The 2.0-liter turbocharged 4-cylinder engine turns out 235 horsepower and 258 lbs.-ft. of torque. Those are snappy numbers comparable to its competition. A six-speed automatic transmission performs well and the paddle shifters can enhance the driving experience. The NX is a bit noisier in the cabin than the larger Lexus RX but that’s understandable with the sportiness incorporated within. At just a smidgen more than 15 feet in length and with its low profile, the NX is able to attack twisting roads.
Inside, there’s a nice mix of smooth leather, crisp materials and visible gauges. With transmission, cruise control and audio controls on the steering wheel and a head-up display, the cockpit is definitely user friendly. The one aspect that is difficult to get used to - and maybe it’s because of my short testing time - is the Remote Touch pad included with the Navigation Package. The pad is touchy and not something to be messed with while moving.
Front-seat passengers have multi-powered positions at their disposal and bolstered bucket seating. The rear bench splits, folds and reclines. The cargo area has 17.7 cubic feet of space, not a lot for an SUV but part of the sacrifice to have a lively entry in this category.
Our tester exhibited the full gamut of what an NX can hold. Other options included heated front seats, power moonroof, a pre-collision system with all-speed cruise control that can bring the vehicle to a stop from speeds up to 37 mph, lane-departure warning system, blind-spot monitor and wireless mobile phone charger.
The Lexus NX 200t F Sport brings the finer touches and an inviting wheel-turning performance into a compact SUV. There’s no reason why it can’t be a move-up step for RAV4 owners and others.
David Mikesell is a free-lance automotive reviewer based in Indianapolis.