2019 Lexus NX: A Compact Crossover Must-Have

The 2019 Lexus NX is a compact luxury crossover, the little brother of the all-conquering Lexus RX. When launched in 2015, its styling was bold and almost revolutionary – and now, it’s even spawned imitators.

The Lexus NX features a lot to like. Take a closer look, and you might just find yourself an NX convert.

Exterior Styling

With a vehicle as striking as the 2019 Lexus NX, there’s only one place to start: the exterior styling. The NX is a bit of a grower. You might not be too sure about all those angles, edges and sharp styling cues at first glance. But the more you see it, the more you start to appreciate it. Even if it’s a little contemporary for your liking, there’s no denying it makes its BMW, Mercedes-Benz, and Audi rivals look positively mundane.

Last year, the NX was given a minor refresh that saw it adopt some new headlights and taillights. There was also a slight revision to the “spindle” grille. Unless you’re a Lexus aficionado you probably wouldn’t have noticed unless you saw the new one parked right alongside the old one.

Even if you’re not sure about the styling at first, give it a chance. Let it grow on you, and you could easily end up loving it.

Powertrains

There are three powerplants available for the 2019 Lexus NX: two traditional gasoline engines and a hybrid. The standard engine in the NX 300 and NX 300 F Sport is a 2.0-liter turbo-four that puts out 235 horsepower and 258 lb.-ft. of torque, which is sent to the front wheels through a six-speed automatic transmission.

The next models up in the range are the all-wheel-drive versions, but unlike the IS sports sedans, the AWD versions of the NX 300 use the same engine and transmission as the front-drive variant.

The alternative powerplant is the hybrid in the NX 300h. This one is based around a 2.5-liter inline-four Atkinson-cycle gasoline engine and battery electric system that produces a total 194 horsepower. The NX 300h is all-wheel-drive and utilizes an electronically controlled CVT.

Even though on paper the non-hybrid powerplant has a lot more power, the general consensus is that the hybrid is smoother and quieter. The hybrid also offers more linear and predictable acceleration. However, if speed is your priority, the gas engine can get the NX from 0 to 60 mph in 7.0 seconds, while the hybrid sees 9.1 seconds.

Interior Comfort and Quality

If you want a quiet, comfortable interior, the Lexus NX has it. The front seats are particularly comfortable, and the quality of the materials throughout the cabin is excellent. If there’s a criticism for the interior of the NX, it has to be a slight lack of room for rear seat passengers.

Even though the length of the NX is par for the course in its segment, it does have quite a short wheelbase that impacts interior space. Having said that, it’s still not exactly cramped. Unless you’re trying to squeeze five adults in on a regular basis, interior space shouldn’t be an issue.

Synthetic leather is the standard upholstery, much like the competition, and it looks good while appearing tough. If you prefer to pay extra for a model with real leather though, you really are in for a luxurious treat.

Safety

If safety is high on your list of priorities for your new compact luxury crossover, don’t look any further than the Lexus NX.

Although the 2019 model hasn’t been crash-tested at the time of writing, the 2018 model got top marks from the NHTSA. The IIHS gave the NX its coveted Top Safety Pick+ rating. There’s no reason to expect any less for the 2019 model.

All NX variants come complete with an extensive suite of active safety features, including automatic emergency braking, lane-departure warnings, adaptive cruise control, and automatic high-beam headlights.

Fuel Economy

It might come as a surprise that the turbocharged NX isn’t particularly good on gas. It’s no gas-guzzler, but its NPA ratings of 22 mpg in the city, 28 mpg on the highway, and 25 mpg combined are below-par for its class.

Of course, there is a more frugal alternative: the NX 300h hybrid. There are some gas-powered rivals that come close to the 300h, but its 33/30/31 isn’t at all bad for a vehicle as luxurious and well-equipped as this.

The Good

  • Fuel-efficient hybrid
  • Comfortable seats
  • Unique styling

The Not-So-Good

  • Cabin suffers a little with tire noise
  • Infotainment a little lethargic
  • NX 300 not particularly good on gas

The Last Word

There’s plenty of choice in this segment, and more options are arriving constantly. The 2019 Lexus NX isn’t the most powerful or the most luxurious model available, but as an overall package, it’s hard to beat.

The NX hybrid offers good fuel economy while the gas-powered versions offer power and performance. Every model, however, is visually stunning, good to drive, comfortable to ride in, and packed with luxury and convenience features.

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