2016 Lexus NX 200t F Sport: ‘mall racing’ ambiance in a new angle

2016 Lexus NX200t F Sport | MSRP: $38,365 | Price as tested: $46,440

Engine: 2.0L; 235 h.p.; 258 lb.-ft. | MPG: 22 city / 27 hwy

Features: Qi-Compatible Wireless Charger, F Sport Tuned Suspension, Pre-Collision System, SmartAccess Entry with Push-Button Start/Stop, etc.

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I’m just going to throw this out there – cars shouldn’t have volume knobs. It took me the longest time to get behind those ‘sport’ exhaust buttons that some cars have, which changes the tone from mild to wild for your weekend drive. I get that now, but then Lexus comes along and gives us… a car with a volume knob.

Lexus is Toyota’s luxury brand, and here we see what they can do when given the RAV4 as a blank canvas. They certainly have added quite a bit of luxury here, but this is the F-Sport version, which is their sporting brand and it also shows here. For the first time, they have gone turbo with a 2.0L 4-cylinder with 235-horsepower and both 22 city 27 highway MPG. The engine is responsive, powerful and fun.

It sounds great too, or so I thought when I first started driving it. The engine kind of growls to make it feel like fun. But then I realized I was getting tricked. The ‘Active Sound Control’ pumps ‘engine sound’ through the very nice Mark Levinson premium audio system. Once I turned it down, you could barely hear the engine.

That’s when it hit me – Lexus is trying to please everyone with this car. There’s a makeup compact built into the center console. A G-Meter in the center dash to measure your cornering force. Something for everyone. Luckily, these gimmicks aren’t enough to take away from the properly appointed cabin. The seats, steering wheel and…

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