The Lexus NX is a new direction for Lexus and a capable, smooth crossover that could use a little more smoothing around the corners.
The 2017 Lexus NX doesn't stray too far from the crossover that made its debut just a couple years ago.
The front-drive hybrid model is gone this year, but the rest of the lineup is intact: NX 200t, NX 200t F Sport, and NX 300h. All-wheel drive is available in both 200t models, and standard in the hybrid 300h.
The 2017 Lexus NX earns a 6.5 out of 10 on our overall scale thanks to its good safety record and good features. (Read more about how we rate cars.)
Styling and performance
Whether its the look that started a trend for Lexus or its the look that started to shift your lunch, the Lexus NX wears the corporate face and body better than some other examples in the automaker's lineup. Starting with the spindle grille and a string of daytime LED running lights, the crossover sports a soft-sloping roof and a deep character line across the window to distinguish it on the road.
The F Sport is the most aggressive interpretation with a black mesh grille and metallic bumper moldings, black side mirrors, and 18-inch wheels to help distinguish it from the others.
Inside, the affair is a little more subdued and restrained, with the usual Lexus repertoire of grays, tans, and wood grains.
Under the hood is a 2.0-liter turbo-4 in most models that makes 235 horsepower and 258 pound-feet of torque. It's mated to a 6-speed automatic that can motivate either the front or all wheels, depending on configuration.
The optional engine for the NX is a 2.5-liter inline-4 paired with two electric motors and electrons that stack up to 194 hp. It's a combination that delivers the highest fuel economy—33 mpg combined—but perhaps not the sportiest.
In most configurations, the NX has a smooth ride and modest handling. The relatively low seating position gives the NX a more car-like feel than other tall crossovers, but the big wagon still has some body roll around fast corners.
Comfort, safety, and features
The Lexus NX has 6 fewer inches between the wheels of most compact luxury crossovers, but it's not much smaller inside. In front, driver and passenger have the best seats in the house with power-adjustable seats and comfortable buckets. Rear seat passengers get the customary amount of leg room, but the seats themselves aren't entirely supportive.
Cargo carrying capacity is generally good with 17.7 cubic feet of room with the seats up (16.8 cubic feet in the hybrid), 54.6 cubes with the seats down (53.7 cubes in the hybrid).
The NX sports a impressive record for safety, including a Top Safety Pick+ nod by the IIHS. Federal testers gave the crossover a five-star overall rating, and Lexus offers several advanced safety features as optional for the NX such as adaptive cruise control, forward collision warning with automatic emergency braking, blind spot monitors with rear cross-traffic alert, and parking assistants. A rearview camera is standard.
Other standard equipment includes 17-inch wheels, automatic headlights, power-adjustable front seats, dual-zone air conditioning, steering wheel-mounted controls, Bluetooth connectivity, and a 7.0-inch screen for infotainment.
Several packages are available to make the NX sportier—including the F Sport trim—or more comfortable, including power reclining rear seats, which was a first for Lexus.
The car can be handsomely equipped for several thousand above its $36,060 starting price, but we're not sold on the Lexus infotainment system. It requires too much attention for our liking.