The little Lexus SUV that could.
Review by Tom Sedens
Pricing: 2017 Lexus NX200t
Base price: $42,750
Options: $12,250 F Sport Series 3 package
A/C tax: $100
Price as tested: $57,145
A couple of years ago, when I first laid eyes on this vehicle, I thought “Whoa, now this is a departure for Lexus!” The NX’s lines, stretched taut over its fenders and haunches, with angles pulled toward the back are definitely adventurous. The effect is a smooth, rakish mix of angles, bulges and wicked creases. The front end is aggressive, particularly in the F Sport version like the one I reviewed – it’s love it or hate it. The tail light pods can’t be missed, and from some angles, the vehicle’s shape really draws your eyes in to those back corners.
When it comes to lighting, there are LEDs everywhere – head lights (low and high beams), driving lights, fog lights and tail lights. The 18-inch rims look good, and the overall styling package, while not for everyone, really grew on me. And yes, while these are stock pictures – the weather simply didn’t cooperate for me to take pictures of this one – this crazy colour (called Solar Flare) is what my review vehicle came in.
The cockpit is nicely styled and surprisingly spacious – but boy do things get busy. I’ll get back to that. There are very nice materials throughout – every surface is soft-touch, with lovely textures and plenty of stitching. Fit and finish as well as overall build quality seem impeccable as one would expect from a Lexus.
The beautiful F Sport seats, heated and power-adjustable, would be at home in a sports car – but they don’t just look great – they’re comfortable and well-bolstered. The NX has a screen that juts out of the dash – it’s nice to look with great contrast and sharp graphics. It handles all the main functions – a spectacular sound system, phone and navigation. I am not a big fan of the remote touch interface which is essentially like a laptop’s touchpad but with haptic feedback.
The suite of driver assistance technology pretty much has it all with this option package – blind-spot monitoring, lane keeping assist, pre-collision system, dynamic radar cruise control, rear cross traffic alert, heads-up display, a backup camera and parking sensors.
The rear passengers (at least the two outboard ones) get very comfortable seats that recline, as well as plenty of head and leg room. The middle position is narrow and less than ideal for adults. The centre console also comes back quite far, which eats into the leg and foot room in the middle.
While the 500 litre trunk is a decent size, it’s definitely on the small side compared to similarly-sized rides – for example, it’s less than half of that you’ll find in the Honda CR-V. It has a power lift gate and a comfortable load floor height. You can fold the rear seats down in a 60/40 split which gives you 1545 litres of space.
Under the Hood
When the NX200t was launched, there was a collective gasp as Lexus unleashed its first turbo 4-cylinder. It has proven to be reliable, and remains unchanged. The 2.0-litre twin-scroll turbo puts out 235 horsepower and 258 lb.ft of torque. The NX200t still has a 6-speed transmission (weird, considering Lexus has good transmissions with more gears in them) and all-wheel drive.
While the NX has enough power, it’s a bit soft in response to a full-throttle launch. Everything stays on the smooth side. The transmission isn’t quick, but again, it’s buttery smooth.
You can choose your drive mode (from Eco, Normal, Sport and Sport+), and while they don’t completely transform the car, you will notice a difference in throttle response, shifting patterns and the ride stiffness.
This trim has Adaptive Variable Suspension, and the ride is definitely firmer than you’d expect from a Lexus SUV/crossover. It is sporty, yet still very comfortable. The pay-off here is that, for a tall vehicle, the handling is better than you’d expect. Yes, there’s some body roll and understeer but it’s pretty impressive for a vehicle of this size. It drives much like an all-wheel drive car, which is basically what it is underneath.
I liked the NX. It’s not crazy in terms of pricing. With a reasonable base price for a well-equipped vehicle and the ability to step through a number of option levels, Lexus has given the buyer some solid choices.
WAF (Wife Acceptance Factor) was really high. Much like the first one we drove, the NX really resonated with her. She thought it looked great, drove great and had everything she’d want in a vehicle.
Overall, the NX200t does most things well and I think that is why it has done well for Lexus. It’s a fine vehicle, and if you like the styling, I don’t think you’d be disappointed with this vehicle now or in the long run.
Disclosure: Vehicle was provided by Lexus Canada.
If you enjoyed this review, feel free to check out my other vehicle reviews under the car reviews tab at the top of my blog.