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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
SPECIFICATIONS: 2018 Lexus NX 300 F Sport
|Price as Tested:
|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|
|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|
|Width:||73.6 inches (w/ mirrors folded)|
|Turning Circle:||19.9 feet|
|Curb Weight:||3,940 pounds|