Lexus launched the NX 200t compact luxury crossover for 2015, adding pizzazz to its SUV lineup with snappy styling and a personality more appealing to sport-minded drivers than mall mavens.
The five-passenger NX 200t stays basically the same for 2017, but with new exterior colors for F Sport versions and a new standard Scout GPS Link on models with a display audio system.
There are three models: NX200t, NX 200t F Sport, and the hybrid NX 300h.
My tester was the NX 200t F Sport, which kicks up the car’s styling and sportiness with a black mesh grille, metallic coated lower bumper molding, black side mirrors, unique 18-inch wheels and sport-tuned suspension.
In the passenger cabin, the NX 200t F Sport is distinct from other models by having quilted NuLuxe sport seats, an exclusive Rioja Red interior color, and unique instrumentation inspired by the Lexus LFA supercar.
A 2.0-liter turbo four-cylinder engine propels the NX 200t F Sport with 235 horsepower and 258 lb-ft of torque. The transmission is an advanced six-speed automatic engineered to accommodate spirited driving. Fuel economy figures for my tester with all-wheel drive are 22 mpg city, 27 mpg highway, and 24 mpg combined.
A knob in the center console can be turned to Eco, Normal or Sport driving modes. Sport mode really picks up the pace as well as holding higher revs longer, but Eco mode has nothing to be ashamed of, and has the advantage of better fuel economy.
The racy characteristics of the NX 200t F Sport don’t overshadow the Lexus trademarks of sophistication and high quality construction. This car’s ride is smooth, comfortable and quiet. For those who like hearing the engine note of their sporty vehicle, the F Sport accommodates by having Active Sound Control, which brings some of that note into the cabin through the speakers and enhances it, at a volume the driver can adjust.
A touchpad in the center console operates the car’s infotainment system. The system itself is great but the same thing cannot be said for that touchpad. Its movements seem weird and jerky, not smooth and intuitive.
My tester sported one of the new colors for 2017: Molten Pearl, which in common language would be called Orange. Not all oranges are good, but this one is. A friend expressed surprise that Lexus would have a car in such a bold color, but the NX 200t is a bold Lexus, so it works.
2017 LEXUS NX 200t F SPORT
Base price, including destination charge: $39,560
Price as driven: $46,439
Mary Lowry is an independent automotive writer who lives in Snohomish County. She is a member of the Motor Press Guild, and a member and past president of the Northwest Automotive Press Association. Vehicles are provided by the manufacturers as a one-week loan for review purposes only. In no way do the manufacturers control the content of the reviews.