2020 Lexus NX 300 review: Aging SUV prioritizes comfort above all

Matthew N. Henry

Ah yes, the spindle grille. 

Kyle Hyatt/Roadshow

It truly is often appealing to assessment a car in the last yr in advance of its major refresh. By this place, the engineers and designers and bean-counters have most likely achieved a consensus that the car has appear as much as it can. It truly is as great as it will ever be. Which is the scenario with the Lexus NX, which entered generation in 2014.


  • Comfy journey
  • Amazing record of common basic safety tech
  • Buttery-tender leather-based

Will not Like

  • Awful infotainment tech
  • Underpowered as opposed to opponents
  • Inside layout is a bit bizarre

Now that everyone’s a house baker, I am going to present this analogy: The 2020 Lexus NX is like a great loaf of bread that an individual took a whole lot of time and effort to make with great substances, but they forgot to include salt. In other text, the NX does every thing a compact luxurious crossover need to do: It carries people in comfort, presents a lot of room for cargo and is adorned with wonderful products. There just is not a lot in the way of taste.

F Sport in identify only

The NX 300 F Sport tested right here is the best-shelf non-hybrid NX. It packs a two.-liter turbocharged I4 motor with a not-accurately-course-leading 235 horsepower and 258 pound-toes of torque, the latter of which is accessible from one,650 rpm. Ability goes to all four wheels by way of a six-speed automated transmission, with steering wheel-mounted paddle shifters.

On paper, that six-speed transmission sounds previous-fashioned, significantly in the encounter of much more fashionable 8- and 9-speed models made available by most of the Lexus’ opponents. In practice, on the other hand, it will work just great. Shifts are smooth and nicely timed.

Possessing less gears won’t definitely harm the NX 300’s gas economic system relative to its level of competition, either. With all-wheel travel, the Lexus is rated at 22 miles for every gallon city, 27 mpg freeway and 24 mpg combined, which is about on par with the Acura RDX, Infiniti QX50 and Mercedes-Benz GLC300. For the duration of my testing, I was in a position to get shut to that 24-mpg combined ranking without having a lot effort.

The two.-liter turbo motor produces 235 horsepower and 258 pound-toes of torque.

Kyle Hyatt/Roadshow

The NX’s chassis is nicely sorted. The common travel mode does a great occupation of smoothing out freeway enlargement joints and LA’s shockingly gnarly drainage dips at intersections, and this tester has the optional adaptive dampers, which enable you to dial up a Sport mode, but it won’t adjust items all that a lot.

But regardless of the F Sport badge, the NX won’t definitely lend by itself to spirited driving. Even though I like the comfort stage that the NX’s chassis presents, I truly feel considerably less warm and fuzzy about the steering, which, whilst much from sloppy, presents small in the way of responses to the driver. In small, the NX 300 has a journey befitting the Lexus badge on its nose, but if you are soon after some on-highway identity, very best to search in other places.

The finer items, mainly

The NX’s exterior styling is intense by compact SUV specifications, but it appears to be like proper at house in Lexus’ lineup. From the side, the NX is very well-proportioned and athletic, and items also search decent around back, with sharp taillights and a dramatic crease at the beltline.

Unfortunately, the NX’s front conclude can take some getting utilized to. Lexus’ spindle grille, also recognized as the Predator grille, is really polarizing even now, virtually a 10 years soon after its introduction. Luckily, Lexus is bit by bit figuring out how to productively integrate that unwieldy schnoz onto some of its products like the new ES and LS. Do I like it on the NX? Nope. But styling is subjective, so your mileage may range.

Within, items improve significantly. The cabin’s layout is a small active, and the interior feels dim and much more cramped than it need to, but the products and build high-quality are practically nothing small of Lexus-outstanding. All of the car’s leather-based touchpoints are buttery tender and contribute to an air of high-quality. The plastics are great, but I would fairly see some much more actual products like metal or wood, even if they are utilized sparingly.

The NX’s seats are cozy, supportive and promise to hold driver tiredness at bay for lengthier drives. Weirdly, Lexus only presents leather-based seating on the Premium products and up, so my F Sport model arrives with black Nu-Luxe product (aka pretend leather-based), even though it truly is at least perforated. Seat heating and cooling are common on NX Luxury products, but are optional on every thing else, together with this F Sport.

The rear seating place is not accurately substantial, but with a small finagling, I was in a position to squeeze in at the rear of my regular front seating posture (I’m six toes, four inches tall, so that’s saying something). The cargo place is respectably spacious, far too, even though the electricity opening and closing tailgate is not common, as it need to be on something at this value. It truly is an added $four hundred if you want the electricity tailgate on the F Sport include an additional $a hundred and fifty if you want the kick-less than-the-bumper-to-open up sensor.

The interior products are wonderful, but the infotainment procedure is horrific.

Kyle Hyatt/Roadshow

Bad infotainment, but a lot of common basic safety tech

The NX 300’s largest weak spot is its infotainment tech. The Lexus Enform procedure is — and often has been — terrible. It truly is awkward to use thanks to the haptic responses touchpad on the centre console, and the procedure is not significantly responsive or straightforward to use, specifically whilst driving. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility go a very long way to generating the expertise ignorable, thankfully, but Lexus definitely desires to give this procedure a rethink, and quick. At least a Wi-Fi hotspot is common.

Luckily, the optional 835-watt Mark Levinson audio procedure continues to be wonderful, and a worthwhile choice if you care about your songs (or definitely like hearing Ira Glass’ bizarre mouth noises in High definition, you weirdo). The Mark Levinson offer also nets you the upgraded 10.three-inch widescreen infotainment screen, whilst the common screen is only 8 inches.

Lexus deserves a whole lot of credit history for its basic safety tech roster, and the 2020, the Security System As well as two. with highway-signal recognition and lane-tracing support is common across the NX vary. Other highlights of the Lexus’ driver-support suite involve common automated crisis braking, adaptive cruise control, lane-maintaining support and automated significant beams.

Lexus also involves three several years of Enform Security Hook up, which involves automated collision notification, stolen car or truck notification and an crisis support button. It also will get you a three-yr trial of Lexus Enform Remote, which lets you control certain car or truck features (lock/unlock, weather control and so forth) by way of your iOS or Android gadget with an app.

The NX arguably appears to be like very best from the rear.

Kyle Hyatt/Roadshow

The milquetoast choice

The 2020 Lexus NX commences at $37,895, together with $one,025 for place, which just barely undercuts rivals like the Acura RDX and Infiniti QX50, and arrives in a couple thousand considerably less than the BMW X3 and Mercedes-Benz GLC300. All loaded up, this F-Sport tester expenditures $52,307. Which is a whole lot, specifically when you consider the opponents are mainly much more participating to travel and provide much more stylish cabins with much better multimedia devices.

There are plenty of customers who prioritize comfort and demonstrated high-quality higher than items like driving dynamics or (subjectively) great appears to be like, and for them, the NX is a solid — if tedious — alternative. This is hoping the new NX keeps people rhythms intact when it comes in 2021, but we would like it if it brought a bit much more verve and much better infotainment tech to the party, far too.

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