CRITICS' CORNER

Lexus' upscale NX small crossover

Toyota's Lexus division started the luxury crossover trend in the 1990s with the RX 300. Now, the Japanese luxury brand is dipping its toe downmarket with a smaller, less expensive upscale crossover. This one, based on the best-selling Toyota RAV4, has been given the full Lexus treatment, with different powertrains, spiffier interior and retooled chassis and suspension. Here is a sampling of some recent reviews:

"We were particularly keen to see how this twin-scroll-turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder would motivate 4021 pounds of crossover. It uses two injectors per cylinder and an integrated four-into-two exhaust manifold said to reduce lag, and it mates to a new six-speed automatic transmission. ...

"The numbers we got at the track won't exactly light your hair on fire, the NX accelerating from zero to 60 mph in 6.9 seconds and hitting the quarter-mile in 15.3 seconds at 92 mph. That 60-mph time ties that of the last Q5 2.0T we tested yet lags more than 0.7 second behind both the lighter BMW X1 xDrive28i and the heavier X3 with the same engine. Despite Lexus's work to reduce turbo lag, lag is indeed present, evident in a rolling-start (5-60 mph) acceleration time of 7.8 seconds, 0.8 and 0.2 second behind the X3 and Q5, respectively." -- Car and Driver

Article: Aggro design promises more than the hardware delivers

"Roughly the size of a Q5 or X3, the NX is still longer and wider than the original 1999 RX 300. In two generations since then, Lexus' mainstay has grown; today's RX 350 is 5.5 inches longer than the NX. It's also more than 230 pounds heavier than Lexus' new smallest SUV, whose lighter weight benefits drivability and efficiency. The NX 200t's 235-horsepower, turbo four-cylinder speeds ahead with sufficient punch, and its six-speed automatic performs better than the RX's clumsy transmission, holding lower gears and kicking down adeptly. Using Lexus' familiar Drive Mode Select, the Eco and Normal modes introduce occasional gear-hunting in passing maneuvers, but Sport mode imbues the transmission with satisfying decisiveness." -- Cars.com

Article: Expert Reviews: 2015 Lexus NX220t

"Prices start at $35,405, including a destination charge of $925. You're unlikely to find one with those numbers on the window sticker, though, considering that leather upholstery, heated and ventilated front seats, a navigation system, Lexus Enform smartphone integration and services, a premium sound system, power moonroof, and power rear liftgate are all extra, and spread across several upgrade packages. Add all-wheel drive, a blind spot monitoring system with rear cross-traffic alert, parking assist sensors, and dynamic radar cruise control with pre-collision braking, and you're spending about $45,000.

"My test vehicle was the NX 200t F Sport with AWD, painted Obsidian, and equipped with Rioja Red NuLuxe leatherette upholstery, a heated F Sport steering wheel, a power sunroof, blind spot monitoring with rear cross-traffic alert, a Comfort Package, and a Navigation Package. The grand total came to $43,460." -- New York Daily News

Article: Review: 2015 Lexus NX is brave shot at a new image for Lexus

"That schnoz, it's all about that damn schnoz. On the Lexus NX200t and NX300h Hybrid, it's the first thing you see: this huge and leering mesh grille in full 3D, jutting out like a knife, dominating an entire front end otherwise made up of jagged edges, creases and lights that don't quite align. We've seen this grille before, even the CT200h now sports what Lexus calls the ‘spindle grille,' but in the NX we'd feel more apropos calling that gigantic leering grille ‘rage incarnate.' Like it could pass for HR Giger's fish tank. Like it could devour us alive.

"There's a genuinely new product behind that child-scarring grille. This is Lexus's first entry into the compact luxury crossover segment, a segment populated by letters and numbers: Q5, X3, GLK, RDX, Porsche Macan. It is the car for young, trendy urbanites who aren't willing to surrender to suburban life with the RX, but need more room than the IS. This is a Lexus that's 90 percent new, with a turbocharged 2.0-liter engine that will surely spread its wings across the rest of the Lexus lineup. This is "Premium Urban Sports Gear," as we were told before driving it."-- Autoweek

Article: 2015 Lexus NX drive review

"The NX shares a platform with the Toyota RAV4, but so much has been upgraded, strengthened, or modified that the two vehicles don't feel related (this is a good thing). The two crossovers do ride on the same wheelbase, but the NX is slightly longer and about 500 lbs heavier. Flip the NX on its lid like a turtle and you'll find additional stiffening braces across the width of the frame -- responsible for some of the extra heft. Although the geometry of the suspension is the same, some of the mounts, as well as the links themselves, have been re-tooled for stiffness and more accurate tolerances. All this fussing is evident on a twisty road." -- Road & Track

Article: 5 things we learned driving the 2015 Lexus NX

You can reach at autonews@crain.com. -- Follow on Twitter

25

Shares

Newsletters