2015 Lexus NX 200t | First Drive
* Subjectively, the most striking of all its rivals.
* Does fall onto the pricier side of the spectrum.
The Lexus NX is an important vehicle for the brand – one that not only marks its first ever stint in the compact crossover segment, but also houses its first ever turbocharged engine. Aimed at robbing the Audi Q3, BMW X3, and Porsche Macan off their crowns, the Japanese crossover’s game plan encompasses a focus on design, craftsmanship, and driving dynamics.
The 2015 Lexus NX 200t is a delightful looking thing and if anyone tells you otherwise, they simply haven’t admired it long enough. With crisp contours, flared quarter panels and a variety of intricate details, the NX is the equivalent of a Victoria’s Secret model at an old age home when lined up alongside its rivals. In F Sport garb, the NX welcomes a sizeable mesh grille, a more pleasing set of 18 inch wheels and distinctive F Sport insignia along the length of the vehicle.
Although the Japanese crossover shares bits and pieces of its DNA with its unpolished cousin (the Toyota RAV4), there is no proof of that once within the cabin, as it is swathed in a combination of stitched and perforated leather. Along the protruding centre console resides a multimedia screen, various buttons, knobs and switches, as well as the perceived mark of a vehicle belonging to the upper strata – an analogue clock.
Continuing its string of Lexus firsts, the NX is home to power folding rear seats, a wireless charging tray for phones and tablets in the central arm rest, and a Pre-Load Differential to distribute torque accordingly. On the safety front, there’s a Panoramic View Monitor that combines video from four cameras mounted to the front and rear of the vehicle, offering a view of everything happening around the car, including the blind spots.
235 horsepower from 4,800 RPM and 350 Nm of torque from 1,650 RPM, is what the 2.0 litre 4-cylinder turbocharged engine churns out. Mated to a 6 speed automatic transmission and mapped to an All Wheel Drive layout, the 2,325kg NX 200t feels a tad lethargic off the line, but keep the accelerator pedal dipped into the footwell and it achieves 100 km/h in 7.0 seconds.
On our rather brief drive that saw us go from Al Quoz to Festival City (of which majority was a highway cruise down Al Khail Road), it wasn’t exactly possible for the NX to influence anything more than an initial impression. However, since we were in the F-Sport variant, we did turn a number of heads.
While the acronym ‘ASC’ will be translated as Active Stability Control by most, in the NX it’s something very, very different – Active Sound Control. Allowing adjustments to the engine note volume resonating through the cabin, ASC allows driver’s to either turn up the artificial engine tone in the cabin, or turn it off completely. Handy to impress your date, right guys?
Coming in at AED 160,000, the 2015 Lexus NX 200t is an interesting one. While it is a whopping AED 115,000 more affordable than the BMW X3 and AED 100,000 less than the Porsche Macan, it’s slightly more complicated with the Audi Q3.
While the NX falls into the same category as the Q3 (compact crossovers), its price point is more in line with that of the larger and more superior Q5. Which brings into question how much you value the badge on the front of your car. If it’s badge appeal you’re after, then the Q3 and Q5 make for more compelling buys, but if you’re after a genuine cracker of a car, then the NX is the one to go for. I know I’d pick the Jap.