Compact Lexus NX300 Luxury a combines a premium, prestige feel with turbo power and sound driving dynamics
What is it?
Lexus’ compact NX SUV, tested here in NX300 Luxury form, with all-wheel drive.
What’s it cost?
The Lexus NX range offers a number of models in two and all-wheel drive, with a choice of turbo petrol and hybrid petrol drivetrains. In summary, though, the range starts with the NX300 Luxury front-wheel drive which is priced from $54,800 and peaks with the NX300h Sports Luxury which is priced from $76,300 plus on road costs.
The NX300 Luxury all-wheel drive we sampled costs $59,300 plus on roads. The standard equipment list is generous: you get autonomous emergency braking, adaptive cruise, lane departure warning, a power tailgate, push button start, satellite navigation, leather and electrically adjustable and heated front seats.
What’s it go like?
The Lexus NX300 is powered by a 2.0 litre turbocharged and intercooled petrol engine that develops 175kW @ 5600rpm and 350Nm @ 1650-4000rpm. That engine is mated to a six-speed automatic that sends power to an on demand all-wheel drive system.
Performance from that engine is strong and effortless, largely due to that wide powerband. Overtaking is quick and easy at any speed and the NX300 can be surprisingly strong off the line, and the six-speed automatic is adept at keeping things on the boil. There are flappy paddles on the steering wheel should you wish to become more involved with proceedings.
Lexus claims an official fuel consumption of 7.9 litres per 100 kilometres on a combined cycle. We managed around 10 lites
Handling is rather neutral for a small SUV. The NX is nimble around town with its light but relatively communicative steering, and it makes a good highway cruiser with a great feeling of solidity. Body roll is kept in check and the ride is firm but comfortable.
Should you wish to traverse a less-than-grippy surface, you can take comfort in knowing there’s lock button that’ll hopefully get you out of a sticky situation.
Perhaps our only quip is that there is a little too much engine and road noise that filters through to the cabin, slightly detracting from the NX300’s otherwise premium and classy feel.
What’s it like inside?
Slip into the driver’s seat and it feels like the NX’s interior wraps around you. It’s snug without being cramped. Head and legroom is more than sufficient and those seats are soft and comfortable. That tiered dashboard design is rather clever, as all switches fall easily to hand. And, no, the infotainment system doesn’t offer touchscreen compatibility, you must operate the system through a touchpad and buttons or voice control.
The system is easy enough to use with a little familiarisation, but like all Lexus systems, it’s crying out for touch compatibility, especially as while the voice control function is generally useful, it can require specific commands or can have difficulty recognising speech.
Similarly, and again, like all Lexus models, the NX300 is crying out for Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. The stereo itself, though, is quite decent, with quality and powerful sound.
As you’d expect from such a marque, fit, finish and use of materials are excellent throughout with soft touch high quality plastics and taut nicely finished leather.
Hop into the back and you’ll notice the rear bench is plush and supportive and passengers are afforded generous leg and decent head room. Due to the car’s size, three adults across the bench may be a squeeze, and we’d suggest it’d be better suited to two in great comfort.
The cargo compartment has a completely flat floor and is accessed via an electrically operated tailgate.
What we like:
- Strong performance from that turbo engine
- Cleverly executed, well-made and high quality interior
- Overall comfort
- Pleasant driving dynamics
What we don’t:
- That turbo engine is powerful, but it can lack polish
- Road noise at times
- Infotainment system can be clunky to use and it’s crying out for Apple CarPlay and Android Auto
- You need to unlock all the doors before opening the tailgate
The Lexus NX300 is a luxurious, decent drive that manages to make its occupants feel special. Worth a look.