Lexus NX

The Lexus NX is available in two basic guises, NX200t and NX300h. The NX200t is powered by a 2.0L turbocharged 4-cylinder engine, making 235 horsepower. Power is sent to the front wheels via a 6-speed automatic transmission. All-wheel drive is an option across the entire NX lineup. The NX300h is powered by a 2.5L 4-cylinder engine that is assisted by an electric motor. Lexus has developed a "kick-down" feature for its hybrid system, which allows for more immediate power delivery on the highway.

The NX is a Lexus and comes accordingly with a nice list of standard equipment. This includes a smart key with easy access entry and a pushbutton start, dual-zone automatic climate control, one-touch power windows, cruise control, a leather wrapped steering wheel and shift knob, a 7-inch LCD display, a 4.2-inch TFT color display in the instrument cluster, a power liftgate, an 8-speaker premium sound system, Lexus' Enform safety connect system and a USB port for iPod connectivity.

Several option packages are available to help focus the NX toward either additional comfort or a sportier driving experience. The F-Sport package includes stiffer suspension, a racier interior with various "F" badges, a more aggressive front grille, perforated leather on the steering wheel and shift knob, a black headliner, a boost gauge, steering wheel mounted paddle shifters and 18-inch alloy wheels.

The Luxury package takes the NX in the opposite direction by adding a heated steering wheel, perforated leather seating surfaces, wood interior trim, front seat power cushion extenders, rain sensing wipers and a power rear door.

A premium package features heated and ventilated front seats, a power operated moonroof, LED daytime running lights and 18-inch wheels.

The Navigation package features a voice-activated navigation system, but also adds a touchpad to help control the system, as well as a host of other technology features. These include Lexus' Enform app suite, a 10-speaker premium sound system, SiriusXM satellite radio and an additional USB port.

Finally comfort package adds various memory functions to the seats, a Homelink built-in garage remote, a power tilt and telescoping steering column and an auto-dimming rearview mirror with a compass feature.

Editors' Review

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For 2021, Lexus hosted a key party of sorts for its 6-year-old NX compact crossover. Previously, you could get an NX hybrid and an NX F Sport, but you couldn't combine the two. That makes the arrival of this NX 300h F Sport Black Line about as much of a surprise as Monday following Sunday, though it's a special-edition model limited to 1,000 units. Even so, at its heart, the latest NX mashup is plenty comfortable and competent.

Why can't they all look like this?

Honestly, the F Sport should be the NX's de facto face. Not only is this mesh-style grille far more appealing than the standard one, the F Sport body kit adds some weight to the lower front bumper, which has a pretty aggressive upward angle on the regular NX 300h and looks like somebody forgot to draw in a chin. Throw in some F Sport-specific 18-inch alloy wheels and you've got a solid looker, even though the NX has been around for a bit now.

It might not carry the flashy looks of its newer, harder-edged Teutonic competition, but the 2021 Lexus NX 300h F Sport's interior is still a damn fine place to spend time. Unique touches inside are limited to contrasting blue stitching, a heated steering wheel and aluminum pedals, but there's no sense messing with success. The seats have superb cushioning and support, and the center console's raised setup means glances take less time away from the road ahead. It's a little old-school in that physical switchgear absolutely dominates the NX's interior, but the controls have good tactility and are dead simple to use with very little distraction. Cubbies and stash spots abound, including my favorite one, nestled just ahead of the center armrest and covered by a small removable vanity mirror. The automotive world needs more weird little touches like that, where nobody's really quite sure why it's there. I mean, there's still a mirror in the sun visor, so who's it for? The back row?

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The Good ~ Sharper looks than standard hybrid ~ Darn decent efficiency ~ Comfortable in daily use

The Bad ~ Expensive for an aging vehicle ~ Cursed infotainment

The Bottom Line The 2021 Lexus NX 300h prioritizes luxury in a way that most of its competitors don't.

Editors' Rating
  • Performance 8.5
  • Features 7.5
  • Design 7.5
  • Media 5

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