Reuse and recycle has become an environmentally-friendly concept praised by many. However, it doesn’t always work perfectly. Especially, when talking about cars. Sounds like this concept got to Lexus, too, and instead of offering new engine and an absolutely new vehicle, they took Lexus NX 200 and re-badged it to the 2018 Lexus NX 300. So, is it worth the upgrade? Let’s dive in and find out!
First impressions inside and out
Our test vehicle had a luxury package, which alone costs $4,705 and is optionally available. We would still recommend to try it, since only this way you can experience the true quality of the fit and finish – something you would like to experience in a vehicle like this. Very soft and high-quality leather on the dash and doors, completed with the leather feel throughout the interior.
The new NX 300 is powered by a 2-liter 4-cylinder turbocharged engine that produces 235hp, paired with a 6-speed automatic transmission. With more and more cars coming with 8-9-10-speed gearbox, in our view, it wouldn’t hurt to redesign the 6-speed automatic transmission to get more from the “powertrain department.”
The NX 300 pulls forward quite well when you put your foot down; however, you can still feel that this is a heavy, 4,000-pound vehicle. The suspension is very well-balanced, offering you a comfortable ride while moving through the city jungle.
You’ve got navigation, heated and cooled front seats, heated steering wheel, blind spot monitors with rear cross-traffic alert, as well as lane assist. However, even in a top package you have neither laser cruise control, nor Android Auto. Unfortunately, the NX 300 does lack on the technology side, especially when it comes to the Lexus’ infotainment system.
We did like the newer interior design with a bigger screen on the center console, which Lexus started to bring more and more of into their vehicles. With the 12.3-inch screen optionally available, it does provide the whole interior trim with a more modern and fresh look. The only things we would wish to see less are the “analog lights” throughout the interior. Airbags, ECO mode, parking sensors… It seems the NX 300 literally notifies you of every option it has. Besides the fact that it looks bad, it also confuses many drivers, as we’re used to seeing lights on the dash only when something is broken and requires our attention.
Good sound insulation and a perfect standard 10-speaker audio system is something Lexus can be proud of. There’s a Mark Levinson stereo optionally available, however, in our view, you can easily skip it, as standard Lexus stereo works just fine.
Is it worth it?
The NX series is a relatively new lineup in Lexus, with first models rolling out in the market only three years ago, in 2015. Originally, the NX 300 was introduced as “an entry-level compact Lexus SUV” that starts at around $36,000 for the base front-wheel-drive model. Our test vehicle had a window sticker with a very impressive price tag of $48,000. Yes, it did have all the options but it also felt like a little bit too much for a compact SUV, pricewise.
It’s obvious that Lexus aims to target a very specific buyer with the NX 300. It has a very high-quality leather package with a nice feel to it, however, it also does come with a hefty price tag. The overall experience brings more “questions” than “answers” when it comes to the decision whether it’s worth it. Considering both the options and the price tag you might be better off with some of its competition when it comes to pricing. But, if you are not opposed to Lexus as a brand, the new NX 300 is definitely worth a spot on your shopping list.
Special thanks to The Lexus Division of Toyota Motor Corporation for providing
the 2018 Lexus NX 300 for review.