Lexus NX SUV review
"The Lexus NX has unique looks and a desirable interior, but a firm ride, small boot and lack of engine choice may put off buyers"
- Efficient hybrid system
- Distinctive styling
- Lavish interior
- Harsh ride
- No diesel engine
- Not much fun to drive
The Lexus NX is smaller than the popular Lexus RX, competing directly with the Range Rover Evoque, Mercedes GLC, Audi Q5, Jaguar F-Pace, Volvo XC60, Alfa Romeo Stelvio and BMW X3. Yes, this is a very competitive class, but the NX will certainly help you stand out from the SUV crowd with its striking design, while its upmarket and high-quality interior add to its desirability.
A facelift in late 2017 subtly updated its looks with revised LED headlights, a slightly altered grille, and more distinctive side air vents, updated rear lights and new alloy wheel designs. A Sport trim level was added to the line-up in 2018.
As part of the update, the Premium Navigation display grew to 10.3 inches, while the Lexus Display Audio screen was expanded by an inch as well. Toggle switches replaced a few buttons on the centre console, and the dashboard-mounted clock was made clearer. Despite the changes, the fiddly infotainment system is still infuriating to use, though.
There are other aspects of the NX that may put off buyers, too; unlike all its rivals, there isn’t a diesel engine available, while the firm suspension also sends too many bumps through to the cabin. Despite this stiff setup, the NX doesn’t offer a very involving driving experience to make up for it; the BMW X3 is a better SUV to drive.
Rather numb steering also means the NX feels vague, which can knock your confidence when trying to position the nose accurately in corners. Body lean in tight corners might not be much of an issue, but the NX is an SUV best suited to leisurely trips, rather than spirited drives along a challenging road.
There's only one NX power option, a hybrid setup that combines a 2.5-litre four-cylinder petrol engine and an electric motor. Sat nav is standard across the range and three trim levels means there's plenty of choice. The entry-level model is simply called NX, while choosing the F-Sport trim gives the NX a more aggressive, muscular look, but the ride is even firmer. The range-topping Takumi adds luxuries such as a 14-speaker stereo, a 360-degree camera system and extra safety assistance technology.
Equipment aside, it's arguable that Lexus' greatest virtue is owner satisfaction. In fact, the Lexus NX finished strongly in our 2019 Driver Power survey, ranking 26th out of 100 cars currently on sale in the UK. Lexus as a brand came top, with owners praising reliability and customer service. The NX also received five stars in Euro NCAP crash tests.
Subjectively, it's fair to say that newer rivals match or beat the NX in many important areas, but it still has a great deal of appeal – and owners would appear to agree.
See how this car scored on our sister site DrivingElectric