Lexus NX SUV review (2014-2021)
"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 a smaller SUV 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. It's certainly a competitive class but the NX will help you stand out from the SUV crowd with its striking design, while the upmarket and high-quality interior add to the car’s 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.
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 frustrating to use, largely because of its trackpad controller.
There are other aspects of the NX that may put off buyers too; unlike all its rivals, there isn’t a conventional petrol or diesel engine option, and the hybrid powertrain won't suit everyone. 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 more enjoyable SUV to drive.
There's only one NX power option, a hybrid setup that combines a 2.5-litre four-cylinder petrol engine and an electric motor. The entry-level version is offered with front-wheel drive but four-wheel drive is standard for higher trims. Low CO2 emissions should be the main advantage of the hybrid setup but with 161-175g/km it sits in the top two bands for Benefit-in-Kind (BiK) liability, offering little advantage over petrol or diesel rivals for company-car buyers.
Four trim levels means there's plenty of choice. The entry-level model is simply called NX, while choosing Premium Sport Edition adds kit and 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 came 42nd in our 2020 Driver Power survey, while 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