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The 2023 Lexus NX 350 F Sport Redefines Subcompact with Stylish Design

The 2023 Lexus NX 350 F Sport is a subcompact luxury SUV that embodies the Lexus luxury formula with its upscale appearance and well-appointed interior. Despite its impressive aesthetic, the driving still offers a classic interpretation of the Lexus luxury experience.

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In 2022 Lexus NX brought a breath of fresh air, taking advantage of an in-depth redesign to begin the second generation of the compact crossover. It sports a new body, but also new on-board technologies and a sportier character, in addition to a greater choice of engines under the hood.

This week Torque News is reviewing the F Sports trim of the 2023 Lexus NX 350, which has not changed at all from the 2022 model. And since I am reviewing the F Sport trim of the 2023 Lexus NX 350, let me start immediately talking about the specifications of the F Sport trim.

2023 Lexus NX 350 F Sport Specifications

Note that the 2023 Lexus NX 350 and NX 450h can be upgraded with the F Sport package, which offers sportier driving dynamics thanks to active variable suspension systems and front and rear performance shock absorbers.

Cosmetic upgrades include exclusive F Sport Package grille and bumpers, color-keyed fenders, black roof rails, dark graphite aluminum accents, meter cluster, sport seats covered in NuLuxe upholstery black and circuit red, an aluminum steering wheel and pedals and sill plates.

The 2023 Lexus NX 350 F Sport grille

All 2023 NX models are equipped with the Lexus Safety System+ 3.0 Pre-Collision System suite, as well as a digital locking system allowing the doors to be opened at the touch of a button, while the system Safe Exit Assist helps prevent the user from hitting a nearby cyclist or pedestrian.

Why Lexus NX 350

The 2023 Lexus NX 350 is a luxury SUV that boasts a stylish design and a well-appointed cabin. Despite being based on the Toyota RAV4, the 2023 Lexus NX offers a unique, upscale feel that is sure to appeal to luxury SUV buyers. To cater to a wide range of tastes, Lexus offers the NX 350 with four different powertrains, including a powerful plug-in hybrid that produces 302 horsepower.

However, while the NX 350 may offer practicality, compared to European crossovers like the Audi Q3, BMW X1, and Mercedes-Benz GLA-class, the NX 350 is less engaging. If for you the practicality is far more important, this is the vehicle to look to. This is why the NX 350 will undoubtedly serve as a reliable and stylish vehicle for daily commutes, errands, and road trips. In fact, in 2022, the Lexus NX Plug-in crossover topped Tesla Model Y's safety score in three different ways.

Trims and Pricing of 2023 Lexus NX

In 2023 Lexus offers the NX in the following trims: NX250, NX350h, NX350, NX350 F Sport, NX 450+ and NX450h+ F Sport. The starting NX250 starts at $39755 MSRP. The 2023 NX350 F Sport, which Torque News is reviewing is offered at $55,235, while the top NX450h+ F Sport is offered at $58,955.

The 2023 Lexus NX 350 is an attractive option for luxury SUV buyers, with a starting price of under $40,000. However, the base model may be too basic for some luxury shoppers, lacking the premium features and amenities expected in a luxury vehicle. For those looking for more appropriate performance, the mid-range NX350 with a 275-hp turbocharged 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine is a better choice.

The 2023 Lexus NX 350 F Sport is the sportier trim of the NX lineup, designed for drivers who prioritize handling and performance. It comes equipped with an adaptive suspension system that provides a firmer ride and delivers more poise on the road. However, despite these upgrades, the NX F Sport still falls short compared to rival vehicles like the BMW X1 when it comes to handling and performance on twisty roads. The F Sport is a good option for those who want a sportier look and a slightly improved driving experience, but for those who prioritize performance, there may be better options available.

The 2023 Lexus NX 350 F Sport side view

For buyers who want the best of both worlds, the Luxury package is a great option. This package includes a range of premium features such as a large 14.0-inch infotainment display, quilted leather upholstery, cloud-connected navigation, upgraded interior ambient lighting, 20-inch wheels, four-way adjustable lumbar support for the driver, and adaptive headlamps. For those looking for an even more sporty appearance and additional performance upgrades, the NX350 F Sport offers a menacing look and is similarly priced, and can also be equipped with the Luxury package.

Exterior

NX 350 F SPORT 1 (MSRP: $58,550): Upgrades the NX 350 with more aggressive styling and sportier performance. This model receives the Adaptive Variable Suspension System, front and rear performance shock absorbers, 20" F Sport alloy wheels, exclusive heated steering wheel with advanced touch control, F Sport seats, heated and ventilated front seats and a driver's seat with memory system.

The model also features a single-color ambient lighting system, tri-beam headlights with intelligent high-beam control system, head-up display, power liftgate, sunroof, trim black, and painted wheel arch moldings.

Interior

The interior of the Lexus NX 2023 obviously gains in sophistication, but the design is much more refined and coherent compared to that of the previous generation, riddled with buttons, textures and different shapes. As always, the build quality is beyond reproach. Four colors for the seats are offered, including black, red, beige as well as the white and black arrangement.

The cargo area increased from 500 to 643 liters from the previous generation with the rear seatbacks up, but when they are folded down, the maximum volume drops from 1,545 to 1,328 liters compared to the previous generation of the crossover. The NX is therefore among the least spacious in its segment Keep in mind, this is a subcompact vehicle. But I personally find it to be spacious enough for my five-member family, and my children are grown up.

2023 Lexus NX 350 F Sport second row seats

However, having said that, the 2023 Lexus NX 350 boasts one of the more spacious cabins in the luxury-subcompact crossover segment, providing ample space for both passengers and cargo. With slightly more passenger room in the rear seat and more cargo space with the rear seats folded, the NX provides a comfortable and convenient driving experience. To further enhance the luxury feel of the vehicle, a range of optional features are available, including a panoramic sunroof, heated rear seats, an ambient interior lighting system with 64 different color choices, and black open-pore wood trim. These features allow for a personalized touch, making the NX a standout choice in its class.

Overall, we note good ergonomics of the controls, but several buttons are now rendered on the touch screen, including the one to activate the heated and ventilated seats, for example, or to adjust the fan intensity. I personally like to have the real manual buttons. Therefore, if you are new to Lexus NX, please take a moment to play with the infotainment system to get used to where certain things are located. On the two side branches of the steering wheel, there is a pad with four unidentified directional arrows, since their functionality varies according to the menu chosen on the digital driver display. Moreover, these functionalities are indicated on the head-up display projected in the windshield, if the vehicle is equipped with it, which will not always be easy to understand for less tech-savvy drivers.

2023 Lexus NX 350 F Sport front interior and infotainment

Let me elaborate on the 2023 NX's infotainment system. The 2023 Lexus NX 350 F Sport comes with an advanced infotainment system, featuring a touchscreen display. Base models come with a 9.8-inch display, while high-end trims are equipped with a larger 14.0-inch screen. Both Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are standard, and can be easily accessed through a wireless connection. A wireless smartphone charging pad and a head-up display are available as optional features. The standard 10-speaker stereo system comes with a free trial of Amazon Music, and for those who desire even better sound quality, a 17-speaker Mark Levinson stereo system is optional on models equipped with the Premium or Luxury packages. The infotainment system of the NX 350 F Sport is both user-friendly and packed with features to enhance the driving experience.

As for the F Sport packages, they bring a touch of sportiness to the 2023 Lexus NX, without however enhancing performance. You can still enjoy an adaptive variable suspension, but for the rest, these packages offer black roof rails, uniquely designed 20-inch wheels, painted wheel arch moldings, triple LED headlights harnesses, F Sport seats and an F Sport steering wheel and gear lever. Also, a sport+ driving mode accentuating the responsiveness of the engine.

Performance

The 2023 NX 350 brings more power with its 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder, producing 275 horsepower and 317 lb-ft of torque, also paired with an eight-speed transmission. Many rivals offer comparable displacements with comparable power. But the NX 350 F Sport brings even more power with its 2.4-liter turbo engine, with the same 275 horsepower and again paired with an 8-speed automatic transmission

The 2023 Lexus NX 350 F Sport gets 25 miles fuel economy and 22/28 city/highway respectively.

The mixed average MPG of all NX trims is among the least energy-consuming in the segment, nose to nose with that of the Audi Q5.

The 2023 Lexus NX 350 F Sport back exterior

Obviously, hybrid engines are offered in the 2023 Lexus NX since 2021. The NX 350h version relies on a naturally aspirated 2.5-litre four-cylinder, three electric motors (including one acting as a starter/generator) as well as a continuously variable automatic transmission , for a total output of 239 horsepower.

Drive

On the road, the 2023 Lexus NX is a lot more fun to drive. The steering is communicative, the 2.4-litter turbo engine of the NX 350 F Sport is powerful. I felt that the vehicle is better prepared to attack winding roads. However, it's not a resolutely sporty vehicle, and that's good. The ride is firm, whether on the highway or on poorly maintained urban boulevards.

The redesigned 2023 Lexus NX is undoubtedly an improvement over the previous generation. It has gained in modernity, it displays an appearance that is both more dynamic and refined, and its multimedia system is much easier to use. The NX 350h hybrid version would be the best choice in my opinion as I liked the fuel efficiency of hybrid vehicles, but if it is not available, for lack of inventory, test drive the other trims and see where you feel more comfortable.

Armen Hareyan is the founder and the Editor in Chief of Torque News. He founded TorqueNews.com in 2010, which since then has been publishing expert news and analysis about the automotive industry. He can be reached at Torque News Twitter, Facebok, Linkedin and Youtube.

Reference: Auto123, EcoloAuto.

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