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2015 Lexus NX 200t

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$23,315 — $33,955 USED
27
Photos
Sport Utility
5 Seats
24-25 MPG
(Combined)
Key specs of the base trim
 — 
Compare 2 trims

Overview

Is this the car for you?

The Good

  • Cabin quality
  • Relatively roomy backseat
  • Many standard features, upscale options
  • Fuel efficiency with either drivetrain
  • Responsive transmission in NX 200t

The Bad

  • Engine/transmission response in NX 300h
  • Mushy brakes in NX 300h
  • Smallish cargo area
  • Usability of navigation system
  • NX 200t requires premium gas
2015 Lexus NX 200t exterior side view

What to Know

about the 2015 Lexus NX 200t
  • New for 2015
  • Five-seat SUV slots below RX 350
  • Turbo NX 200t or hybrid NX 300h
  • FWD or AWD
  • Available F Sport model (NX 200t)

Our Take

from the Cars.com expert editorial team

Watch MotorWeek on PBS. Check MotorWeek.org for times and channels.

By Kelsey Mays

As compact luxury SUVs go, the 2015 Lexus NX combines enough driving fun and occupant comfort to deserve a look, but anyone with serious cargo needs should look elsewhere, or stick to the brand's popular RX.

As badge engineering goes, Toyota's luxury division has more hits than misses. The ES midsize sedan feels considerably nicer than a Toyota Camry; the GX bears little resemblance inside or out to its Toyota 4Runner sibling. And so it goes for the NX, a car Lexus calls "loosely related to the RAV4," Toyota's popular small SUV. Still, Lexus insists the NX has 90 percent different parts and a structure that's 20 percent more rigid.

Indeed, the two seem like distant cousins, at most. The NX hits U.S. showrooms in December and pricing is still to come, but at a media preview in Seattle, I drove preproduction versions of the gasoline-powered NX 200t and the gas-electric NX 300h hybrid. My early take is that the NX holds promise.

Exterior & Styling
When the Lexus NX broke press last April, we thought it would compete with the latest crowd of subcompact luxury SUVs — namely the BMW X1, Audi Q3 and Mercedes-Benz GLA-Class. Lexus, however, insists the NX stacks up against those competitors' larger X3/Q5/GLK siblings, a group that's still a few inches shorter than the RX. The brand's spindle grille draws similarities to the rest of the Lexus lineup, but the standard four-bar design combines with the NX's thin lights and pinched ...

As compact luxury SUVs go, the 2015 Lexus NX combines enough driving fun and occupant comfort to deserve a look, but anyone with serious cargo needs should look elsewhere, or stick to the brand's popular RX.

As badge engineering goes, Toyota's luxury division has more hits than misses. The ES midsize sedan feels considerably nicer than a Toyota Camry; the GX bears little resemblance inside or out to its Toyota 4Runner sibling. And so it goes for the NX, a car Lexus calls "loosely related to the RAV4," Toyota's popular small SUV. Still, Lexus insists the NX has 90 percent different parts and a structure that's 20 percent more rigid.

Indeed, the two seem like distant cousins, at most. The NX hits U.S. showrooms in December and pricing is still to come, but at a media preview in Seattle, I drove preproduction versions of the gasoline-powered NX 200t and the gas-electric NX 300h hybrid. My early take is that the NX holds promise.

Exterior & Styling
When the Lexus NX broke press last April, we thought it would compete with the latest crowd of subcompact luxury SUVs — namely the BMW X1, Audi Q3 and Mercedes-Benz GLA-Class. Lexus, however, insists the NX stacks up against those competitors' larger X3/Q5/GLK siblings, a group that's still a few inches shorter than the RX. The brand's spindle grille draws similarities to the rest of the Lexus lineup, but the standard four-bar design combines with the NX's thin lights and pinched nose to evoke an angry, rat-like expression. F Sport versions extend the grille lower, swap in a crisscrossing insert and finish out the bottom with a deeper, layered air dam. It's unique — sinister, really — and you should get used to it. It's what most F Sport models look like now, and I'll take Vader over varmints any day.

Seventeen-inch alloy wheels are standard; 18s are optional. F Sport versions have 18s and P225/60R18 all-season tires or optional (and wider) 235/55R18 summer high-performance tires.

How It Drives
Roughly the size of a Q5 or X3, the NX is still longer and wider than the original 1999 RX 300. In two generations since then, Lexus' mainstay has grown; today's RX 350 is 5.5 inches longer than the NX. It's also more than 230 pounds heavier than Lexus' new smallest SUV, whose lighter weight benefits drivability and efficiency. The NX 200t's 235-horsepower, turbocharged four-cylinder speeds ahead with sufficient punch, and its six-speed automatic performs better than the RX's clumsy transmission, holding lower gears and kicking down adeptly. Using Lexus' familiar Drive Mode Select, the Eco and Normal modes introduce occasional gear-hunting in passing maneuvers, but Sport mode imbues the transmission with satisfying decisiveness.

All told, Lexus says the NX 200t hits 60 mph in the low 7-second range. That's a hair slower than the competition's base gasoline engines, but the expected fuel efficiency justifies it: Lexus pegs fuel economy at 22/28/24 mpg city/highway/combined in the front-drive NX 200t and 21/28/24 mpg with AWD. Final EPA figures are still pending, but if those figures pan out, the NX will impress in this class. One pesky detail: The Lexus NX 200t requires premium gas, something many competitors merely recommend.

The NX's ride quality is busy at times, but it still feels more composed than the sometimes-choppy RX. I couldn't detect a huge difference between the normal and F Sport suspensions; the latter have performance shocks and retuned springs, but most of our brief seat time in an Lexus NX200t F Sport was over smooth pavement in moderate traffic.

We'll have to put an F Sport through our handling loop around Cars.com's Chicago headquarters to get a better sense of the ride/handling differences. In all trims, the steering feels a bit numb at low speeds; feedback improves as you speed up. Still, a non-F Sport 200t pitched hard into corners — a quick reminder that this is no sport sedan. The 200t's all-wheel-drive system biases power up front, though it can split power 50/50 (front/rear) if needed. You can enforce the split with an all-wheel-drive lock switch on the dash. The 300h, meanwhile, gets a unique all-wheel-drive setup with separate motors for the front and rear axles.

The 194-hp Lexus NX 300h (which doesn't come in an F Sport version) cedes more of the fun factor. There's plenty of droning, rubber-band responsiveness from its continuously variable automatic transmission, along with a slow climb up the revs when you floor it; even at full bore, power feels adequate but never energetic, and the regenerative brakes have a degree of pedal vagueness that evokes earlier hybrids.

Indeed, Lexus says zero to 60 mph takes a modest 9.1 seconds in the hybrid. It feels like that, but the payoff comes in impressive efficiency. Lexus estimates the NX 300h will get 32 to 33 mpg combined, depending on driveline — figures that trounce any immediate competitors, hybrid or diesel. What's more, premium gas is only recommended, not required.

Interior
The Lexus NX's interior packs a lot of eye candy, mostly thanks to stitched, leatherlike synthetic materials that cover portions of the dashboard, center console and doors. Less convincing is the molded stitching that adorns upper sections — similar to the dash materials in the Camry and ES — as well as the big chunks of faux-metal plastic trim that flank the center controls. The layered approach does, however, look sharp overall.

Lexus' standard NuLuxe upholstery helps, too. It's fake leather, but it's damn convincing. Real cowhide is optional, but you'd be hard-pressed to tell the difference. Seat packaging is good: The reclining rear seats offer good legroom and a higher seating position than the backseat in the RX, which is too low to the floor. Still, taller adults may want more headroom; sitting upright, my 6-foot-tall frame brushed the ceiling. The optional power-folding rear seats work with one touch, and if something is in the way — say, a mischievous child trying to pancake his sibling — they stop and retract. You can work them from the backseat or cargo area, too; in the backseat, the hip-level buttons double as power recliners.

Cargo & Storage
Lexus says four golf bags fit behind the rear seats. If that's the case, certain competitors must be able to fit the bags plus a caddy. The 2011-2014 X3, plus the Q5 and Acura RDX both have 25-plus cubic feet behind their rear seats, but the Lexus NX 200t has just 17.7 — a little more than the GLK's undersized cargo area, but small for the class and less than half the cargo space of the RX. Fold the seats down, and the NX's 54.6 cubic feet makes up some of the lost ground, falling near most competitors. (The Lexus NX 300h's battery pack sits beneath the rear seat, cutting about 1 cubic foot of volume in either configuration.)

Ergonomics & Electronics
I'm less enthralled about the brand's next-gen Remote Touch interface, which comes on navigation-equipped NX models. The latest setup abandons a stubby joystick for a square surface that's similar to a laptop touchpad. It's straightforward and retains haptic feedback, but it suffers clunky map interactions and menu items that are too easy to miss. Pinch-to-zoom map functions operate with halting lag, and scrolling the map still takes too much hold-and-swipe dexterity. Sans navigation, the NX gets a simpler directional joystick knob.

The standard CD stereo has HD and AM/FM/satellite radio, Bluetooth audio streaming, Siri Eyes Free compatibility, USB/iPod connectivity and DVR-like real-time audio recording (AM/FM only, unfortunately). An optional wireless smartphone charger works through Qi, a wireless charging standard (much like Bluetooth is a wireless data-streaming standard). Navigation-equipped models add extra stereo speakers, including a subwoofer. They also add Lexus' Enform system, which can stream apps ranging from Yelp to iHeartRadio off a compatible smartphone once you download the Enform app.

Safety
The NX had not been crash-tested as of publication, but standard safety features include eight airbags, a backup camera and the required antilock brakes and electronic stability system. Front parking sensors and blind spot, lane departure and forward collision warning systems are optional. The lane departure warning includes automatic steering correction, and the forward collision warning — packaged with all-speed adaptive cruise control — can automatically apply brakes if the driver misses its warnings.

Value in Its Class
Lexus expects to sell about 36,000 NX SUVs in the U.S. annually — about a third of RX sales, but right in the thick of Q5/GLK/X3 numbers. And very few of those should come from RX shoppers; Lexus officials predict just 5 or 10 percent of sales will come at the expense of the brand's mainstay SUV. Pricing information is due in fall 2014. The Lexus NX comes fairly well-equipped: eight-way power front seats with driver's power lumbar; keyless access and push-button start; Bluetooth phone/audio with Siri Eyes Free integration; and that backup camera are all standard. The German competition starts just less than $40,000 (all prices include destination), but Acura's 2015 RDX, at $35,790, is the value pick of the litter. We'll see which direction Lexus goes. The NX can't, however, start too close to the RX, which starts at less than $42,000 for 2015. With the right pricing, the brand's latest SUV deserves attention.

Send Kelsey an email  

 

Consumer Reviews

What drivers are saying

4.5
60 reviews — Read All reviews
Exterior Styling
(4.8)
Performance
(4.4)
Interior Design
(4.7)
Comfort
(4.5)
Reliability
(4.5)
Value For The Money
(4.2)

Read reviews that mention:

(1.0)

Very bad quality, A/C Problems, 2015 models

by US from Phoenix, AZ on November 21, 2018

Very poor quality, just past 50,00 miles and A/C blows hot air. Can not image this bad from Lexus. My Kia and Toyota had no A/C issue for over 100,00 miles. This is my first Lexus and will be the last... Read full review

(5.0)

Most fuel efficient car use dyet

by LexusDan from Las Vegas, NV on October 28, 2018

This car meets all my needs starting from the stylish interior and very stylish exterior of the the vehicle. The infotainment center is very cool. Read full review

Safety

Recalls and crash tests

Recalls

The 2015 Lexus NX 200t currently has 2 recalls


Crash and Rollover Test Ratings

Based on 2015 Lexus NX 200t Base

IIHS rates vehicles good, acceptable, marginal, or poor.

Head Restraints and Seats

Dynamic Rating
good
Overall Rear
good
Seat Head/Restraint Geometry
good

Moderate overlap front

Chest
good
Head/Neck
good
Left Leg/Foot
good
Overall Front
good
Restraints
good
Right Leg/Foot
good
Structure/safety cage
good

Other

Roof Strength
good

Side

Driver Head Protection
good
Driver Head and Neck
good
Driver Pelvis/Leg
good
Driver Torso
good
Overall Side
good
Rear Passenger Head Protection
good
Rear Passenger Head and Neck
good
Rear Passenger Pelvis/Leg
good
Rear Passenger Torso
good
Structure/safety cage
good

Small Overlap Front - Driver Side

Chest
good
Head/Neck
good
Hip/Thigh
good
Lower Leg/Foot
good
Overall Evaluation
good
Restraints and Dummy Kinematics
good
Structure and Safety Cage
good
Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) is a nonprofit research and communications organization funded by auto insurers.

Warranty

New car and certified pre-owned programs by Lexus

New Car Program Benefits

  • Bumper-to-Bumper

    48 months / 50,000 miles

  • Powertrain

    72 months / 70,000 miles

  • Roadside Assistance

    48 months / unlimited distance

Certified Pre-Owned Program Benefits

Latest 2015 NX 200t Stories

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All Model Years for the Lexus NX 200t

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Cars.com Car Seat Check

Certified child passenger safety technicians conduct hands-on tests of a car’s Latch system and check the vehicle’s ability to accommodate different types of car seats. The NX 200t received the following grades on a scale of A-F.*

Third-row access

N/A

Infant seat

C

Booster

(second row)

B

Booster

(third row)

N/A

Latch or Latch system

B

Forward-facing convertible

(third row)

N/A

Forward-facing convertible

(second row)

A

Rear-facing convertible

A
* This score may not apply to all trims, especially for vehicles with multiple body styles that affect the space and design of the seating.
For complete details,

Warranty FAQs

What is a Bumper-to-Bumper warranty?

Often called a basic warranty or new-vehicle warranty, a bumper-to-bumper policy covers components like air conditioning, audio systems, vehicle sensors, fuel systems and major electrical components. Most policies exclude regular maintenance like fluid top offs and oil changes, but a few brands have separate free-maintenance provisions, and those that do offer them is slowly rising. Bumper-to-bumper warranties typically expire faster than powertrain warranties.

What is a Powertrain warranty?

Don't be misled a 10-year or 100,000-mile powertrain warranty doesn't promise a decade of free repairs for your car. It typically covers just the engine and transmission, along with any other moving parts that lead to the wheels, like the driveshaft and constant velocity joints. Some automakers also bundle seat belts and airbags into their powertrain warranties. With a few exceptions, powertrain warranties don't cover regular maintenance like engine tuneups and tire rotations.

What is included in Roadside Assistance?

Some automakers include roadside assistance with their bumper-to-bumper or powertrain warranties, while others have separate policies. These programs cover anything from flat-tire changes and locksmith services to jump-starts and towing. Few reimburse incidental costs like motel rooms (if you have to wait for repairs).

What other services could be included in a warranty?

Some automakers include free scheduled maintenance for items such as oil changes, air filters and tire rotations. Some include consumables including brake pads and windshield wipers; others do not. They are typically for the first couple of years of ownership of a new car.

What does CPO mean?

A certified pre-owned or CPO car has been inspected to meet minimum quality standards and typically includes some type of warranty. While dealers and third parties certify cars, the gold standard is an automaker-certified vehicle that provides a factory-backed warranty, often extending the original coverage. Vehicles must be in excellent condition and have low miles and wear to be certified, which is why off-lease vehicles feed many CPO programs.

See also the latest CPO incentives by automaker

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