Lexus NX Review | An in-depth lookJul 26th, 2015
Lexus entered the luxury compact utility vehicle in 2015 with the Lexus NX 200t, a nimble urban crossover offering an interesting combination of luxury, handling and performance.
Topping the range is a duo of NX 200t F SPORT skewing the balance towards performance, yes, but also including a full array of equipment not commonly found in a compact urban contender.
The Lexus NX 200t Power
The Lexus NX 200t F SPORT, like all NX 200t, is powered by a willing twin-scroll turbo-equipped gasoline engine, a first for Lexus. This 2.0 litre Atkinson cycle engine newly developed by the company provides 235 horsepower and 258 lb-ft of torque through the use of direct injection, dual variable valve timing with intelligence Wider (VVT-iW) and an intercooler. This turbo power means the NX 200t will reach 100 km/h in a hair over seven seconds. An interesting fact about this engine: for packaging and emission reasons, the exhaust manifold is cast right into the cylinder head.
This eager engine is combined to a six-speed automatic Super ECT transmission with lock-up torque converter and all-wheel-drive.
Video Review Part One
The Lexus NX 200t Ride
The F SPORT components, part of the NX 200t F SPORT Level 2, carry a host of suspension changes that bring the handling to a level worthy of the engine. Adaptive Variable Suspension (AVS) is part of the changes, providing a more precise steering feel and response. The AVS in the NX 200t F SPORT works with 30 stages of damping force and can change settings in as little as 20 milliseconds. AVS can be switched between Normal and Sports S+ mode according to the driver’s preference, providing a choice between optimum ride comfort and prioritizing handling stability. This AVS system works in conjunction with beefy strut tower braces as well as many reinforcements to the whole structure of the vehicle.
Talking of the tower brace, this new beefy unit incorporates a small, fluid-filled shock absorber in its centre to help quell vibrations and harshness. Helping all this is the use of high rigidity stabilizer bar, large diameter high-rigidity wheel bearings and various high damping bushings. Wheels are upgraded to 18 inches 10-spoke alloys with performance 225/60/18 tires.
The end result is not harsh, mind you – this is still a Lexus after all – but sporty without being punishing… A great balance that is well calibrated for daily driving duty on our less than perfect roads.
An unexpected surprise? The very tight turning radius which will be golden to squeeze in tight city parking spots.
Lexus NX200t Technology
For those gadget-loving owners, Lexus has incorporated a G-Monitor in the display, showing peak force in each direction. Display bars indicate the steering angle, throttle opening angle, and hydraulic brake pressure.
Another information item found on the display is a Lexus-first, a turbo-boost meter featuring a colour band changing in the high boost pressure range.
Talking about the display, Lexus has placed atop the centre section of the dash a 4.2” Thin Film Transistor LCD, looking like a comfortably installed tablet, providing information in full-colour. This Multi-Information Display (MID) is used to showcase navigation, HVAC, phone and numerous other functions.
From the MID downwards, driver and passengers will find a selection of controls well laid out, in typical easy to use Lexus configuration, separated by a silver frame. Control for the functions showcased on the MID is through a track pad on the centre console, right by the shifter, which Lexus calls Remote Touch Interface. Tech-savvy owners will appreciate the wireless charging capabilities in the centre console box enabling charging for Qi supported devices or devices with a Qi supported accessory.
In true luxury fashion, leather abounds inside and the front seats of this F SPORT model offer greater bolstering than on other NX 200t. Lexus did do so in a moderate fashion though; larger people won’t feel squeezed too tightly by these well-designed side bolsters. Helping the comfort aspect is the fact these seats are built by injecting liquid foam rather than wrapping leather around sculpted foam pads, thus eliminating hard spots commonly found on seats’ edges.
These sporty seats allow good adjustments and, combined with a telescopic and height adjustable steering wheel, will allow small and tall drivers to find a great driving position.
Don’t be surprised, you will not find any wood touches inside this F SPORT NX. Inline with the urban crossover feel and the tastes of buyers Lexus sees for the sporty NX 200t, trim in between the many expanses of leather is metallic rather than wood-based.
F SPORT specific erforated non-slip aluminium pedals and driver’s foot brace provide practical assistance to sports driving. Hands of the driver will hold a steering wheel with perforated leather while the brushed metallic gear shift lever and the scuff plate ornamentation beneath the door are exclusive to F SPORT.
Another cosmetic detail unique to the F SPORT is the headliner, which is black for a unified look.
Video Review Part 2
Lexus NX 200t Safety
Safety features include Dynamic Radar Cruise Control, Lane Departure Alert, Blind Spot Monitor, Rear Cross Traffic Alert, newly adopted cornering lamps and Head-up Display. These are added to the backup camera, front and rear fog lamps, and all the standard Lexus active safety systems: Vehicle Stability Control, Traction Control, Antilock Braking System with Electronic Brake Force Distribution and Brake Assist, and Smart Stop Technology.
The Level 2 adds Dynamic Radar Cruise Control and Lane Departure Alert.
Filled with technology and armed with a willing engine as well as a suspension tuned for sporty handling, Lexus had to wrap all of this with a unique body. It did so by designing an edgy looking package that is unmistakably Lexus, but also touches many buttons urban luxury dwellers are looking for.
All lights are LED and both headlights and taillights designs are striking. The door handles allow a good grab and also hide the door lock tumbler in a unique way. Windows offer good visibility when inside and their shape help support a dynamic roofline. As for the shape of the various panels, it is unmistakably edgy.
Lexus has created a unique sporty and luxurious combination with the NX 200t F SPORT, one that is fun and practical to own in town and inspiring to take on occasional fun drives.