Seat Time: 2015 Lexus NX

August 19th, 2014 at 3:00pm

2015 Lexus NX 200t

Seat Time is a chance for us to share our impressions of vehicles being tested in the Autoline Garage and at media previews from around the globe.

Reviewer: Seamus McElroy
Manufacturer: Toyota
Make: Lexus
Model: NX
Type: Small Crossover
Competitors: Mercedes-Benz GLK, BMW X3, Audi Q5
Price: Not Available
Made in: Kyushu, Japan
Drivetrain: 2.0L four-cylinder turbo w/ six-speed automatic. 2.5L four-cylinder hybrid w/ CVT.
EPA Ratings: All MPG numbers are estimated. 2.0L (FWD) – 22 city/ 28 highway/ 24 combined. 2.0L (AWD) – 21 city/ 28 highway/ 24 combined. 2.5L (FWD) – 35 city/ 31 highway/ 33 combined. 2.5L (AWD) – 33 city/ 30 highway/ 32 combined.

Final Impression:

2015 Lexus NX 200tLexus is jumping into the small crossover segment later this year with the all-new NX. The company is aiming to sell around 3,000 a month in the U.S. or about 36,000 a year.

The NX is built on the same platform as the Toyota RAV-4 but 90% of the parts have been newly engineered for the luxury CUV. Lexus offers two powertrains for the NX. A 2.0L turbocharged four-cylinder, the first gasoline turbo in the company’s line-up, which is mated to a six-speed automatic. The other engine is 2.5L four-cylinder hybrid that’s mated to a CVT. Each engine is offered in front and all-wheel drive. Fuel economy for the turbo ranges from the low twenties in the city to the high twenties on the highway. And the hybrid’s ratings range from the mid-thirties in the city to the low thirties on the highway. All fuel economy numbers are estimates.

There is also an F-Sport version of the NX which is equipped with the turbo powertrain. It comes with a different styled grille, bolstered seats, different wheel options, interior styling and trim to give the CUV a sportier look.

Not surprisingly, the turbo is the more fun choice. It has plenty of power and responds instantly when you put your foot into the accelerator. It offers three different driving modes that the driver can select from with a rotary button. Each one does a good job adjusting the driving dynamics to your liking. The hybrid isn’t limited in its capabilities but it doesn’t have the fun to drive factor as the turbo, especially the F-Sport.

Unlike BMW and Mercedes which feature rotary knobs to control the infotainment system, the NX features a touchpad to use controls. I played with it for a bit and it worked well and didn’t lag. But if you don’t want to use that there are buttons on the steering wheel or in the center stack area. Overall, the interior is well laid out and there is plenty of passenger room, including in the rear.

Pricing for the NX hasn’t been released yet but for what it’s worth Lexus says it will start under $40,000. Look for official pricing info closer to its launch at the end of the year.

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