The 2019 Lexus NX embodies all the great attributes we’ve come to associate with Lexus -- like reliability, quality, generous standard equipment and strong resale values -- and puts them into a premium-compact-crossover-SUV package. This is also one of the few ranges to offer a hybrid version.
You'll Like The 2019 Lexus NX If...
The Lexus NX offers excellent build quality, superb reliability, decent standard equipment, strong resale values and a pleasant dealership experience. And who doesn’t? The NX 300h hybrid version, meanwhile, keeps emissions low with 31 mpg (city/highway combined).
You May Not Like The 2019 Lexus NX If...
Even though you’re buying a crossover SUV, you may also desire an engaging driving experience. The BMW X3 and Jaguar E-Pace will deliver those particular goods. Or perhaps you want more space. Again, the X3 is interesting, while the one-size-up Lexus RX might make more sense.
Following a mid-cycle refresh last year, where an array of advanced safety features was added, the 2019 NX comes into this model year with Apple CarPlay smartphone integration as standard.
The inside of the 2019 NX is full of classy materials arranged in designs that bear some distant relation to the exterior’s lines. But nothing is too distracting, except perhaps the 8-inch infotainment display right at the top of the center console and the Remote Touch interface that controls it, although this latter item was improved last year and is less tricky than before. Places where elbows come into regular contact with the cabin are cushioned and the hushed ambiance helps to convey the overall air of luxury. Cargo space behind the rear seats is 17.7 feet. Fold them down for 54.6 cubic feet. The NX 300h reduces those numbers to 16.8/53.7 cubic feet.
Lexus persists with its “spindle grille” approach. When reviews use the word “polarizing” in relation to car designs, they really mean that only the designer’s mother could find something positive to say. But here’s the thing, while some manufacturers are aping Audi, no one is copying Lexus. There is something positive, though. Lexus designs used to be forgettable, but the 2019 NX at least makes a visual impact. And not just with that grille, but also with intricate LED headlights and sculpted 3-dimensional taillights.
The accent is on comfort rather than handling, with light and rather numb steering. Yet the turbocharged 2.0-liter 4-cylinder engine in the 2019 NX 300 is smooth and quite lively, even if it does sound a little grainy at higher revs. The hybrid version has the extra weight to deal with, so tranquil progress is a more realistic desire. Its all-wheel-drive system means the electric motor turns the rear axle. The F-Sport version brings a firmer suspension, more supportive front seats and some cosmetic additions, but no increase in power. Since there isn’t much of a fundamental sporting character to emphasize, the F-Sport seems a little redundant. In any version, rear three-quarter vision is hampered by those thick rear pillars, pushing blind-spot monitoring high up on any list of desirable extras.
The 2019 Lexus NX 300 with front-wheel drive has a Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) of $36,385. Add a destination charge of $1,025 for a total of $37,410. All-wheel drive is an extra $1,400. The F Sport starts at $39,650, while the NX 300h hybrid is $39,760. For context, these prices are close to the Acura RDX and the Volvo XC60, and appreciably below the German contenders from Audi, BMW, and Mercedes-Benz, as well as the Jaguar E-Pace. Check out KBB.com's Fair Purchase Price to see what other buyers in your area are paying for their new Lexus NX. Over the long haul, the Lexus NX should have a clear resale-value advantage over all rivals except the Porsche Macan, which is aimed at a completely different kind of buyer. Also, the Lexus NX boasts the lowest 5-year cost of ownership in its class, according to the KBB 2019 5-Year Cost-to-Own Awards.Looking for something smaller or more affordable? Check out the all-new 2019 Lexus UX.Want something larger, perhaps with a third-row seat? Consider the 2019 Lexus RX.
This is partially why Lexus vehicles are so popular. The 2019 NX 300 comes with plenty of standard equipment, such as dual-zone automatic climate control, 17-inch alloy wheels, 10-way power-adjustable driver’s seat, keyless entry/ignition, satellite radio, and those advanced safety features mentioned above. The F Sport version brings sport seats up front, steering-wheel-mounted paddle shifters, sport suspension and aluminum pedals. The NX 300h hybrid has all-wheel drive as standard, plus Wi-Fi and a power-adjustable steering column. Every NX cabin has ambient LED lighting, while the low beams and taillights are also LED.
The 2019 NX 300 may be ordered with all-wheel drive, likewise the F Sport variant. Other extras include a power sunroof, hands-free tailgate, 18-inch alloy wheels, rain-sensing wipers, heated steering wheel, leather upholstery, heated/ventilated front seats, power-folding back seats, parking sensors, blind-spot monitoring with rear cross-traffic alert, and wireless smartphone charging. A Navigation Package includes the Lexus Enform system, adding Bing, Yelp, iHeartRadio and other apps, plus maintenance reminders.
Lexus truly knows how to put everything together. To have this exemplary degree of build quality at the premium-compact-crossover SUV level (which is so affordable, relatively speaking) is something buyers really shouldn’t take for granted.
We’ll go into greater detail in the relevant section below, but to have things like forward-collision mitigation with pedestrian detection, lane-keeping assistance, adaptive cruise control and automatic high beams as standard is impressive even in this luxurious corner of the motoring world.
Under the Hood
The 2019 NX 300 employs a turbocharged 2.0-liter 4-cylinder engine making 235 horsepower and 258 lb-ft of torque. That’s more or less respectable. For some kind of comparison, the BMW X3 has 248 horsepower. Front-wheel drive (FWD) is the default setup. The all-wheel-drive (AWD) NX 300h has a total hybrid system output of 194 horsepower from a naturally aspirated 2.5-liter 4-cylinder engine and an electric motor. Lexus does not give total torque figures for its hybrid drivetrains, but the initial thrust is healthy enough. The NX 300’s turbocharged engine should run on premium gasoline, but the hybrid is fine with regular. A 6-speed automatic transmission is in the NX 300; a continuously variable transmission (CVT) is in the hybrid, featuring a kick-down feature for full power.
2.0-liter turbocharged inline-4
235 horsepower @ 5,700 rpm
258 lb-ft of torque @ 1,650-4,000 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 22/28 mpg (FWD & AWD), 22/27 mpg (F Sport)
2.5-liter inline-4 engine + electric motor
154 horsepower @ 5,700 rpm
152 lb-ft of torque @ 4,400 rpm
Front Electric Motor:
Rear Electric Motor: 67 horsepower
Net output: 194 horsepower
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 33/30 mpg (AWD)
The 2019 Lexus NX is a premium-compact-crossover SUV. A strong-selling one, at that. Regardless of whether people like the company’s styling approach, it always seems like Lexus can’t make enough crossover SUVs, even though it makes thousands. And the premium-compact category is burgeoning. The NX is based on the Toyota RAV4, but has its own exterior and interior designs, plenty of standard safety features, there’s a lot of technology available, and there are the options of all-wheel drive and a hybrid version. In the larger fray -- that includes the Acura RDX, Audi Q5, BMW X3, Jaguar F-Pace, Mercedes-Benz GLC-Class and Volvo XC60 -- the 2019 NX is quite reasonably priced. Lexus also performs well in the resale-value stakes.