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  • Different styling ensures NX stands out; luxurious interior; 200t is the pick of the range; quality of fit-and-finish is top notch; petrol engine gets excellent six-speed automatic
  • Sporting promise isn't quite matched by the engine note or performance reality; styling can polarise; engine can be thirsty when pushed

OUR RATING
7.5 / 10



2015 Lexus NX200t Luxury Review : Long-term report one
2015 Lexus NX200t Luxury Review : Long-term report one
2015 Lexus NX200t Luxury Review : Long-term report one

Depending on which way you look at it, the 2015 Lexus NX is either a stylish, avant-garde take on the medium SUV segment, or a fussy and over-complicated Japanese alternative to a range of Euro options.

Regardless of your opinion on that, the smallest Lexus SUV has been pitched headlong into a battle with Audi, BMWMercedes-Benz and Range Rover.

This is a fertile battleground and one which shows no signs of abating. Each manufacturer makes a more concerted effort to out-do the competition with every new model or extensive facelift of an existing favourite.

In Lexus style, the NX effectively straddles two segments. It’s officially classified as a Small SUV and therefore needs to appeal to potential buyers of cars like the Audi Q3, (soon-to-be-replaced) BMW X1 and Mercedes-Benz GLA, but it also needs to steal sales from the Audi Q5, BMW X3 and Land Rover Discovery Sport (plus the imminent Mercedes-Benz GLC).

Lexus is off to a good start, given it actually topped the sales charts in its segment last month.

With this in mind, CarAdvice has snared the keys to a brand new NX200t turbo-petrol AWD for our long-term garage. We’ll see how loveable this luxury SUV is over a period of months, and put Lexus’ hyped new boosted engine to greater test.

Shock horror, the plot thickens too. Our NX doesn’t have a single option. That’s right, it’s exactly as the manufacturer intended as a further snicker to the Euro brigade, many of which usually charge into the fray adorned with thousands of dollars of options.

2015 Lexus NX200t Luxury Review : Long-term report one
2015 Lexus NX200t Luxury Review : Long-term report one
2015 Lexus NX200t Luxury Review : Long-term report one
2015 Lexus NX200t Luxury Review : Long-term report one

I’ll state from the outset that I’m not a fan of the NX’s styling. I think it’s a little too edgy, too funky and over-stylised. That said, it seems to grow on people, so who knows? I might end up loving it. Everywhere you look and from any angle, the NX is all sharp edges and swooping style lines. It’s nothing if not dramatic.

Prices for the NX start from $52,500 plus on-road costs and importantly, we’ll be able to report on what the ownership experience might be like for those of you not wanting to spend more than the entry-level pricing. Our NX200t is the ‘Luxury’ trim grade, with ‘F Sport’ and ‘Sport Luxury’ above it. Our NX200t is also the AWD model, meaning pricing starts from $57,000. So it’s not the cheapest, but the lack of options is a positive in our books.

While the hybrid model might appeal to numerous buyers looking for the ultimate in green satisfaction, the peppy 2.0-litre engine in our 200t is the CarAdvice pick of the range and will appeal to those of you who actually enjoy driving.

It generates 175kW and 350Nm and uses an ADR claimed 7.9L/100km. Thanks to the six-speed automatic that it is matched with, there’s none of the performance-draining feel that you get with a CVT either, a real benefit with a small-capacity engine like this one. Expect the real world fuel usage to be thirstier than the ADR claim, though we’ll report on that in coming months.

2015 Lexus NX200t Luxury Review : Long-term report one
2015 Lexus NX200t Luxury Review : Long-term report one
2015 Lexus NX200t Luxury Review : Long-term report one
2015 Lexus NX200t Luxury Review : Long-term report one

The NX200t’s interior exhibits everything that is great about the way Lexus puts together a cabin. The fit, finish and cosseting sense of luxury is apparent whether you’re the driver or passenger. Some of the team finds the driver’s area a little on the cramped side, but there’s no doubt the NX feels a lot sportier than an average SUV from behind the wheel.

Part of that luxurious feel comes from the smooth engine and gearbox combination, the almost seamless shifting, and the insulation within the cabin we’ve come to expect from Lexus. The NX is almost silent around town up to 60km/h. Silence might be the most intangible factor of a truly luxurious interior and the engineers at Lexus do it very well.

While the interior mirrors the exterior’s dramatic styling, it certainly isn’t distasteful or ugly. In fact, it manages to catch the eye but remain a little understated. The 7.0-inch screen is ok, while the touchpad (Lexus Remote Touch Interface) might take some getting used to. It works very effectively once you master it though. It’s a vast improvement on the system it replaces, that’s for sure.

Some of the standard equipment highlights include LED daytime running lights, LED headlights, reverse camera and parking sensors, satellite-navigation, a ten-speaker audio system, Bluetooth phone connectivity and audio streaming, leather accents for the interior trim, heated and cooled front seats, stop/start and 18-inch alloy wheels.

2015 Lexus NX200t Luxury Review : Long-term report one
2015 Lexus NX200t Luxury Review : Long-term report one
2015 Lexus NX200t Luxury Review : Long-term report one

On the subject of seats, the NX has some of the best we’ve ever sampled. There’s something about they way they position drivers of all sizes, that makes them supremely comfortable without sacrificing the ability to hold you while driving round corners. Other manufacturers could learn a lot by studying these Lexus pews.

Our initial drive impression is positive too. It indicates the 200t is also a better all-round package than the hybrid, with better balance, sharper handling and steering, yet the same comfortable, supple ride over poor surfaces – an important factor around town for the family buyer.

Over the coming months we’ll get the NX out on some longer drives, take it away form the urban confines and perhaps out of it’s comfort zone a little as well. Stay tuned for our regular long-term updates, but if initial impressions are a good indicator, it’s going to be an enjoyable ‘ownership’ experience.

Click the Photos tab for more images by Sam Venn


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LEXUS NX200T BREAKDOWN

2015 Lexus NX200t Luxury Review : Long-term report one
  • 7.5
  • 7.5
  • 8
  • 8.5
  • 8
  • 7
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Lexus Nx200t Specs

LUXURY (AWD) : AGZ15R : 2.0L TURBO MPFI - 6 SP AUTOMATIC - PREMIUM UNLEADED PETROL - 4D WAGON
Car Details
Make
LEXUS
Model
NX200t
Variant
LUXURY (AWD)
Series
AGZ15R
Year
2015
Body Type
4D WAGON
Seats
5
Pricing
New Price
N/A
Private Sale
$48,840 - $55,500
Dealer Retail
$47,180 - $56,100
Dealer Trade
$37,500 - $44,400
Engine Specifications
Engine Type
TURBO MPFI
Engine Size
2.0L
Cylinders
TURBO 4
Max. Torque
350Nm @  1650rpm
Max. Power
175kW @  4800rpm
Pwr:Wgt Ratio
94.1W/kg
Bore & Stroke
86x86mm
Compression Ratio
10
Valve Gear
VARIABLE DOUBLE OVERHEAD CAM
Drivetrain Specifications
Transmission
6 SP AUTOMATIC
Drive Type
ALL WHEEL DRIVE
Final Drive Ratio
0
Fuel Specifications
Fuel Type
PREMIUM UNLEADED PETROL
Fuel Tank Capacity
60Litres
Fuel Consumption (Combined)
7.9L / 100km
Weight & Measurement
Kerb Weight
1860
Gross Vehicle Weight
Not Provided
Height
1630mm
Length
4630mm
Width
1870mm
Ground Clearance
160mm
Towing Capacity
Brake:1000  Unbrake:750
Steering & Suspension
Steering Type
RACK & PINION - POWER ASSISTED
Turning Circle
12.1
Front Rim Size
7.5x18
Rear Rim Size
7.5x18
Front Tyres
225/60 R18
Rear Tyres
225/60 R18
Wheel Base
2660
Front Track
1580
Rear Track
1580
Front Brakes
DISC - VENTILATED
Rear Brakes
DISC
Front Suspension
MacPherson strut, Coil Spring, Gas damper, Anti roll bar
Rear Suspension
Double wishbone, Trailing arm, Coil Spring, Gas damper, Anti roll bar
Standard Features
Comfort
Auto Climate Control with Dual Temp Zones, Heated Front Seats, Power front seats
Control & Handling
18 Inch Alloy Wheels, Electronic Brake Force Distribution, Electronic Stability Program, Hill Holder, Traction Control System
Driver
Cruise Control, Leather Steering Wheel, Multi Function Steering Wheel, Mobile Phone Connectivity, Parking Distance Control, Power Steering, Reversing Camera, Satellite Navigation, Trip Computer, Voice Recognition System
Entertainment
Radio Compact Disc Player, Sound System with 10 Speakers
Exterior
Fog Lights - Front
Interior
Centre Console Box - Multi-purpose, Cloth Trim, Power Windows
Safety
Dual Front Airbag Package, Anti-lock Braking, Head Airbags, Side Airbags, Seatbelts - Pre-tensioners Front Seats
Security
Alarm System/Remote Anti Theft, Central Locking Remote Control, Engine Immobiliser
Optional Features
Exterior
Metallic Paint
Package
Enhancement Pack
Other
Service Interval
6 months /  10,000 kms
Warranty
48 months /  100,000 kms
VIN Plate Location
Driver Side Front Floor
Country of Origin
Japan