Above: This Week’s Car Review – 2020 LEXUS NX 300 F-Sport AWD SUV, A Gay Family Favourite
2020 LEXUS NX F-Sport FULL REVIEW
LEXUS is one of those brands that may seem ubiquitous, but actually sells in fairly small numbers, with their best-selling offering being NX.
NX is a medium sized SUV with bells and whistles galore.
It comes in front, or All-Wheel-Drive, with either a 2.0L Petrol engine, or 2.5L hybrid. The Hybrid has a decent CVT automatic, and the 2.0L Turbo has a smooth 6-speed automatic.
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On the Outside:
NX looks modern, with chic detailing and a wedge-like chunkiness about it. Although beauty is in the eyes of the beholder, the angles shape subtle plays of light which change as the body moves. It is sturdy too, and I like that.
Headlights have the same stacked LED affair that RC Coupes have. THE LED cells operate independently as oncoming cars go across your field of vision. This cleverly keeps that driver in a pool of quiet and calm.
NX is wrapped around the previous Toyota group platform, on which the last RAV4 was also based. Don’t let that put you off though, it is a stunning looking thing.
The cabin is a delicious concoction of surfaces and materials that are calming and cosy, like meditating on an ashram, without the travel. Aluminium provides a pleasing place for eyes to rest, and seats and doors have been lavished with sumptuous, soft, leather. Simulated leather on high-wear areas is barely discernable from the real thing, and is set against the glint from classy metal knobs and buttons.
Driver instruments are a mix of analogue and LCD displays, but there is no HUD in the mid-range F-Sport, worst luck. Come on LEXUS, that’s a bit rich considering a MAZDA3 has that in all models.
A super-wide 10” LCD screen dominates the centre stack, and now comes with Apple CarPlay. It makes the control pad between the front seats a little easier to use. You can use voice control, but that often takes quite a bit of getting used to. Siri performs flawlessly while you’re in cell range, and that is my best bit of advice.
A lot of thought was put into glare from sunlight too. Surfaces are matte to prevent nasty surprises. How often have you been driving along minding your own business, and a bright flash stuns you? Not only is it really annoying, but it could be dangerous.
NX is chock-full of tasty goodies for both convenience and safety.
Apart from Apple CarPlay, you can stream music via USB and Bluetooth, and a bunch of different map apps. Google and Apple maps, as well as Ways will show up on the centre stack, but only the built-in navigation can be seen in the driver display.
NX gets the full suite of LEXUS safety which includes steering assistance for lane centering, and blind spot when lane changing. The smart cruise control includes queue assistance and will operate at city traffic speeds.
On the road:
Although NX is in the sunset of its lifecycle, it shows no signs of aging. While some may not like the grille, few can argue the cloud-like ride is first class.
The 6-speed automatic is missing a few cogs too. There is a 10-speed in the LC and LS models, and an 8-speed in other models too. Despite this, the 6-cog unit is supremely smooth and is still preferable to the CVT in Hybrid drivetrains.
Our F-Sport AWD comes with a 2.0L turbo with 175kw/350Nm. That is plenty to get it moving fast without being stupidly powerful. Fuel usage of 7.7 litres/100km with 2WD and 7.9 litres/100km with Dynamic Torque Control AWD, is decent. Hybrids lower that dramatically.
NX steering is delightfully light, and adds weight with drive mode selection. The suspension changes as well, and stiffens up, but not to the point of hard-as-rock ride in sports cars. One mode can be customised to your personal tastes.
NX is great in town, and rides like a limo on the open road. There is more than enough space for a bunch of stuff in the back, but that might make reclining the rear seats a bit difficult.
There is enough space in the rear seats to get really comfortable, and front seats have heating and cooling.
I love the quiet calm of the cabin, but road noise is noticeable on those rubbish course chip highways. They might be great for slewing water out of the way, but it makes life unpleasant otherwise.
Let’s face it, the Paris-Hilton-sunglass-wearing-soccer-mum will love NX, don’t let that put you off. Stuff your little darlings in the back and they’ll be happy as Larry on their phones and tablets. The quieter, the better.
The cabin is quiet most of the time, with road noise on that course surface we all love to hate.
Shopping and commuting are very comfortable experiences, and that is what you’ll be doing most of the time. NX is a luxury SUV that deserves praise, certainly more praise than it gets.
Grade NX 300 NX 300h
Luxury 2WD $54,800 $57,300
Luxury AWD $59,300 $61,800
F Sport 2WD $60,800 $63,300
F Sport AWD $65,300 $67,800
Sports Luxury AWD $73,800 $76,300
Engine: 2.0L turbo
Econ: 7.9 litres/100km combined
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