Lexus NX 300 test drive review – Drive Safe and Fast

Cars

Published on July 5th, 2018 | by Daniel Sherman Fernandez

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Lexus NX 300 test drive review

This revised Lexus NX 300 arrived in Malaysia earlier this year, just a few months after it was unveiled at last year’s Shanghai Motor Show. Think Porsche Macan, then take away all the curves and introduce sharp edges and you will be on the right track. This revised NX receives bold exterior styling refinements to appeal to the next generation of luxury consumers. The entire front fascia of the new NX has been refreshed, with the upper portion of the grille and the front bumpers redesigned to give this sports SUV a sleeker overall shape and excellent aerodynamics. The rear end sports a new look as well. Powering the NX 300 is still the popular Lexus’ powerful and fuel-efficient turbocharged 2.0-liter engine churning out 235hp for dynamic performance.

Exterior styling refinements

The strong design essence of the NX has been preserved, but given stronger visual impact with a number of detailed changes including a new-look spindle grille, reshaped front bumper and LED headlamp units with sequential LED turn indicators. At the rear, there are adjustments to the form and finish of the lower rear bumper and new lamp clusters. New alloy wheel designs have also been added.

Interior: an authentic driver’s environment with added convenience

The Lexus NX’s cabin has been given a sportier and more luxurious feel, while an upgrade of some of the equipment features, including larger multimedia displays and a revised air conditioning control panel to deliver an improved ease of use and a smarter appearance.

Power rear door

The new Lexus NX gains the convenience of a power rear door with “no-touch” opening and closing function. When you approach the vehicle with the key on your person, all you need to do to open the door is move your foot beneath the rear bumper, where the motion will be picked up by a sensor. The tailgate can be closed with a similar action. A lock reserve button next to the tailgate grab handle automatically locks the vehicle.

Lexus Safety System +

For this revised NX, Lexus Safety System + provides a Pre-Collision System, Adaptive Cruise Control, Adaptive High-beam System, Lane Keeping Assist with Sway Warning and Road Sign Assist.

Meters and switches

Lexus has made some detail changes to the new Lexus NX’s switchgear and controls to improve their ergonomic quality. The most prominent change is an increase in size for the central multimedia display. The screen has grown from 7 to 10.3 inches, while for the Lexus Display Audio the increase is from 7 to 8 inches.

The climate control panel in the centre console has been rationalised with several of the buttons being replaced by a series of four toggle switches, finished with a tactile pattern of small, metallic Lexus “L” motifs. The analogue clock in the centre of the dashboard has been made larger and given a clearer face. As well as being easier to read, it now has a GPS control that automatically adjusts the time displayed as the vehicle passes through different world time zones.

An Eco Driving Indicator supports environmentally efficient driving, by showing the range of acceleration for Eco driving and the status of acceleration in real time. The 4.2-inch TFT LCD full-colour multi-information display is centrally positioned in the instrument cluster, with ambient illumination linked to the Drive Mode Select switch, changing colour for each mode. The NX also has electrostatic touch switches in the headlining to operate the interior lights.

ON-BOARD TECHNOLOGY

NX owners can recharge their smartphones and other compatible items simply by placing them in a dedicated charging tray located handily between the front seats, with no need for a cable connection. In the new NX the tray has been made larger, so that new-generation handsets can be accommodated.

To improve connectivity the USB ports on the new NX have been moved to handier central position and have a higher amperage so that devices can be charged more quickly. The new NX benefits from an all-new Lexus Remote Touch Interface, a design introduced earlier this year in the new Lexus LS and LC flagship models. The pad surface has been made larger so that it is easier to use and the palm rest has been reprofiled so that it provides better wrist support. The Mark Levinson audio, designed specifically for the vehicle, uses advanced Clari-Fi technology which improves the playback sound quality of compressed digital music files.

DRIVING DYNAMICS

This NX 300 rides high on smart 18-inch alloys tucked under smoothly blistered wheel arches. A steeply-raked front screen and tapering glasshouse and a prominent ‘kicked-up’ belt line over the rear wheel arch, deep doors and a purposeful front-end give it ‘attitude’ and seen in a rear-view mirror, it’s mean and menacing.

The NX 300 drives like a sports sedan. Amongst luxury SUVs, it is only Porsche’s Macan and Range Rovers Evoque that probably handles better. Despite a firm chassis set-up to benefit ardent driving, the NX 300 manages a happy compromise between taut body control and ride comfort. The steering is precise and corners are taken flatly and stability on quick, twisty roads is reassuring. Lexus has made a thorough re-assessment of the new NX’s suspension, introducing detailed adjustments to the spring rates, bushing material and component mounts to optimise performance and achieve even higher stability, both in straight-line driving and cornering. The Lexus Drive Mode Select gives drivers the choice of Normal, ECO and SPORT driving modes, selected using a dial control on the centre console. Drive Mode Select also simultaneously modifies the power steering assistance and suspension damping force setting.

Another place you appreciate the NX 300’s inherent stability is on the highway. At fast legal speeds it feels confident and it’s easy to forget you are in a high-riding vehicle. Cruising under 2,700rpm at the legal limit in top gear, the NX 300 is quiet and you will need to keep an eye on the speedometer as you might ‘accidently’ speed up without realizing your speed due to the great cabin NVH which is what most owners want to enjoy from the great acoustics that is provided as standard in every Lexus NX and also all other Lexus models. Gear ratios are well stacked and with low-down torque there is plenty of oomph for safe overtaking. Particularly on highways, you rarely need to drop down a gear to get clear of slower-moving traffic.

Priced from RM294k it is quite a distance from the starting price of a Porsche Macan 2.0T which starts from RM425k…which is good RM131k difference. Still, the final choice is yours.

Lexus NX 300t Specification

Engine: 4-cylinder 16V Twin-scroll Turbocharger

Capacity: 1998cc

Transmission: 6 A/T, AWD

Max Power: 235hp @ 4800-5600rpm

Max Torque: 350Nm @ 1650-4000rpm

0-100km/h: 7.1secs

Top Speed: 200km/h

Price: From RM294,290.00


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