Lexus NX300

What’s the dif­fer­ence be­tween 200 and 300 as far as Lexus’s cross­over is con­cerned? Damien O’car­roll reck­ons not much, other than an op­por­tu­nity for a freshen up and a re­minder that ‘lux­ury’ and ‘Lexus’ are syn­ony­mous.

New Zealand Company Vehicle - - CONTENTS -

Clearly mak­ing an ef­fort to catch up with the Euro­pean pre­mium brands, Lexus has changed its model nam­ing sys­tem to the point that the num­bers no longer bear any re­la­tion to re­al­ity. Pre­vi­ously this model was called the NX 200t, de­not­ing it was an NX with the 2.0-litre turbo petrol en­gine. Now, how­ever, it is the NX 300 be­cause, I dunno – 100 more of noth­ing at all is bet­ter? Lexus says the change aligns with “the new Lexus nam­ing con­ven­tion for its 2.0-litre tur­bocharged petrol en­gine mod­els,” which means it’s go­ing to be­come just as con­fus­ing with any other mod­els that use this en­gine too. How­ever, while this name change may be point­less and con­fus­ing, it has given Lexus the chance to give the NX a bit of a re­fresh at the same time. On the out­side, the Lexus sig­na­ture “spin­dle” grille and the front bumper have been re­designed, the F Sport and Lim­ited mod­els get three low-beam LEDS and an in­di­vid­ual LED for the adap­tive high beam sys­tem and they also get se­quen­tial turn in­di­ca­tors. At the rear, the bumper has been broad­ened and the tail lights elon­gated to make the car look longer and wider, while there are also larger chrome ex­haust tips in­te­grated into the lower bumper. On the in­side, the NX is ev­ery bit a Lexus, mean­ing that it is beau­ti­fully made from high qual­ity ma­te­ri­als and boasts a won­der­fully mod­ern and bold de­sign. It is also beau­ti­fully and in­tu­itively laid out, but cursed with one of the most frus­trat­ing infotainment in­ter­faces in­vented by man. True, Lexus’ new touch­pad-based sys­tem is nowhere near as an­noy­ing as the old joy­stick sys­tem, but it comes a close sec­ond with its abrupt jumps and overly sen­si­tive touch con­trols (they can be re­duced in the set­tings, but not by enough). An­noy­ingly, there is still no phone mir­ror­ing func­tion­al­ity (An­droid Auto, Ap­ple Carplay or Mir­ror­link), although the sound qual­ity is still thor­oughly ex­cel­lent, which makes up for a lot. In terms of driv­ing po­si­tion and com­fort, the NX is ab­so­lutely top notch as well. The driv­ing po­si­tion is nicely ad­justable and get­ting it ab­so­lutely per­fect is a sur­pris­ingly easy task, with the seats be­ing ab­so­lutely su­perb in their arm­chair-like cos­set­ting, while still of­fer­ing ex­cel­lent lat­eral sup­port. As far as han­dling is con­cerned, the F Sport has been sharp­ened up with sus­pen­sion re­vi­sions that im­prove steer­ing turn-in and of­fer a new “cus­tom” drive mode which al­lows you to mix and match pow­er­train, steer­ing, air con­di­tion­ing and sus­pen­sion set­tings. The adapt­able sus­pen­sion now has con­tin­u­ously vari­able con­trol, fea­tur­ing 650 lev­els of damp­ing, able to au­to­mat­i­cally adapt to chang­ing con­di­tions, or you can just stick to the pre-se­lected modes, which go all the way up to Sport+ in this model. De­light­fully dif­fer­ent look­ing and su­perbly com­fort­able, the NX 300 F-sport comes packed with stan­dard equip­ment, but then it should do for its hefty ask­ing price. The NX 300 F-sport re­tails for $94,800, which is rather eye-wa­ter­ing, but it is a deeply im­pres­sive pack­age that is quick, fru­gal and im­pres­sively lux­u­ri­ous.

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