2016 Lexus NX 200t Review
Lexus NX 200t Interior Overview
Those of us of a certain age recall the original “Star Trek” television series with great fondness. With that said, I’m starting to think contemporary Japanese car designers must be binge watching the show on Netflix because their cars are starting to look like they’d be right at home in the shuttlecraft bay of the “Enterprise”. As proof, consider if you will the angular countenance of the 2016 Lexus NX 200t five-passenger compact luxury crossover.
Possessing what is typically referred to as a “polarizing” design, you’ll either love the look of this newest Lexus crossover, or you’ll be turned off by it. Personally, I like it because the look fits its demeanor. The Lexus has just the right amount of sportiness to go with its tidy size, and yet all of the comfort and convenience attributes we’ve come to expect from Lexus are apparent as well.
My test car’s red on black supple leather upholstery covers highly supportive seats (with heat for the driver and front passenger). The instrument panel’s clean lines give the interior a spacious feeling, despite the compact exterior dimensions, and the overall layout of the instrumentation and switchgear convey a thoroughly modern vibe. On the other hand, the Lexus touchpad infotainment interface gets no similar enthusiasm. It’s like the interior designers were trying to find a compromise between a touchscreen and a dial and monitor setup. The thing is, the touchpad has the same issues for me as a touchscreen. It’s just too inaccurate for instinctive operation on the move.
Standard features include automatic LED headlights, keyless entry and pushbutton start, dual-zone automatic climate control, a seven-inch display screen, Siri Eyes Free, the Lexus Display Audio electronics interface, and an eight-speaker audio system. My F Sport trimmed tester also has 18-inch wheels, a sport tuned suspension system, paddle shifters, and an engine note synthesizer to give it a sporty sound. Other key options include a power rear liftgate, a sunroof, and a power-folding rear seat.
Living with the NX200t should be quite easy for a couple, empty nesters, or a single person who occasionally needs a bit more cargo room. Seating positions are comfortable all around, and rear seat legroom is acceptable. Cargo capacity, on the other hand is rather meager at 17.7 cubic feet with the rear seat deployed. Fold it away, you’ll get a total of 54.6 cubic feet, but you’ll only bring one passenger along for the ride.
Power comes from a 2.0-liter turbocharged inline four with 235 horsepower and 258 ft-lbs of torque. A six-speed automatic transmission and front-wheel drive are the standard powertrain configuration, while all-wheel drive is offered as an option. Fuel economy is rated at 25 mpg overall for the front drive powertrain, and 24 combined for the all-wheel drive version of the 2016 Lexus NX 200t.
The engine pulls nicely. No, it won’t set your eyebrows on fire, but it’s peppy enough to make driving the sporty little SUV-let interesting. Steering is responsive, the chassis takes a nice set in corners, and the 200t’s body motions are well controlled. Ride quality is a bit on the firm side, though I’m sure this is partially attributable to the F Sport suspension package, 18-inch wheels, and low profile tires. For me, the handling makes up for the minor tradeoff in ride quality, but if you’re looking for a more traditionally Lexus-like experience, you might try the non-F Sport version as well to see if the difference is significant enough to make you want to go that route.
All in all, the 2016 Lexus NX200t is a sharp looking, well thought out piece. As the crossover SUV market gets sliced into finer and finer segments, I’m certain we’re going to see many more narrowly focused models such as this emerging. Currently, its chief competitors are Audi’s Q5, BMW X3, and Mercedes GLC. Pricing starts at $34,965.