A Most Pleasant Ride
By Ron Amadon
DAMASCUS, MD. – Perhaps you don’t want a big hulking Sport Utility Vehicle but rather a more petite model that can be coaxed with ease into most any parking space at the supermarket.
But you want luxury and excellent reliability, preferring to spend your time exploring instead of deciding whether to trust the coffee in a dealer’s service department.
Then check out the Lexus NX.
First appearing in the 2015 model year, Lexus has now released details of the 2018 NX well before the first fire cracker has been lit. More on that to come but let’s start by entering the well optioned 2017 test vehicle.
It was a very nice place to be with soft leather, elegant trim, and excellent seats. I was a fan of the analog clock. Fit and finish were excellent and the total package felt very upscale.
Among other things, a $1,875 Navigation package brought a remote touch interface for the 10-speaker premium sound system with a subwoofer located in the liftgate.
A $2,890 Premium Package included heated and cooled front seats, moonroof, and power 10-way driver’s seat including adjustable lumbar support.
To the rear there was ample space for real adults and everyone was housed in a very quiet cabin.
On top of the dash was a 7-inch infotainment display while a 4.2 inch TFT LCD panel faced the driver imparting about all the information one could possibly want.
Factoid: With the proper combination of options, drivers can get a “Vehicle Health Report” via e- mail.
Two demerits on the inside. The center console touchpad, much like the one on your laptop, controls the infotainment package and it was not clear to me how one could deal with this and drive at the same time. There are audio controls on the steering wheel.
And total cargo space is a bit below competitors at 54.6 cubic feet with the second row folded. If you are going to haul lots of stuff, take a gander at the Lexus RX 350. (There is an upside to this – check below.)
Power you say?
A refined 2.0-liter turbo four with 235 hp @ 4,800-5,600 rpm and for torque 258 lb-ft @ 1,650-4,000 rpm.
Lexus quotes a 0-60 of 7 seconds and that is generally in line with the NX opposition. The power plant was matched to a smooth operating six speed transmission. It was my feeling that the combination should meet the expectations of most owners.
The EPA rates it at 22 mpg city, 28 highway for a combined 25. I came in, as usual, somewhere in the middle at 26 with a lot of rural road and interstate operation. Our test NX was front drive, while all-wheel drive is also available.
Some felt the ride was too firm, others praised the suspension settings and their ability to deal with bumps. OOPS, excuse me, for they are now road imperfections.
There was the usual safety equipment including Blind Spot Monitor, Rear Cross Traffic Alert, and Parking Assist with Back Sonar, Automatic Collision Notification and not to forget the Stolen Vehicle Locator.
Price? Oh yes, that is probably what you are wondering about at this juncture.
Prices start at $35,285 for a FWD base model on up to $38,720 for the hybrid.
The test NX with options totaling $6,270 carried an MSRP with delivery of $42,075.
Now for a look in to the future.
Lexus displayed the “refreshed” 2018 NX at the Shanghai show. The upper portion of the grille and front bumpers have been redesigned. Satin and smoked chrome trim pieces have been applied to the grille treatment.
The chrome tipped exhaust tips are now integrated into the vehicle’s revised bumper cover design and there is a new rear underbody spoiler.
One thing will catch your eye. The center dashboard display has grown from 7 to 10.3 inches. The HVAC control panel now features four toggle switches replacing a selection of buttons.
The wireless charger tray has grown to accommodate a larger smart phone. A foot sensing rear hatch opener is now on board.
Lexus said for 2018 the springs, stabilizer bars and bushings have been retuned for improved turn-in response and cornering. New shocks are said to improve the ride.
If you are heading cross county, the analog clock now automatically adjusts to time zones.
And this could be a most pleasant vehicle to search out one ocean from the other. And it might save you money.
The smaller cargo space might encourage less souvenir shopping!
Wheelbase 104.7 in.
Overall Length 182.3 in.
73.6 in. (mirrors folded)
Overall Height 64.8
Ground Clearance 6.9 in
Rear seats up and rearmost 17.7 cu. ft.
Rear seats folded down 54.6 cu. ft.
3,940 lbs. (FWD)
4,050 lbs. (AWD)
Max Towing Capacity
Fuel Capacity 15.9
235 hp @ 4,800-5,600 rpm
258 lb.-ft. @ 1,650-4,000 rpm gal.
48 month/50,000-mile basic limited warranty with roadside assistance for 48 months/unlimited miles.
72 months/70,000 miles powertrain and restraint system coverage.
72 months corrosion perforation protection coverage, regardless of mileage.