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Apr18

2019 Lexus NX 300 AWD Review – Second Impressions

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Image: Steph Willems/TTAC

2019 Lexus NX 300 AWD

2.zero-liter turbocharged 4 (235 hp @ four,800 rpm, 258 lb-ft @ 1,650 rpm)

Six-velocity automated, all-wheel drive

27 metropolis / 33 freeway / 29 mixed (EPA Score, MPG)

10.6 metropolis / eight.5 freeway / 9.7 mixed (NRCan Score, L/100km)

20.three (noticed mileage, MPG)

Base Worth: $38,910 US / $forty six,225 CAD

As Examined: $forty six,000 US / $fifty eight,975 CAD

Costs embrace $1,025 vacation spot cost in america and $2,one hundred seventy five for freight, PDI, and A/C tax in Canada and, due to cross-border gear variations, can’t be instantly in contrast.

“Ask the person who owns one,” Packard as soon as implored readers from the shiny depths of varied Melancholy-period magazines. Whereas clearly not considering courting the feminine purchaser (I hope they’re dragged on Twitter for this insensitive tagline), Packard’s core message nonetheless holds up in the present day.

Nobody loves poo-pooing different individuals’s shopping for selections fairly like auto journos, however each purchaser has their very own causes for selecting the best way they did. Surprising although it might be to some, consumers typically stroll (okay, drive) away fairly happy with their buy — even with crossovers plucked from a homogenous pool of now limitless depth.

And, barring high quality complications down the street, their emotions may keep that method, too.

Whereas I by no means held any deep dislike for Lexus’ compact NX, apart from the truth that its nostril is undoubtedly probably the most outstanding — and unprotected — within the business, want and even “curiosity” have been by no means needles that budged off the baseline. What might change this notion? Driving one.

For some, the NX’s… um… daring styling could also be too nice a hurdle to cross. Lexus was definitely out to get observed when it debuted this factor for the 2015 mannequin yr. I contemplate myself a member of the camp that gives Lexus lukewarm applause for a minimum of making its automobiles identifiable; bucking the now waning development of constructing blander and blander packing containers for worry of offending consumers (on the danger of stimulating nobody).

Image: Steph Willems/TTAC

Sure, the NX snouts its method into visitors like an early ’70s Pontiac, solely with a higher probability of steep repair payments ought to a driver in entrance stomp the brakes unexpectedly. Its physique is a cornucopia of indirect creases — from the signature spindle grille and headlamp eyeliner, all the best way again to taillights that look both like earrings or pendants from the Nineteen Eighties, or perhaps a deformed Pontiac badge.

This NX isn’t a hybrid (see Chris’ review of that mannequin right here), which means a single propulsion supply rests underneath the hood. Shock — it’s a turbocharged 2.zero-liter 4-cylinder, as we’re all turbocharged 2.zero-liter 4-cylinders today. All my pals are, too. And whereas a turbo 4 boasting 235 horsepower and 258 lb-ft is substantial energy in a sedan, its potential to encourage this four,050-pound crossover fell into the class of enough. Respectable, maybe. Sadly, the turbo/automated setup additionally delivers a hearty dose of lag, although issues develop into extra satisfying when underway. The six-velocity automated stays primarily within the background.

This tester’s cabin broke up the usually dour crossover ambiance with excessive-distinction, two-tone, tender-contact surfaces punctuated by considerably convincing metallic-like trim, although the driving force’s chair was docked a number of factors for inadequate lumbar help. It’s adjustable, however the decrease seatback is simply too concave for my creaky body. Spinal implosions loomed, but by no means pounced. Legroom was ample and armrests, nicely, these can solely be described as pillowy.

Image: Steph Willems/TTAC

Out again, headroom and legroom doesn’t really feel pinched, however the NX exhibits its age with a single one hundred twenty volt/one hundred ten-watt outlet — no USB ports in sight. If carrying related passengers is within the playing cards, this might pose an issue. Folding that cut up rear seatback gained’t, nevertheless. Not solely are there energy switches for the 60/forty seatback within the decently-sized rear cargo maintain, there’s a arrange entrance, accessible to the driving force.

Sadly, these backseat occupants gained’t have the ability to lend help as the driving force struggles with Lexus’ touchpad controller. Like a crude ICBM, overshooting the goal on the non-compulsory 10.three-inch iPad infotainment display is that this little bit of hardware’s forte, no less than till a fragile contact turns into previous hat. It’s a standard gripe of Lexus merchandise; I’m including my identify to an extended record of detractors.

General, the chilly March week spent within the NX would have led to a sleep had I not endeavored to take the factor a couple of inches off the crushed path. Positive, the steering boasts typical Lexus execution (which means: fairly agency, with a strong, reassuring on-middle really feel), and the suspension did appear to supply a superb compromise of street isolation and athleticism, however doing the city runabout factor is a drag. I headed for the hills, which, because of Mom Nature’s wrath, have been as icy and tough as a scorned spouse.

Image: Steph Willems/TTAC

Let’s get one factor straight earlier than the journey begins: the NX 300 has probably the most lackluster “sport” mode I’ve but encountered. When engaged, I felt no discernable increase to steering firmness. Pedal weight decreased solely mildly, and the six-velocity auto noticed no cause to stay in a decrease gear. I flicked that dial at differing speeds, and by no means caught a downshift. “Regular” or “eco” it was, then.

North of my metropolis lies a slender, riverside street courting to the pioneer period. The land under it isn’t unique land. It’s quarry fill laid atop a mattress of unstable Leda (“fast”) clay, sitting instantly adjoining to a quick-shifting river that’s susceptible to flooding. Annually, the street slides ever so barely in the direction of the river, however by no means in a uniform trend. It’s so damaged, bent and uneven, I wouldn’t take my day by day driver down there in July.

For you, B&B, I opened the NX up and let its legs do the speaking. The result? I walked away impressed, as this denizen of higher-center class neighborhoods in all places dealt with the suspension torture test with grace, even clearing a extreme trough (one I might have braked for, had I the time) and subsequent, abrupt rise with out the entrance MacPhersons bottoming out. For a second, I used to be positive there’d be ache.

Image: Steph Willems/TTAC

Not dangerous, I assumed, turning from a street that would flip into black water in a second and into an previous, semi-deserted industrial area. The NX’s all-wheel drive system had already confirmed itself in an impromptu hill climb test (the icy graveyard behind my home), however I used to be wanting to up the problem. A actual hill introduced itself, on which a number of rainstorns had created a glass-like ramp of strong ice. Down we went, the 18-inch mud & snows doing their best to maintain the descent managed. After reaching the underside of the lifeless-finish path, the actual test started. Because the NX comes with an AWD lock button, the grippy rubber and 50:50 torque cut up would both get us again to the highest, or I’d spend the afternoon in the hunt for a Frenchman with a winch.

Fortunately, I didn’t have to bone up on one other language. Each NX and driver made it up the hill and out of the area on the primary attempt. Good factor, too, as somebody was poking round within the deserted constructing instantly adjoining to the trail. I’ve sufficient buddies, thanks very a lot.

Suffice it to say my opinion of the NX modified that afternoon. Having confirmed itself in wilder climes than simply gentrified streets, a newfound respect blossomed in our relationship. The NX drives nicely, handles nicely, feels properly put collectively, is fairly quiet at velocity, and gained’t flake out when the going will get tough. The one two issues which may nip a fledgling romance within the bud, nevertheless, are appears and content material.

For an AWD compact crossover that begins at $38,910 (U.S., after vacation spot), you’d think Lexus might embrace features like Apple CarPlay, blind spot monitoring, and rear cross-visitors alert as standard package. Or perhaps heated seats. Or an influence tilt and telescoping wheel. Or maybe that rear-seat plug-in level. As it’s, consumers should pony up additional to deliver these goodies (and extra) on board.

Image: Steph Willems/TTAC

This Canadian tester lumped the contents of each obtainable package deal collectively in a $12,750 Government mega-package deal. Ouch. It’s the whole lot you need (minus some rear seat USB ports not obtainable to anybody), however man, the “worth” aspect present in most premium automobiles disappears after checking that field.

Lexus has a very good factor going with the NX, attracting extra consumers with every passing yr. Final yr noticed a four.6 % U.S. quantity improve, however hazard looms on the horizon. Acura’s redesigned RDX, a direct NX rival, is successful, and its newfound on-street prowess and 10-velocity automated make the Lexus look antiquated as compared, all virtues apart. There’s a brand new Lincoln Corsair (née MKC) coming this yr, too, and Cadillac’s XT4 simply hit the market.

Having learn the writing on the wall, Lexus has a revamped NX ready to defend its declare within the premium compact crossover area. Anticipate that mannequin’s look someday subsequent yr.

[Images: Steph Willems/TTAC]

– 2019 Lexus NX 300 AWD Review – Second Impressions –

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