2019 Lexus NX 300 AWD Crossover - What You Need To Know
The 2018 Lexus NX 300 is a vehicle that many Lexus owners will find familiar and many compact crossover shoppers will find attractive. Priced with the options you will want the NX 300 AWD, NX 300 F Sport, or NX 300h will have a sticker price of about $45K. This places it higher than peers like the Mazda CX-5, and on par with vehicles like the BMW X1.
The NX 300 is deceptively sized. It looks like it should have the same area inside as an Acura RDX but with a cargo volume of about 17 cubic feet behind the rear seats and about 54 cubic feet with the second row folded, it is smaller than it seems. The RDX, by comparison, has about 30/59 cubic feet of area. Consider the NX 300 about the size of a BMW X1 or Subaru Crosstrek and you will be closer to the mark. Front occupant room is good except for the driver's right leg area which is constrained by the thick center tunnel. In back, there is more than enough room for kids or for a pair of adults headed out for the evening.
Powered by a 235 hp 2.0-liter four-cylinder turbocharged engine with a six-speed automatic and paddle shifters, the NX 300 always feels capable. Not fast, but certainly quick and competent. The NX 300 is a smooth operator and the drivetrain feels of high quality when driven.
With an IIHS Top Safety Pick rating and standard active safety, the NX 300 is as safe compact crossovers come. Lexus and Toyota have been leading lately in this regard and the NX line has all of the safety gear you should expect at this price point. We liked that there were no false alarms and no annoyances with all of the active systems.
The NX 300 does not use super-low-profile tires. This plus, Lexus' usual attention to ride quality means that the NX is comfortable in all situations. Steering is very direct and the NX 300 goes where it pointed. The drive is sporty and pleasant, but not aggressive. Opt for the F Sport trim if you want the sportier trim. We loved the brakes, which were firm, but not twitchy.
Lexus has opted not to include Android Auto in its current lineup. That is a problem for many (including us). However, Apple CarPlay has been rolling out. We would suggest a close look at the infotainment setup during your test drive. The Lexus screen is large and clear, but the remote interface is not everyone's cup of tea.
Interior Quality and Design - Notable Options
We loved the simple to operate comfortable seats in the NX. Ours had both heat and cooling and the settings stay on! That is rare. We also liked the conventionally-sized moonroof. To our eyes, the dash seems a bit busy and disjointed, but many may like its modern look. The silver ring surrounding the infotainment screen is your constant companion reflected on the windshield. Unless we missed it, there was no Head-Up Display in our tester. Nor was there adaptive (swinging side to side) headlights. Our tester had the optional Navigation system and also premium audio. Both were great and we would recommend them for the $1,800 premium. We were happy to see that Lexus still includes a spare tire in its NX 300.
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Lexus' grill treatments tend to elicit strong reactions. The good news is there are two to choose from. We like the F Sport trim better. From the side and rear, the NX 300 is a looker.
We would suggest shoppers considering the Lexus NX line consider the Mazda CX-5 and BMW X1 and X2. The CX-5 offers a very close experience in terms of style and has some options that the Lexus NX does not at a lower price point. The BMW X1 and X2 may appeal to fans of the brand and it should be noted that the X1 is recently changed and much larger than the first generation vehicle.
Conclusion and Opinions
The Lexus NX 300 feels like vehicle its designers drove themselves and approved. It makes no wrong moves in any situation on the road. The NX also has that feeling of quality you expect from Lexus. If the NX 300 fits your needs in terms of size and infotainment choices it is a slam dunk in this class.