Tuesday 20th April 2021
Car Enthusiast - click here to access the home page

 



First drive: Lexus NX 200t F Sport. Image by Lexus.

First drive: Lexus NX 200t F Sport
A new turbocharged engine and six-speed auto for the Lexus NX SUV.

 



<< earlier Lexus review     later Lexus review >>

Reviews homepage -> Lexus reviews

Lexus NX 200t F Sport

3.5 3.5 3.5 3.5 3.5

Lexus is keen to tout the NX 200t - featuring an all-new drivetrain in the form of a 2.0-litre turbocharged petrol engine and a six-speed automatic gearbox - as its 'dynamic' model of the mid-sized SUV range. But while the running gear and the levels of refinement are both impressive, the chassis isn't quite as sharp as you'd hope.

Test Car Specifications

Model tested: Lexus NX 200t F Sport
Pricing: NX 200t starts from 38,095
Engine: 2.0-litre turbocharged four-cylinder petrol
Transmission: all-wheel drive, six-speed automatic transmission
Body style: five-door SUV
CO2 emissions: 183g/km (VED Band I, 345 year one, 225 annually thereafter)
Combined economy: 35.8mpg
Top speed: 125mph
0-62mph: 7.1 seconds
Power: 238hp from 4,800- to 5,600rpm
Torque: 350Nm at 1,650rpm
Boot space: 500- to 1,545 litres

What's this?

A more 'dynamic' version of Lexus' mid-sized SUV, here packing the company's first turbocharged 2.0-litre petrol engine to give us the NX 200t. It will only be available in the UK in F Sport trim, given it is supposed to be the sportier model of the range (where it joins the 300h hybrid), and its starting price is 38,095. As the NX is a recent addition to the Lexus catalogue, the 200t is visually little different from the 300h externally, short of its specific 18-inch alloys (with 225/60 rubber) and the trademark F Sport 'spindle' grille. The inside is pretty much the same too, and while you can't question the top-notch fit of everything, aesthetically Lexus has yet to pin down its preferred cabin design from model to model. The NX's dashboard is well laid-out but some of the buttons are big and clunky, while the digital displays can look outdated and it has the awkward flat controller for the infotainment systems. All in all, though, if you like the NX's creased appearance and functional interior, you'll not find a reason to dislike the 200t.

How does it drive?

It's not a terrible car by any means but if you expect the NX 200t to have the same sort of body control and handling finesse of, say, a Porsche Macan, you'll be disappointed. The 200t F Sport comes with optional Adaptive Variable Suspension (750), which brings with it a Sport+ mode on the driver settings that also sharpens the throttle, ramps up the gearbox responsiveness and chucks a bit of extra weight into the steering; but even in its most focused setting, it doesn't eradicate a considerable amount of understeer you'll have to work around if you decide to press on. This unwanted characteristic isn't helped by the NX having soft suspension, which means there's also a lot of weight transfer when you're setting the car up for the bend; pitch, dive and roll are pronounced, thus if you lift off the throttle at the wrong moment, it can lead to odd moments where the two axles don't feel in sync as the Lexus desperately tries to shuffle torque to where it thinks it's needed most. The NX 200t can make reasonably swift progress on twisting roads but if you've got people (or pets, for that matter) on board, they're really not going to thank you for tanking it into every bend like it's an RC F.

However, driven at seven-tenths it's acceptably brisk and much more comfortable for passengers. The drivetrain is also a gem, as the 2.0-litre turbo is a silky and near-silent operator, only making its presence known in the upper rev reaches, while the six-speed auto gearbox is a peach. OK, it's not as quick as a dual-clutch unit, but compared to the ghastly CVTs that Lexus (and Toyota) foists on its hybrid models, it's a twin delight of slick shifts and muted operation. Toyota, this unit needs to be adopted by the hybrid models as soon as possible. The 200t's ride is compliant, the noise levels are well suppressed and the NX has a good seating position that allows the driver to feel like they're sitting well down in the chassis without compromising the commanding feeling you get from sitting higher than other traffic.

So it's a mixed bag from the NX 200t, mainly brought on by its parent company insisting this is a sports SUV. There is one other area of concern to note, and that's economy and emissions - the 200t sits in lofty Band I for VED, meaning it'll be at least 225 a year to tax it, while official economy of 35.8mpg means you can bank on something in the 20s in the real world, and less if you drive it as hard as Lexus thinks you should. Whisper it, but if the Japanese firm wanted to offer a conventional alternative to the hybrid NX, it might have been better off just doing a humdrum diesel model...

Verdict

The Lexus NX 200t is an impressive machine in many ways but the issue will come with how dynamically sharp you're expecting it to be. For the vast majority of target buyers, its acceptably rapid part-throttle manners, striking looks, decent cabin and high levels of cruising refinement will mean they shouldn't ever discover those areas of its performance envelope where things get ragged. Granted, sporty petrol SUVs will always be minority interest in this day and age, but if you're a really keen driver, there are better alternatives out there in this market. However, the 200t is worth checking out for its superb engine and gearbox alone.

4 4 4 4 4 Exterior Design

4 4 4 4 4 Interior Ambience

4 4 4 4 4 Passenger Space

4 4 4 4 4 Luggage Space

4 4 4 4 4 Safety

4 4 4 4 4 Comfort

3 3 3 3 3 Driving Dynamics

4 4 4 4 4 Powertrain


Matt Robinson - 19 Mar 2015









  www.lexus.co.uk    - Lexus road tests
- Lexus videos
- Lexus news
- NX images

2015 Lexus NX 200t F Sport. Image by Lexus.2015 Lexus NX 200t F Sport. Image by Lexus.2015 Lexus NX 200t F Sport. Image by Lexus.2015 Lexus NX 200t F Sport. Image by Lexus.2015 Lexus NX 200t F Sport. Image by Lexus.

2015 Lexus NX 200t F Sport. Image by Lexus.2015 Lexus NX 200t F Sport. Image by Lexus.2015 Lexus NX 200t F Sport. Image by Lexus.2015 Lexus NX 200t F Sport. Image by Lexus.2015 Lexus NX 200t F Sport. Image by Lexus.



2015 Lexus NX 200t F Sport. Image by Lexus.
 

2015 Lexus NX 200t F Sport. Image by Lexus.
 

2015 Lexus NX 200t F Sport. Image by Lexus.
 

2015 Lexus NX 200t F Sport. Image by Lexus.
 

2015 Lexus NX 200t F Sport. Image by Lexus.
 

2015 Lexus NX 200t F Sport. Image by Lexus.
 

2015 Lexus NX 200t F Sport. Image by Lexus.
 

2015 Lexus NX 200t F Sport. Image by Lexus.
 

2015 Lexus NX 200t F Sport. Image by Lexus.
 

2015 Lexus NX 200t F Sport. Image by Lexus.
 






 

Internal links:   | Home | Privacy | Contact us | Archives | Follow Car Enthusiast on Twitter | Copyright 1999-2021 ©