Lexus: 2015 NX 200T review

Lexus: 2015 NX 200T review

I returned from Cuba recently where I had the opportunity to sample the automotive best that the communist block had to offer in the 1970s and ‘80s, bastardised versions of 1950s Americana, new Chinese taxis from Geely and Chery, and even a 1936 Citroen with a Lada motor. Once you’ve weathered those, any car would seem luxury, but a Lexus is extra luxurious and something that you wouldn’t be able to find easily (if at all) in one of the last remaining communist bastions.

Lexus NX200t 2015 frontThe first car I collected on my return was this NX200t two-wheel drive. It’s a distinctive-looking beast with a powerful 175kW two-litre, four-cylinder turbo motor and handling that’s probably as close as you’ll get to a sports hatch for a compact SUV. It’s capable of 100kph in 7.3 seconds (7.1 seconds if you get the four-wheel drive version), moving swiftly through the six-speed automatic gearbox, and it stops as well as it goes.

Lexus used over 2000 engineers in developing the NX200t Lexus NX200t 2015 front interiorand you can’t fault the build quality or the ride quality. Interior leather is perfectly stitched, panel gaps are consistent, nothing rattles or squeaks and everything feels solid. At low speeds, it’s smooth; at high speeds there’s a bit of road noise from the 225/60R18 tyres, but it has confidence-inspiring handling with performance to match.

I drove it to Napier and back (820km), averaging 9l/100km. Quoted combined consumption is 7.7l/100km. It took me a while to get the seat in a comfortable position. Fortunately the steering wheel is electrically adjustable for height and rake so I Lexus NX200t 2015 instrumentscould bring it out far enough to allow the seat back to tip back far enough so it didn’t feel my head was being pushed forward by the headrest (which isn’t adjustable). It wasn’t my usual driving position, but once I got used to it after a few kilometres, it was fine. Lexus says there is a ‘lowered hip point’ in the driver’s seat which ‘not only improves the connect between the driver and vehicle but also increases the overall Lexus NX200t 2015 rear cameraheadroom’. Regardless, if you don’t feel comfortable when you first get in, play around with the seat settings.

The seats are made of NuLuxe, not leather. It’s a modern vinyl that is formulated to mimic leather, and it does an extremely good job. If you take a look at the photos, you can’t tell the seats are not leather, and even sitting in them, you really have to look closely to tell. It also weighs 65% less than leather and creates fewer CO2 emissions than other synthetic leathers, with no volatile organic chemicals.

Lexus NX200t 2015 consoleMany of the vehicle’s functions are controlled by a small trackpad on the centre console, which falls conveniently to your left hand. The trackpad has haptic feedback, meaning that when you cross over a button it gives your finger a little nudge making it easier to operate without taking your eyes off the road (but only if you already know what’s on the 7-inch screen). There are also voice commands, but they don’t understand my accent very well. The system supports Bluetooth calling, phone directory and Bluetooth audio streaming. There are 2 USB ports (convenient if you and your passenger want to charge devices).

A nice touch is the grippy boot liner which stops almost anything sliding around, including Lexus’ heavy emergency kit. The boot door is automated – simply press a switch and it opens, press another switch and it closes.

Probably the most useful electronic trickery on my trip from Auckland to Napier and back was the optional radar-activated cruise control (DRCC, or Dynamic Radar Cruise Control). On some road surfaces the Lexus was quite noisy, but on others it’s relatively quiet and your speed can creep up, given that you’ve got a lot of power on-tap. Setting the radar cruise control means that if you catch up with another vehicle, your speed will automatically be adjusted to that vehicle’s speed and you can choose one of three distances to follow behind the vehicle ahead.

Other models come with lane departure warning, blind spot monitoring, wireless charging display, panoramic view monitor (simulates bird’s-eye view of the car), and head-up display.

The reversing camera is essential as the rear window is small and the shoulders are high making it difficult to see out of the back.

It was good to plunge back into the reviews with a car that very comprehensively demonstrates just how far we’ve come since a 1978 Lada 1500. A car like the Lexus NX200t, with all its advanced features, would have been unimaginable back then.

Price: $79,990 + radar cruise control

Pros

  • Plenty of grunt
  • Handles well
  • Smooth at low speed

Cons

  • Fuel range is average (probably to be expected with this amount of power)
  • Not enough cabin storage


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