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2016 Lexus NX: New Car Review

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ADDITIONAL MODEL INFORMATION

author photo by Autotrader May 2016

The 2016 Lexus NX premium compact crossover was totally new in 2015 and has already become a hit. While other Lexus SUVs appeal to more mature and conservative types, this one is aimed at younger shoppers with active lifestyles.

Based on the Toyota RAV4, the NX brings modern styling, turbocharged or hybrid power, a high-end interior, plenty of modern features, a wide range of safety equipment and a cockpitlike driving feel similar to a BMW. Despite its sporty pitch, though, the NX doesn't feel especially muscular. And the substantial premium Lexus is charging for the NX 300h hybrid model is somewhat disappointing.

What's New for 2016?

The subscription-only Lexus Enform Remote and Service Connect systems are now available.

What We Like

Excellent interior quality; roomy rear seat and cargo area; reasonable starting price; fantastic Lexus reputation for service and reliability

What We Don't

Mediocre powertrains; pricey hybrid variant; no Apple CarPlay or Android Auto

How Much?

$35,915-$40,670

Fuel Economy

Base-level NX 200t models use a 2.0-liter turbocharged 4-cylinder making 235 horsepower and 258 lb-ft of torque. This is linked to a 6-speed automatic transmission. Front-wheel drive is standard; all-wheel drive is optional.

With front-wheel drive, fuel consumption is estimated by the Environmental Protection Agency at 22 miles per gallon in the city and 28 mpg on the highway. All-wheel drive adjusts those figures slightly to 22 mpg city/28 mpg hwy. The all-wheel-drive F SPORT version is rated at 22 mpg city/27 mpg hwy.

In the hybrid-powered NX 300h, a 2.5-liter 4-cylinder gasoline engine works with an electric motor for a total system output of 194 hp. It uses a continuously variable transmission but with the same choices of driven wheels. Fuel consumption is rated at 35 mpg city/31 mpg hwy with front-wheel drive and 33 mpg city/32 mpg hwy when using all-wheel drive.

Standard Features & Options

The 2016 Lexus NX comes in two versions differentiated by drivetrains: the turbocharged NX 200t and the hybrid NX 300h.

The NX 200t ($35,915) has 17-inch alloy wheels, keyless entry and ignition, automatic LED headlights, LED brake/fog/running lights, dual-zone automatic climate control, synthetic leather upholstery, an auto-dimming rearview mirror, heated side mirrors, a leather-wrapped steering wheel, a 10-way power adjustable driver's seat, an 8-way power adjustable front passenger seat, a cargo cover, a rearview camera, a 4.2-in thin-film-transistor driver display, Bluetooth, a 7-in central display screen, Siri-based voice controls for drivers with iPhones, an 8-speaker audio system, satellite radio, HD Radio, an auxiliary input and a USB/iPod interface.

Aside from its hybrid drivetrain, the NX 300h ($40,670) offers the same equipment as the NX 200t, along with a power adjustable steering wheel.

There's a wide array of options, ranging from 18-in alloy wheels and a power sunroof to heated and ventilated front seats, leather upholstery, automatic wipers, a power lift gate, a heated steering wheel, navigation, parking sensors and adaptive cruise control. The F SPORT package (not available with the hybrid) also brings a sport-tuned suspension.

Cargo space behind the NX 200t's rear seats is 54.6 cu ft. when they're folded down. Naturally, the NX 300h has to accommodate some hybrid hardware, so it offers 53.7 cu ft. Neither model's space is that great, and the sloped roof compromises practicality a little further.

Safety

Standard safety features include a comprehensive array of airbags, traction/stability control and a rearview camera. Options range from adaptive cruise control to a blind spot monitoring system with rear cross-traffic alert, lane-departure warning and frontal pre-collision warning technology with automatic braking.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has awarded the NX an overall score of a maximum five stars, with four stars for front impacts and five for side impacts. And the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety named the NX a Top Safety Pick+ after it aced every category.

Behind the Wheel

Although Lexus is pitching the NX as a sporty alternative to its other luxury crossovers, it doesn't quite convince. The basic 4-cylinder offers tepid acceleration (standstill to 60 miles per hour in 7 seconds), and there's no option for a more muscular engine. The hybrid is even slower (standstill to 60 mph in 9.1 seconds). Handling is taut and together, but it's hardly in the realm of sporty crossovers like the Audi SQ5, the Porsche Macan or the BMW X3.

The NX should, however, be praised for its interior comfort in both the front and the back. Strip away the sporty branding, and this seems like yet another luxurious, comfortable Lexus SUV, mainly because that's exactly what it is. Rear passengers get special treatment, as Lexus has managed to incorporate more rear legroom than most rivals.

The NX is not the sporty SUV Lexus wants it to be, but for drivers interested in a luxurious, reliable alternative to high-performance crossovers, that's not such a bad thing.

Other Cars to Consider

2016 Acura RDX -- A popular rival to the NX, this luxury compact crossover offers excellent technology and strong V6 power.

2016 BMW X3 -- A new generation of the X3 debuted for the 2016 model year and has immediately become the class leader.

2016 Lincoln MKC -- The MKC combines excellent technology with a smooth, comfortable ride.

2016 Mercedes-Benz GLC -- Based on the C-Class, this model replaces the GLK and comes with an extremely well-executed package.

Used Lexus RX -- Shoppers who need a little more space than the NX should look at a used RX, which offers plenty of amenities, including an optional hybrid powertrain.

Used BMW X5 -- If you prefer a truly sporting character, consider a pre-owned X5, which offers greater room than the NX, as well as far more impressive handling and acceleration.

Autotrader's Advice

Spending nearly $5,000 more on the NX 300h just to achieve an extra 8 or so mpg doesn't seem like a smart move. We think you'd be better off going with the NX 200t and shelling out for a few extras such as heated seats and a power tailgate.

Find a Lexus NX for sale

RELATED INVENTORY
Saving this vehicle to yourMy Autotrader account
Are you sure you want to delete?
Certified 2016 Lexus NX Models AWD
Certified 2016 Lexus NX Models
$36,900
Saving this vehicle to yourMy Autotrader account
Are you sure you want to delete?
Certified 2016 Lexus NX Models AWD
Certified 2016 Lexus NX Models
$37,900
Saving this vehicle to yourMy Autotrader account
Are you sure you want to delete?
Used 2016 Lexus NX Models AWD
Used 2016 Lexus NX Models
$30,500
Saving this vehicle to yourMy Autotrader account
Are you sure you want to delete?
Certified 2016 Lexus NX Models AWD
Certified 2016 Lexus NX Models
$28,483
This image is a stock photo and is not an exact representation of any vehicle offered for sale. Advertised vehicles of this model may have styling, trim levels, colors and optional equipment that differ from the stock photo.
2016 Lexus NX: New Car Review - Autotrader