The 2015 Lexus NX 200t finally adds a compact crossover to the Lexus lineup. It’s the way things are moving these days so it’s a surprise that Lexus waited so long on this one. It arrives with angular styling, a front grille that looks like it could swallow you whole, and a twin-scroll, turbocharged engine that gives it plenty of power.
Styling on the NX 200t is polarizing. There are those who will love the angular lines, especially along the doors, and the huge spindle grille. There are also those who will think it looks ridiculous, like a gaping fish. Lexus sure does love that new grille and it is very much front and center on this car. We like it since it helps the NX 200t look not so vanilla as every other compact crossover on the road.
Inside, it’s all Lexus luxury with plenty of leather and soft touch surfaces, contrast stitching, and the feeling of quality and comfort buyers expect from the brand. It’s also where the compact part of its description comes into play. Rear seating is best for only two people, adults or kids, and front passenger space is very narrow. The large floor console cuts into knee room so the 6-foot crowd feels cramped.
Front seats are comfortable and 10-way power adjustable for the driver with lumbar support. The passenger has an 8-way power adjustable seat. It’s easy to find a comfortable position and the right level of softness. Seats are very heavily bolstered so those of wider girths might feel squished, especially in the shoulders. The Luxury Package ($4,885) adds leather seats, which are heated and ventilated, and adds a heated steering wheel, power back door, LED daytime running lights, power tilt and slide moonroof, and rain-sensing wipers.
The Lexus NX 200t is powered by a 2.0-liter twin-scroll turbocharged inline 4-cylinder. It provides 235 horsepower and 258 lb-ft of torque making this stylish compact crossover a fun car to drive. This is all paired to a 6-speed automatic transmission that is smooth throughout the rev range. It’s not a luxury sedan in its drive characteristics. Instead it leans heavily in the direction of performance, which falls in line with that angular, aggressive exterior design.
It does not forget that it’s a luxury car brand, however, so the ride never becomes harsh, rough, or difficult to handle. A knob on the console lets you switch from the default Normal mode to either Eco or Sport. Flip it to Sport and everything sharpens with higher revs that let drivers take full advantage of the engine’s power. Take it down a notch to Eco for the opposite effect.
Handling is at all times tight and controlled, never difficult or demanding, even in Sport mode. It’s not a sports sedan, but it is always planted to the ground so there’s a confidence in cornering and quick maneuvers that makes this crossover fun to drive despite its ride height. You also have your choice of either front-wheel drive or all-wheel drive for roughly $1,500 more for some extra security in poor weather.
The infotainment system features a new controller that isn’t an improvement over the old one. The Lexus Enform system is easy enough to use and navigate with intuitive menus and a suite of apps, but the Remote Touchpad is a challenge.
It rests beneath the drivers right hand at the end of a mouse-like bump designed to support your wrist. You can drag you fingers around the little square pad as you would on a mobile device, but it’s not easy to use. It takes some getting used to and the slightest bump or dip in the road will have you sending the cursor skittering off in the wrong direction.
There is an 8-speaker premium audio system with HD radio, USB/iPod/MP3 connectivity, and Sirius XM with a 3-month trial subscription. Our test drive model featured an upgraded 10-speaker sound system that was a part of the Navigation Package ($2,140).
Those packages aren’t cheap, which quickly edged the $35,880 base price to $44,668. This is still in line with other luxury crossovers and with fuel economy of 22 city/28 highway/24 combined, there’s a lot to like about the 2015 Lexus NX 200t.
2015 Lexus NX 200t AWD
Base Price: $35,880
Price As Tested: $44,668 (not including destination charge)
- That Lexus Spindle Grille
- Performance and Luxury Combined
- Remote Touchpad
- Narrow Seating All Around