2016 Lexus NX Driving Impressions

The NX 200t has a sportier personality than other Lexus models, which are primarily tuned for comfort. The standard engine is energetic and willing, and handling is quick, if not exactly sporty. Switching the NX to the Sport driving mode changes the transmission’s shift points for snappier acceleration. The 200t is always quiet.

With its upgraded suspension and beefier tires, the 200t F-Sport is truly rewarding to drive. Roadholding is impressive for this class. The F-Sport tackles curves with gusto and simply feels more confident at higher speeds. Unlike the standard 200t, engine sounds are permitted into the F-Sport cabin to enhance the experience, but they aren’t unpleasant.

Front-wheel-drive versions of the NX 200t are EPA rated at 22/28 mpg City/Highway, or 25 mpg Combined. Adding all-wheel drive reduces the Combined rating by 1 mpg.

Of course, the mileage champ of the line is the hybrid-powered 300h, which is EPA rated at 35/31 mpg City/Highway, or 33 mpg Combined with front-wheel drive; with all-wheel drive it’s rated 33/30 mpg City/Highway, or 32 mpg Combined. The 300h features a novel EV mode that allows it run on electricity alone at low speeds (under 30 mph) for up to a mile. There’s also a kickdown switch that delivers an extra burst of power when needed.

In terms of handling dynamics, the hybrid-powered NX 300h behaves very much like the gas-powered NX 200t. However, overall performance does suffer a bit. The 300h needs a lengthy 9 seconds to go from 0 to 60 mph, whereas the 200t does the sprint in 7 seconds.

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