Used 2016 Lexus NX 200t Review

Limited cargo capacity means the 2016 Lexus NX 200t might not be the best choice for family-oriented shoppers, but its aggressive exterior design and high-tech interior will be draws for everybody else.




what's new

The NX 200t offers broader smartphone connectivity through Lexus' Enform products, but is otherwise unchanged.

vehicle overview

It's hard to stand out when you're in a field as competitive as the compact luxury SUV group, but that's exactly what the 2016 Lexus NX 200t (like its NX 300h hybrid sibling) manages to do. It starts with the NX's in-your-face styling, of course, which is defined by bold angles and slashes that make most rivals look tame. Love it or hate it, the NX's polarizing appearance at least guarantees that owners won't lose their Lexus in a crowded parking lot. That's not something we've always been able to say for this historically conservative brand's offerings.

Reasonable shoppers may disagree about the exterior design, but the NX is an unqualified success on the inside. The dashboard is at once sporty and upscale, with high-quality materials everywhere you look and touch. Comfortable, well-bolstered seats provide plenty of room — yes, even for adults in the backseat. The downside to the compact exterior dimensions is the relatively small cargo volume, which diminishes the appeal of this crossover SUV from a utility standpoint. But if you can live with that, you'll get a refined and capable turbocharged four-cylinder engine in the bargain, not to mention an impressive tech roster that's marred only by a frustrating infotainment controller and the absence of Android Auto and Apple CarPlay.

Buyers looking for more satisfying cargo capacity and infotainment controls would do well to check the Audi Q5 and BMW X3, both of which also offer a wider range of engines and specifications. The new Mercedes-Benz GLC looks promising, too, while the Acura RDX is a conservatively styled counterpoint to the NX that matches its promise of Japanese reliability. The Edmunds "B"-rated 2016 Lexus NX 200t remains a solid choice, though, especially if the dramatic design language speaks to you.

trim levels & features

The 2016 Lexus NX 200t is a five-passenger compact luxury crossover SUV. It is available in a single trim level, but there is an NX 300h hybrid version that is reviewed separately.

Standard equipment includes 17-inch alloy wheels, automatic LED headlights, LED foglights and running lights, rear privacy glass, LED brakelights, keyless ignition and entry, cruise control, dual-zone automatic climate control, "NuLuxe" premium vinyl upholstery, a leather-wrapped tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel, eight-way power front seats (with two-way power driver lumbar adjustment), a 60/40-split folding and reclining rear seat, a cargo cover and an auto-dimming mirror. Standard technology features include a 7-inch display screen, a rearview camera, Bluetooth phone and audio connectivity, Siri Eyes Free voice controls for iPhones, the Display Audio electronics interface and an eight-speaker sound system with a CD player, HD radio, satellite radio, an auxiliary audio jack and a USB port. Also standard is Lexus Enform Service Connect, a service that permits remote vehicle status reports and maintenance alerts through a website or your smartphone.

The NX 200t F Sport package adds unique 18-inch wheels and styling elements along with summer tires, a sport-tuned suspension, paddle shifters, additional gauges, special interior trim, and an enhanced engine note that is synthesized through the car's sound system.

Other packages are also available, though availability can vary by region, so you'll want to check with your local dealer. The Comfort package adds a power-adjustable steering wheel and driver memory functions. The Premium package includes the Comfort items along with 18-inch wheels, auto-dimming exterior mirrors, heated and ventilated front seats (no ventilation on F Sport) and a sunroof. The Luxury package includes the Comfort and Premium items along with a power liftgate, automatic wipers, leather upholstery, a heated steering wheel and wood trim. A power-folding rear seat can be added to the Luxury package.

The Navigation package obviously includes a navigation system, but also adds the Remote Touch electronics interface, two additional speakers, voice controls, various Lexus Enform smartphone-integrated apps and a special smartphone app that allows you to remotely control and monitor various vehicle functions.

Stand-alone options include some of the above items plus a towing package, front and rear parking sensors, various advanced safety systems (see Safety section, below), upgraded LED headlamps and a wireless charging tray for Qi-compatible smartphones.

performance & mpg

The 2016 Lexus NX 200t is powered by a 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine that produces 235 horsepower and 258 pound-feet of torque. A six-speed automatic transmission and front-wheel drive are standard. All-wheel drive is optional.

In Edmunds performance testing, a front-wheel-drive NX 200t went from zero to 60 mph in 7 seconds, which is about average for the segment with this type of engine.

The EPA rates fuel economy for the front-drive 2016 Lexus NX 200t at 25 mpg combined (22 city/28 highway). All-wheel-drive models return 24 mpg combined. On the Edmunds mixed-driving evaluation route, a front-drive NX 200t returned 25.7 mpg, a fairly typical result relative to the EPA combined figure.

safety

Every 2016 Lexus NX 200t comes standard with antilock brakes, traction and stability control, front side airbags, full-length side curtain airbags, a driver knee airbag and a front passenger cushion airbag that prevents occupants from submarining under the seatbelt and off the seat. A rearview camera is also standard, along with Lexus Enform Safety Connect telematics that include automatic crash notification, stolen-vehicle location and an emergency assist button.

Optional features include a blind-spot monitoring system with rear cross-traffic alert, a lane-departure warning system and a frontal collision mitigation system (included with adaptive cruise control) that warns of a possible collision and can automatically apply the brakes in the event of driver inaction.

In Edmunds brake testing, a front-drive NX 200t with summer tires came to a stop from 60 mph in 118 feet, which is good for the segment in general but about what we'd expect given the unusually sticky tires.

In crash tests performed by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, the NX 200t earned a five-star rating overall, including four stars for frontal protection and five stars for side protection. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety awarded the 2016 Lexus NX 200t a Top Safety Pick+, meaning it earned the highest possible rating of "Good" in each crash test and received an "Advanced" (three-out-of-five) rating in front crash prevention.

driving

Much like the new 2016 RX, the NX 200t represents a renewed focus on driving enjoyment from Lexus. Its ride is relatively firm and its steering responsive, with body motions nicely controlled through turns and over bumps and dips. The NX connects with its driver to a degree that you might not expect in a Lexus SUV, and the optional F Sport package tries even harder with its sport-tuned suspension and admittedly extraneous Active Sound Control feature that pumps artificial engine noise into the cabin. Also in the extraneous-but-enjoyable camp are the F Sport's paddle shifters and its tuner-style boost gauge.

One of the reasons the F Sport has to use artificial noise enhancement is the quietness of the cabin. The engine is also hushed, especially when compared to the turbocharged four-cylinders of some competitors. It's also very smooth and respectably powerful. Current luxury SUV owners used to V6 engines might not even notice that there are two fewer cylinders under the hood.

interior

The NX's cabin isn't as radically designed as the exterior, but it nevertheless exudes a cool, modern vibe that won't be mistaken for anything else in the segment. Construction is absolutely top-notch, with materials that look and feel rich. Soft leather lines the seats and passenger-side dash, and we appreciate the padded areas that cushion the center console to keep your legs from whacking against a hard surface. Details like contrast stitching, wood trim and a modern analog clock are tastefully applied.

The high-mounted climate controls are easy to reach and see, while other secondary controls are intuitive. The infotainment controls are less so, however. The standard Display Audio system utilizes a knob-and-screen system similar to Mercedes' COMAND system. We haven't had a chance to try the NX 200t with Display Audio, but most NX models are likely to leave the dealer lot with navigation and thus will be fitted with the latest iteration of Lexus' Remote Touch interface. With Remote Touch, various menus and icons are selected with a new console-mounted touchpad (like a laptop's). There is haptic feedback through that pad when you click something, but in general, we find that using Remote Touch draws too much of your attention from the road. Tech-savvy users might also be disappointed by the absence of Android Auto and Apple CarPlay support.

Rear passengers in the NX should find a generous amount of space despite the vehicle's modest overall dimensions. Cargo space is tight, however. The NX's 54.6 cubic feet of total volume brings up the rear in this segment, and the raked liftgate seems to make it less versatile than even its modest volume number would suggest. With the seats up, cargo space shrinks to 17.7 cubic feet, making it less spacious than even some subcompact crossovers.

edmunds expert review process

This review was written by a member of Edmunds' editorial team of expert car reviewers. Our team drives every car you can buy. We put the vehicles through rigorous testing, evaluating how they drive and comparing them in detail to their competitors.

We're also regular people like you, so we pay attention to all the different ways people use their cars every day. We want to know if there's enough room for our families and our weekend gear and whether or not our favorite drink fits in the cupholder. Our editors want to help you make the best decision on a car that fits your life.