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

Ah of course, the spindle grille. 

Kyle Hyatt/Roadshow

It can be generally fascinating to evaluation a vehicle in the very last yr ahead of its significant refresh. By this place, the engineers and designers and bean-counters have possible reached a consensus that the vehicle has come as far as it can. It can be as superior as it will at any time be. Which is the circumstance with the Lexus NX, which entered generation in 2014.


  • Comfortable ride
  • Impressive checklist of normal safety tech
  • Buttery-delicate leather-based

Really don’t Like

  • Awful infotainment tech
  • Underpowered compared to competition
  • Interior structure is a little bit odd

Now that everyone’s a home baker, I am going to existing this analogy: The 2020 Lexus NX is like a high-quality loaf of bread that another person took a great deal of time and hard work to make with superior components, but they forgot to add salt. In other terms, the NX does anything a compact luxury crossover need to do: It carries individuals in convenience, gives tons of home for cargo and is adorned with pleasant products. There just just isn’t substantially in the way of taste.

F Activity in name only

The NX 300 F Activity analyzed here is the top-shelf non-hybrid NX. It packs a 2.-liter turbocharged I4 engine with a not-just-course-leading 235 horsepower and 258 pound-toes of torque, the latter of which is out there from 1,650 rpm. Ability goes to all four wheels through a 6-velocity automatic transmission, with steering wheel-mounted paddle shifters.

On paper, that 6-velocity transmission appears previous-fashioned, notably in the deal with of extra present day 8- and 9-velocity models offered by most of the Lexus’ competition. In practice, nevertheless, it functions just high-quality. Shifts are sleek and properly timed.

Obtaining fewer gears would not really harm the NX 300’s gas financial state relative to its competitors, possibly. With all-wheel drive, the Lexus is rated at 22 miles for each gallon metropolis, 27 mpg freeway and 24 mpg put together, which is about on par with the Acura RDX, Infiniti QX50 and Mercedes-Benz GLC300. For the duration of my testing, I was equipped to get shut to that 24-mpg put together rating without having substantially hard work.

The 2.-liter turbo engine produces 235 horsepower and 258 pound-toes of torque.

Kyle Hyatt/Roadshow

The NX’s chassis is properly sorted. The normal drive method does a superior task of smoothing out freeway enlargement joints and LA’s shockingly gnarly drainage dips at intersections, and this tester has the optional adaptive dampers, which permit you to dial up a Activity method, but it would not adjust points all that substantially.

But irrespective of the F Activity badge, the NX would not really lend by itself to spirited driving. Although I like the convenience level that the NX’s chassis supplies, I feel much less heat and fuzzy about the steering, which, although far from sloppy, gives minimal in the way of opinions to the driver. In quick, the NX 300 has a ride befitting the Lexus badge on its nose, but if you are following some on-road persona, greatest to look elsewhere.

The finer points, mainly

The NX’s exterior styling is aggressive by compact SUV criteria, but it appears to be proper at home in Lexus’ lineup. From the aspect, the NX is effectively-proportioned and athletic, and points also look decent close to back, with sharp taillights and a extraordinary crease at the beltline.

Sadly, the NX’s entrance stop requires some acquiring utilised to. Lexus’ spindle grille, also recognized as the Predator grille, is quite polarizing even now, virtually a ten years following its introduction. Fortunately, Lexus is bit by bit figuring out how to successfully combine that unwieldy schnoz on to some of its styles like the new ES and LS. Do I appreciate it on the NX? Nope. But styling is subjective, so your mileage might range.

Inside of, points improve noticeably. The cabin’s structure is a minimal hectic, and the interior feels darkish and extra cramped than it need to, but the products and make top quality are absolutely nothing quick of Lexus-great. All of the car’s leather-based touchpoints are buttery delicate and add to an air of top quality. The plastics are high-quality, but I would fairly see some extra serious products like steel or wooden, even if they are utilised sparingly.

The NX’s seats are comfy, supportive and guarantee to hold driver tiredness at bay for extended drives. Weirdly, Lexus only gives leather-based seating on the Top quality styles and up, so my F Activity design arrives with black Nu-Luxe materials (aka phony leather-based), though it can be at minimum perforated. Seat heating and cooling are normal on NX Luxurious styles, but are optional on anything else, which includes this F Activity.

The rear seating location just isn’t just large, but with a minimal finagling, I was equipped to squeeze in behind my normal entrance seating posture (I’m six toes, four inches tall, so that is declaring one thing). The cargo location is respectably roomy, way too, though the electricity opening and closing tailgate just isn’t normal, as it need to be on one thing at this selling price. It can be an added $four hundred if you want the electricity tailgate on the F Activity add an additional $150 if you want the kick-beneath-the-bumper-to-open up sensor.

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

Kyle Hyatt/Roadshow

Terrible infotainment, but tons of normal safety tech

The NX 300’s major weakness is its infotainment tech. The Lexus Enform procedure is — and generally has been — awful. It can be awkward to use many thanks to the haptic opinions touchpad on the center console, and the procedure just isn’t notably responsive or easy to use, in particular although driving. Apple CarPlay and Android Vehicle compatibility go a very long way in direction of making the practical experience ignorable, fortunately, but Lexus really needs to give this procedure a rethink, and rapidly. At minimum a Wi-Fi hotspot is normal.

Fortunately, the optional 835-watt Mark Levinson audio procedure remains awesome, and a worthwhile choice if you care about your new music (or really like listening to Ira Glass’ odd mouth noises in High definition, you weirdo). The Mark Levinson package deal also nets you the upgraded 10.3-inch widescreen infotainment exhibit, although the normal display is only 8 inches.

Lexus deserves a great deal of credit score for its safety tech roster, and the 2020, the Protection Program Furthermore 2. with road-indicator recognition and lane-tracing support is normal throughout the NX variety. Other highlights of the Lexus’ driver-help suite include normal automatic unexpected emergency braking, adaptive cruise command, lane-trying to keep support and automatic large beams.

Lexus also contains three yrs of Enform Protection Connect, which contains automatic collision notification, stolen car notification and an unexpected emergency help button. It also receives you a three-yr trial of Lexus Enform Remote, which allows you command selected car features (lock/unlock, climate command and so forth) through your iOS or Android machine with an application.

The NX arguably appears to be greatest from the rear.

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The milquetoast choice

The 2020 Lexus NX commences at $37,895, which includes $1,025 for vacation spot, which just scarcely undercuts rivals like the Acura RDX and Infiniti QX50, and arrives in a number of thousand much less than the BMW X3 and Mercedes-Benz GLC300. All loaded up, this F-Activity tester costs $fifty two,307. Which is a great deal, in particular when you contemplate the competition are mainly extra participating to drive and supply extra trendy cabins with much better multimedia methods.

There are a great deal of prospective buyers who prioritize convenience and demonstrated top quality over points like driving dynamics or (subjectively) superior appears to be, and for them, the NX is a strong — if boring — preference. Here is hoping the new NX keeps individuals rhythms intact when it comes in 2021, but we would appreciate it if it introduced a little bit extra verve and much better infotainment tech to the celebration, way too.