• The 2018 Lexus NX 300 F Sport Looks the Part, but Needs More Punch [Review]


    2018 Lexus NX 300 F Sport
    [Photo: Lexus]
    Back in 2015, the Lexus NX emerged on the scene as a “200t”  model, referencing its 2.0-liter turbocharged engine. A logical name at the time, given the size of its powerplant. Now, in the grand tradition of European giants like BMW and Audi, Lexus changed the name to the NX “300”. Despite the name change, the 2018 Lexus NX 300 remains the same underneath, retaining its 2.0-liter engine. The hybrid version continues on as the NX 300h, with a gasoline-electric powertrain.

    WHAT’S NEW

    As part of the 2018 Lexus NX 300 F Sport’s refresh, Lexus revised the front fascia, particularly with the crossover’s  F Sport treatment. It has a chiseled, angular persona, where the spindle grille integrates into the fenders for a more aggressive appearance. Not only that – there’s a bright chin spoiler that now appears below the grille. Lexus also revised the interior accommodations and the suspension.

    In profile, the NX 300 exhibits an athletic stance with short front and rear overhangs, pronounced wheel arches, a rising shoulder and a chiseled indentation on the lower rocker. The shape of the B and C-pillars give an almost coupe-like image, with the cabin glass surrounded by bright chrome trim. The F Sport option package remains available boosting the bold aggressive appearance with a black mesh grille and unique wheels.

    2018 Lexus NX 300 F Sport
    [Photo: Lexus]

    COMFORT AND CONVENIENCE

    Interior enhancements for 2018 are modest. There’s a new metallic finish for much of the switchgear and redesigned HVAC controls. A new option is the larger, 10.3-inch central display screen, which is controlled by a revised remote touchpad. Other available features are a foot-motion sensor that opens the power tailgate, a second-generation Remote Touch Interface and Enform Wi-Fi for up to five devices.

    Lexus’ Safety System is now standard and includes a Pre-Collision System with Pedestrian Detection, Radar Cruise Control, Intelligent High Beams and Lane Keep Assist.

    The 2018 Lexus NX 300 F Sport I tested starts at $39,775. However, additional options such as the Adaptive Variable Suspension, a 360-degree camera system, auto-dimming rearview mirror with Homelink, and automatic LED headlamps drive the price up. A navigation package, 10-speaker premium sound system, Park Assist, power liftgate, the F-Sport Package and destination charges brought the total price to $50,325.

    2018 Lexus NX 300 F Sport
    [Photo: Lexus]

    PERFORMANCE

    The 2018 Lexus NX 300 F Sport makes 235 horsepower and 258 lb-ft of torque from its 2.0-liter turbocharged engine. That power is routed through a six-speed automatic transmission to the front wheels. However, you can equip your NX with all-wheel drive as well.

    The 2018 Lexus NX 300 F Sport exhibits aspirations of being a sports car in terms of its styling. However, in reality it is still a crossover, so it’s certainly no high-performance model. Performance is certainly adequate considering the power source, but acceleration is not particularly thrilling. The handling is solid, though, consisting of responsive steering, braking and grip through the corners. The $2,390 F Sport Package adds significantly to the NX 300’s sporting pretensions.

    TFLCAR’S TAKE

    The 2018 NX 300 F Sport represents a solid value when you consider the content you’re getting for your money. The cabin’s ambience is reflective of higher-priced luxury SUVs, and there’s ample legroom for both front and rear seat occupants. However, cargo space is a bit limited compared to what you may expect.

    In terms of user friendliness, the touch or trackpad style controller for the infotainment system can be difficult to use, especially when you’re on the move.

    SPECIFICATIONS: 2018 Lexus NX 300 F Sport

    On Sale: Now
    Base MSRP: $39,775
    Price as Tested:
    $50,325
    Engine: 2.0-liter turbocharged inline four-cylinder
    Drivetrain (Layout): Transversely mounted front engine, front-wheel drive
    Horsepower: 235 hp @ 4,800-5,600 rpm
    Torque: 258 lb-ft @ 1,650-4,000 rpm
    Transmission: 6-speed automatic
    Suspension: Front: MacPherson strut w/ coil springs

    Rear:  Trailing Arm double-wishbone type w/ coil springs.

    Brakes: Power-assisted four-wheel discs (vented front) w/ ABS, Brake Assist and Electronic Brake Force Distribution.
    Tires: Michelin Primacy MXM4 P225/60 R18 100H
    Fuel capacity: 15.9 gallons
    Fuel economy (EPA): 22 City / 27 Highway / 24 Combined MPG

    Dimensions:

    Wheelbase: 104.7 inches
    Length: 182.3 inches
    Width: 73.6 inches (w/ mirrors folded)
    Height: 64.8 inches
    Turning Circle: 19.9 feet
    Curb Weight: 3,940 pounds

     

    Arv Voss
    Arv Voss
    Arv Voss is a Northern California based freelance motoring journalist and member and past officer of several noted automotive journalist organizations who contributes regularly to a number of national and international media outlets. He reviews not only cars, trucks and SUVs, but motorcycles as well.
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