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2015 Lexus NX Windy City Review By Larry Nutson


2015 Lexus NX  (select to view enlarged photo)
2015 Lexus NX

2015 Lexus NX
A step beyond

By Larry Nutson
Senior Editor, Chicago Bureau Chief
The Auto Channel

Lexus, the luxury brand of Toyota Motor Company, had its beginnings in 1989 when it launched in the U.S. market with two sedan models. Now 25 years later Lexus offers eleven models including six hybrid variants.

Lexus has also expanded from only the U.S. market to 90 countries across the globe. The U.S. is still the largest market, accounting for 53% of Lexus' global sales. In 2014 Lexus’ U. S. sales totaled 311,389, an increase of 14 percent over 2013. Lexus is in a growth pattern for the brand and is putting an emphasis on emotion in both performance and design.

One of Lexus’ new models that should help with market growth is the 2015 Lexus NX compact crossover SUV. Highly styled on the outside and very hi-tech on the inside this new entry in the luxury crossover segment is sure to catch your eye.


2015 Lexus NX  (select to view enlarged photo)

The 5-passenger NX is offered in two variants both of which are available in front-wheel drive or all-wheel drive The NX 200t is powered by a 235HP 2.0-L turbo 4-cylinder and is priced starting at $34,480 for the front drive model and, for an additional $1400, at $35,880 for the all-wheel drive model.

The NX 300h, the hybrid, has a 2.5-liter Atkinson-cycle gasoline engine with 194 total system horsepower coupled to an electronically controlled CVT and is priced starting at $39,720 for the front-drive model and $41,310 for the all-wheel drive model.

For the NX 200t there is also an F-sport version, a trim package that fits in along with the other Lexus F-sport models, and is priced at $36,580 and $37,980 for front-wheel drive or all-wheel drive, respectively. Lexus created the luxury-utility crossover category with the original midsized RX model in 1998. The NX pricing is around $6000 to $7000 less then the RX, which just might bring some younger buyers to the brand.

On the outside the eye-catching NX is set off by an over-styled interpretation of the Lexus spindle grille. In the rear the tapering coupe-like roof drops to well-designed Lexus’ signature L-shape light clusters featuring seamless LED illumination. The outside package of the NX is 182.3 inches long making it fairly comfortable for urban, big city driving.


2015 Lexus NX  (select to view enlarged photo)

On the inside the stylish two-tone seats comfortably let you focus on the tablet mounted at the center of the dashboard. The NX looks more sports-car than sport-utility.
2015 Lexus NX  (select to view enlarged photo)

There is new, onboard, standard and available technology, including a Lexus-first Wireless Charging Tray for compatible phones and devices; the new Lexus Remote Touch Interface (RTI) with a touch pad; and a comprehensive Multi-information Display that features a Lexus-first G-Force meter and boost gauge.

On the practical side the rear cargo area is 17.7cuft (16.8cuft on the hybrid) and expands with the rear seat folded to 54.6cuft (53.7cuft on the hybrid). The NX 200t can tow 2000 pounds, however the 300h hybrid is limited to 1500 pounds.

The 235HP 200t uses a six-speed automatic and will get you from zero to 60 mph in 7 seconds. EPA test fuel economy ratings are 24 mpg combined for both the AWD and front-drive models, as are their EPA test highway ratings the same at 28 mpg. The front drive 200t is rated at 22 mpg city, and the AWD model is rated one mpg less.


2015 Lexus NX  (select to view enlarged photo)

The NX 300h hybrid excels in its EPA test city fuel economy ratings with a 35 mpg city test rating for the front-drive and 33 mpg rating for the AWD model. For the highway test ratings, the FWD is rated at 31 mpg, and the AWD rated at 30mpg. I’ll point out again, as I often do when it comes to hybrids, that they excel in city-type driving, under 45 mph that is. If you do a high percentage of highway driving it will take a long time to realize a financial saving from the added purchase cost.

Lexus has taken steps to make the NX quiet. Acoustic glass, a very rigid body structure and significant other sound insulation measures make for a quiet ride that I did indeed experience. Low road noise from both tires and wind made for comfortable road-trip conversations at higher highway speeds.

My 2015 Lexus NX driving experience was in a NX 300h front-wheel drive model. Not only did I spend road-time on the city streets of Chicago but I took it on a 550 mile round-trip highway drive to the suburbs of Southeast Michigan and back.

As I have already alluded to, the NX is very comfortable on the inside. Ingress and egress is quite easy. Seats are firm and supportive and not at all leaving me fatigued after a long road trip. The high seating position makes for an unobstructed view out.

Lexus NX offers the brand’s first optional power folding 60:40 split/recline rear seat. You can lower or raise the seats individually using switches on the instrument panel, on the side of each rear seat and within the luggage compartment.

Heated and ventilated front seats and a heated steering wheel keep you comfortable. A back-up camera helps with those city parking maneuvers. A power liftgate is available to help when your arms are loaded.


2015 Lexus NX  (select to view enlarged photo)

My test NX 300h was equipped with the Premium Package that includes the optional 225/60 tires mounted on 18-inch wheels. The standard setup is 225/65R17. Candidly with some winter snow on the roads, I didn’t love the traction that the Bridgestone Dueler H/L tires provided. My test car was front wheel drive, and slick road surfaces combined with the high low-speed torque of the hybrid made for some challenges on slight inclines.

Would I opt for all-wheel drive, or prefer the standard 17-inchers, or perhaps mount winter tires on all four wheels if I were buying? These are three possibilities for consideration.

Optional are a Comfort Package, a Premium Package and a Luxury Package. And also, as mentioned, there is the F-Sport Package.

There’s lots more detailed information and specs on the complete 2015 Lexus NX model range only a mouse click away at www.lexus.com. If you want to compare the Lexus NX to other luxury compact crossover SUVs or hybrids you can do that right here on TheAutoChannel.com.

Kelley Blue Book named Lexus the luxury brand with the best resale value for 2015, the fourth year in a row. In addition, six Lexus vehicles took the top spot in their respective segments.

Are you ready for the next step?

© 2015 Larry Nutson, the Chicago Car Guy