the hybrid NX 300h. (Note: The NX 200t has been renamed the NX 300 for the 2018 model year) The NX 200t is powered by a turbocharged 2.0L four-cylinder that generates an adequate 235 horsepower and 258 lb-ft. of torque. If you’re looking for something a bit more efficient, there’s the NX 300h with its 2.5L four-cylinder hybrid powertrain.
The NX 200t is rated at 22/28/25 mpg with front-wheel drive and 22/28/24 mpg with all-wheel drive.
Just like many of the models in the Lexus lineup, the exterior of the NX is aggressive and polarizing, but it does stand out. The exterior’s sharp creases and large grille are definitely in your face. If you choose the F Sport trim level, you get a better looking black mesh grille, sportier 18-inch wheels and a tweaked suspension.
Inside the interior is spacious and luxurious with the biggest negative being an annoying infotainment system that doesn’t offer Apple CarPlay or Android Auto. The infotainment system is controlled via a touchpad that’s not easier to use than the mouse-like system in other Lexus models. It looks like Lexus isn’t going to make any changes soon to its infotainment system, since the all-new 2018 Lexus LS offers a similar system. At the front the interior is spacious and comfortable, while rear seat passengers may find it a bit snug.
On the road the 2.0L turbocharged four-cylinder engine offers adequate power, although it would be nice if the NX offered a more powerful option. Around town the four-cylinder gets the NX 200t moving down the road with little fanfare, its steering is adequately weighted and its suspension keeps everything under control with less body roll than you’d expect. While the NX does share some of its parts with the Toyota RAV4, there’s actually very little in common between the two.
The NX 200t offers Eco and Sport driving modes, with the latter being the more enjoyable mode. The Sport mode makes the throttle more responsive, but steer clear of the Eco mode unless you’re just cruising down a non-curvy road.
With its aggressive exterior and stylish interior, it’s obvious why the the NX is so popular. For the 2018 model year, the NX has received updated styling, while the interior has new trim bits and the infotainment system has a larger 10.3-inch screen.