New for 2018
The refreshed 2018 Lexus NX gets a slightly revised exterior, standard active safety features, and a new name for the turbocharged model, which now carries the NX 300 moniker instead of NX 200t. A larger 10.3-inch is now available along with the updated navigation option, and a new exterior color called Caviar has also been added.
The 2018 Lexus NX is a compact luxury crossover that slots below the larger midsize RX and above the upcoming UX subcompact crossover. In addition to the gas-only variant, the NX is also available as a hybrid that comes standard with all-wheel drive.
The 2018 Lexus NX comes with two powertrain options, a 2.0-liter turbo-four with 235 hp and 258 lb-ft of torque in the NX 300 that comes paired exclusively to a six-speed automatic transmission or a hybrid system in the NX 300h that couples a 2.5-liter I-4 to three electric motors, a nickel metal hydride battery and a CVT. Combined output in the NX 300h is 194 hp.
There are no EPA fuel economy ratings for the 2018 Lexus NX but the 2017 model was rated at 22/28 mpg city/high for front-drive models and non-F Sport all-wheel drive variants or 22/27 for F Sport models with all-wheel drive. The NX 300h is the most fuel efficient model and is rated at 33/30 mpg.
Cargo space in the NX 300 is 17.7 cubic feet with the 60/40 split-folding rear seats in place or 54.6 cubic feet with them down. The extra hybrid powertrain components in the NX 300h cuts into cargo capacity slightly, dropping the space to 16.8 cubic feet with the rear seats in place and 53.7 cubic feet with them folded. When properly equipped, the NX 300 can tow up to 2,000 pounds of payload while the NX 300h can tow up to 1,500 pounds.
Standard features include LED headlights, an 8.0-inch screen, the Lexus Safety System+ active safety suite, 17-inch alloy wheels, a rearview camera, power-folding side mirrors, Bluetooth connectivity, and a 4.2-inch multi-information display. Options include a Mark Levinson premium audio system, 18-inch alloy wheels, heated and ventilated front seats, a power liftgate, navigation with a 10.3-inch screen, and a power-adjustable steering column. The F Sport package adds some sporty flair to the 2018 NX 300 and adds features like a unique front fascia, an Active Sound Control system, sport seats, an F Sport steering wheel, and an LFA-inspired gauge cluster.
The 2018 Lexus NX received a five-star overall rating from the NHTSA (out of a possible five stars). Although the IIHS has yet to test the 2018 NX, it has crash tested the 2017 model, which received a Good score on all crash worthiness tests and Average on the new headlight test (Good is the possible score). In the front crash prevention test, the NX avoided a 12-mph collision and reduced the severity of a 25-mph impact by 9 mph, enabling it to receive an Advanced rating (Superior is the highest possible score in the front crash prevention test). As a result, the NX received the Top Safety Pick+ award from the IIHS.
Lexus Safety System+ is standard on the 2018 NX and it bundles together adaptive cruise control, forward collision warning, automatic emergency braking, pedestrian detection, lane departure warning, and automatic high beams. Blind-spot warning and rear cross-traffic alert are available as part of an optional package.
What We Think
We've yet to review the refreshed 2018 NX but in a 2015 First Drive review, we said that the NX features a comfortable ride thanks to its unique suspension setup despite its short wheelbase. The crossover's steering is lively and holds the road well, giving it confident handling. Both variants of the NX, however, are a bit heavy, so regardless of the engine choice, neither will be a rocket in a straight line compared to the competition, as we noted in a 2015 First Test.
The NX won a 2015 comparison test that included the BMW X3, Land Rover Range Rover Evoque, Lincoln MKC, and the previous generation Volvo XC60. Thanks to its lowest as-tested price, confident handling, well-crafted interior, and low ownership costs. However, the NX did get dinged for its lack of headroom and poor visibility.
The Lexus NX was the first Lexus vehicle to feature the brand's 2.0-liter turbo-four when it first arrived for the 2015 model year.