by: Mike Ginsca
The crossover, or small SUV, segment doesn’t seem to show any signs of slowing down. Nearly all auto manufacturers have a crossover vehicle in their lineup and the latest addition to the list is Lexus with their brand new NX200t.
Performance – The NX starts at just under $41,000 CAD which makes it the least expensive crossover vehicle in the luxury segment. The Audi Q5, BMW X3, Volvo XC60, and Acura RDX are all between $700 – $2,500 CAD more expensive than the Lexus. For your money you get a 2.0L turbocharged 4-cylinder engine that is mated to a 6-speed automatic transmission which sends its power to the front wheels. Power is rated at 235hp and 258 lb-ft of torque with fuel economy being a very respectable 10.8 L/100km in a city and 8.8 L/100km on a highway. Although the Lexus NX200t weighs in at 1755kg, the torque from the engine makes the NX feel like as though it is powered by a V6 instead of an efficient 4-cylinder. Power is available at very low rpms and before you realize it, you’re already going at the speed limit. If you’re wanting to go a little bit faster, there is an all-wheel-drive option on the NX200t, as equipped on this test vehicle. The AWD system reduces the 0-100km/h sprint by a few tenths of a second from 7.0 seconds.
The driving characteristics of the NX200t are very good for a vehicle of this size. The suspension is set up in such a way that it provides a good amount of comfort but without sacrificing driving dynamics. Obviously it’s not a sports sedan and the body rolls a bit through corners but it feels stable and the AWD system provides a lot of traction. There is an F-Sport package available which further stiffens the suspension and adds steering wheel mounted paddle shifters but with the standard suspension, the NX200t is already a capable vehicle.
Like most Lexus vehicles, the NX200t is fitted with multiple drive modes. In Eco mode, the engine response is lazy and the transmission quickly upshifts to top gear in order to reduce the engine rpms and save fuel. On the opposite side of the spectrum in Sport mode, the transmission holds each gear for a little longer which in turn allows the engine to be in the “sweet spot” where torque and power from the turbocharger is available instantly. And finally there is Normal mode which balances the other modes into one and this will most likely be the mode that most owners will leave the NX200t in when driving around a city.
Comfort – Speaking of driving in a city, most are riddled with potholes and uneven road surfaces that will shatter bones. But thanks to the suspension of the Lexus NX200t, the ride comfort is one of the best out of all other crossovers. As mentioned earlier, it is stiff enough to provide a dynamic driving experience but it also absorbs bumps like a sponge. In addition, there are also the unbelievably soft seats that further add to the comfort. The leather in the NX200t has to be the softest leather I’ve ever had my backside on. The engineers also put this soft leather on surfaces that a driver or passenger would touch on a regular basis such as the shifter, door panels, on the center console where the knee touches it, and on the dashboard.
The look of the cabin follows the same design language as most new Lexus models which in turn take their inspiration from the LFA supercar. The center console converges into the dashboard and is accented by a central mounted analog clock and a large display at the top of the dashboard which unfortunately doesn’t retract for a cleaner look. Climate and audio controls have physical buttons but those systems along with satellite navigation, Bluetooth, and other features are controlled via a console mounted touchpad. The Lexus NX200t is also available with a heads up display which allows the driver to never take his or her eyes off the road. The HUD can display a digital tachometer, the vehicle speed, and the current fuel consumption. In the back seats, passengers have a lot of head and leg room. The rear seats can also recline in addition to folding electronically at the push of a button. Trunk space however is something that you may be wanting for more. The NX has a high trunk floor and due to the sloping rear tailgate window, large boxy items may not fit in the trunk with the seats in the upright position.
Odds and Ends – The sloping rear window is just one of the unique exterior styling features that sets the NX200t apart from other crossovers. The new Lexus “hourglass” grille is very prominent in the front bumper and the Lexus “L” shape can be seen in nearly every detail of the NX. This shape is most visible in the daytime running lights, low-beam headlights, and taillights. This is a crossover that you will not lose in a parking lot… no matter how hard you try.
So for just under $41,000 CAD, you do get quite a lot of vehicle. Yes, once you add some packages such as the Executive package as this test vehicle is fitted with which includes radar guided cruise control, rear cross traffic alert, blind side monitor, lane keeping warning, and pre-collision system among other features, the price jumps to over $53,000 CAD and can go up as high as $59,500 CAD for the hybrid model. However at that $53,000 CAD price tag, it is still less expensive than the competition when fitted with the same equipment. Overall the new Lexus NX200t is a very good all-round vehicle. The only demerit on it is the iota of trunk space but other than that, it is one of the best new vehicles on the market today.
Thank you to Regency Lexus for providing the vehicle.