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2015 Lexus NX

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2015 Lexus NX Review

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All-new for 2015, the Lexus NX is the Japanese luxury manufacturer's foray into the burgeoning subcompact-luxury- crossover SUV class of cars. Loosely based on the Toyota RAV4, the new Lexus NX 200t and NX 300h hybrid are sharp-looking, fun-driving and surprisingly roomy considering their tidy external dimensions. An interior punching well above its weight in design, materials and technology lends an air of sophistication that belies the price, which starts in the mid- $30,000 range. That’s higher than rivals Audi Q3, BMW X1 and Mercedes GLA-Class. The new Lexus NX 300h hybrid includes a kick-down for better throttle response, and uses an electric motor to power the rear wheels in all-wheel-drive models. Meanwhile, the NX 200t showcases the first-ever turbocharged engine for Lexus.

You'll Like This Car If...

If the idea of an eye-catching, comfortable and technologically sophisticated compact-luxury-crossover SUV sounds good to you, but you crave the reliability that's synonymous with the name "Lexus," then the new Lexus NX 200t or NX 300h may be just what you're looking for.

You May Not Like This Car If...

Cargo space and towing capacity aren't strong suits for the new Lexus NX. If you find yourself antiquing on weekends, or if you want to do a little high-class camping, a larger vehicle may be better. Then there's the aggressive styling, which isn't everybody's cup of tea.

What's New for 2015

The 2015 Lexus NX 200t and Lexus NX 300h are all-new vehicles to the Lexus lineup of luxury-crossover SUVs, slotting into the lineup below the popular Lexus RX 350 in both size and price.

Driving the NX
Driving Impressions

Lexus has certainly taken the fun-to-drive factor implied by the aggressive styling on the new NX 200t and NX 300h hybrid seriously. Of the two engines, it's no surprise that...

... the 200t, with its powerful turbocharged 2.0-liter 4-cylinder, is the more entertaining of the two. The little engine pours out power smoothly and evenly, resulting in brisk acceleration despite the nearly 4,000 pounds it has to haul around. The hybrid NX 300h doesn't feel quite as snappy, thanks to less power and more weight, but neither does it feel like a rolling roadblock, and we appreciated the quick response when you floor the throttle and engage the "kick-down" switch for maximum power. Fuel economy from the hybrid was good, but don't expect Prius-levels of fuel sipping.

2.0-LITER TURBOCHARGED 4-CYLINDER ENGINE
The first-ever turbocharged 4-cylinder from Lexus in the new NX 200t is brimming with modern technology. For example, the turbocharger is built into the exhaust manifold, reducing turbo lag – the pause between when you put your foot down and when you get power – to almost unnoticeable levels.

DESIGN
What we love about the design of the new Lexus NX is that it's so far outside the usual safe-design comfort zone we associate with Lexus. The dramatic lines and plentiful details – check out those taillights! – are never dull, regardless of your opinion.

2015 Lexus NX Details
2015 Lexus NX photo Interior

Like the exterior, there's a lot going on inside the new Lexus NX. The dash is covered in a stitched material, and nearly every other surface is either soft or padded, lending an air of higher class than you're paying for. But it's also busy, with multiple levels, cutlines, materials and finishes that can be distracting. Beyond appearances though, it's comfortable and quiet enough to be called a Lexus. The new touch-pad interface for the Remote Touch works well, and retains the haptic "thump" you get when putting the cursor over one of the on-screen buttons.

Exterior
2015 Lexus NX photo

Know how Lexus vehicles are understated to the point of being boring? Part of the mission of the 2015 Lexus NX is to make you forget that ever happened. From the dramatically gaping grille, to the intricately detailed LED headlights, to the 3-dimensional sculpting of the taillights that you have to touch to really understand, the new Lexus NX is almost the anti-Lexus when it comes to dramatic styling. It doesn't always work – the nose, for example, protrudes Durante-like in profile – but overall it's a nicely executed and welcome break from Lexus vehicles that came before it.

Notable Equipment
Standard Equipment

As befitting a premium luxury brand, the 2015 Lexus NX comes very nicely equipped. In addition to power seats, dual-zone automatic climate control, and leather-wrapped steering wheel and shift knob, the new Lexus NX comes standard with Lexus Display Audio, with a 7-inch screen, voice recognition and the ability to divide the screen into three sections. Other cool touches include LED lighting inside, LED low-beam headlights outside and LED taillights. A standard Drive Mode Select knob optimizes throttle response among Normal, Eco and Sport modes, and advanced stability control and plenty of airbags are all part of the deal as well.

Optional Equipment

There are plenty of high-tech options for the new Lexus NX. Chief among them are all-wheel drive, available in either the NX 200t or NX 300h hybrid. A Navigation Package also includes the Lexus Enform app system, which adds Bing, Yelp, iHeartRadio and other apps to your Lexus, plus the new Remote Touch Interface touch-pad controller. A leather package adds leather-trimmed seats, and includes the Comfort and Premium packages, which feature driver's-seat memory, and heated and ventilated front seats. The F Sport package adds aluminum pedals, a sport-tuned suspension, special badges and trim, contrast-stitched seats and more.

Under the Hood

You can have your 2015 Lexus NX with one of two drivetrains, in either front-wheel drive (FWD) or all-wheel drive (AWD). Standard on the new Lexus NX 200t is an all-new turbocharged 2.0-liter 4-cylinder engine. With 235 horsepower and 258 lb-ft of torque, it's plenty adequate to get this small crossover SUV moving. Whether you choose FWD or AWD, power's routed through a 6-speed automatic transmission on the NX 200t. Alternatively, there's the Lexus NX 300h hybrid, with its combination of 2.5-liter 4-cylinder and electric motor putting out a total of 194 horsepower in FWD or AWD. This runs through a continuously variable automatic transmission (CVT), but with a twist: floor the throttle, and it activates a "kick-down" switch, immediately giving you full power.

2.0-liter turbocharged inline-4
235 horsepower @ 5,700 rpm
258 lb-ft of torque @ 1,650-4,000 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 22/28 mpg, 22/27 (F Sport)

2.5-liter inline-4 engine + electric motor
Engine:
154 horsepower @ 5,700 rpm
152 lb-ft of torque @ 4,400 rpm
Front Electric Motor:
141 horsepower
Rear Electric Motor (AWD only):
67 horsepower
Net output: 194 horsepower
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 35/31 mpg (FWD), 33/30 mpg (AWD)

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