Having recently spent a week in the 200t F Sport version of the crossover SUV, I finally understand what all the excitement is about.
First off, it’s not your typical Lexus at first glance.
Angular sculpting touches, particularly on the bottom half of the vehicle in profile, make it look like some super-sporty Mercedes-Benz prototypes I’ve seen in years past.
This being a Lexus and taking in its Stealth jet fighter lines, I assumed my ride probably came in at around $50,000.
Not even close. The starting price was a very reasonable $36,580. And even with the classy F Sport package touches and a generous round of extras – including a power tilt/sliding moonroof – the bottom line was a still easy on the eyes $43,230.
The NX represents a series of firsts for Lexus. First compact crossover. First turbocharged gasoline engine. First luxo compact crossover that looks like it could take on a Nissan Z.
OK, I made up that last one, but you go with your gut sometimes.
On the fly, the 2-liter, 4-cylinder turbo engine rated at 235 horsepower was an enthusiastic power driver. Response durng aggressive accelerations into tight quarters was excellent. Steering characteristics were likewise superb.
Also, it’s a true crossover…that is to say that it handles like a sedan but gives you all the interior seating space and cargo room that you need for the basic chores in urban, suburban and rural settings. I’m not sure I’d use it as a ranch vehicle, but frankly, I think this NX is up to the task.
Interior amenities are satisfyingly Lexus-like.
Controls are easy to understand and use. The interior cabin is comfortable and quiet. The vehicle feels luxurious just stepping into it. After some time on the road, you’re feeling positively spoiled. Shouldn't we be paying more for all this? It occurred to me.
The F Sport package gives you the additional perks of a sport-tuned suspension and steering wheel-mounted paddle shifters. Lots of fun to be had here.
By the way, the 2016 NX model comes off the line virtually unchanged from the 2015 intro vehicle.
Imagine my surprise when I read that Lexus geared the NX to a “social, highly engaged, youthful audience.”
OK, so they missed my demographic by a mile. No harm, no foul.
I still enjoyed the NX immensely. It’s a solid addition to an already outstanding vehicle lineup from Lexus.