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The Lexus NX 200t is just heading into its third model year, but we're still wrapping our head around how different it is from the Lexus norm: Its sharp styling and sporty driving demeanor signal a sea change for Lexus. It also differentiates itself from the competition by being somewhat larger than the subcompact crossover SUVs that other luxury brands are bringing to market.
Though the five-passenger cabin isn't quite as radical as the exterior styling, it exhibits a cool, modern vibe that further differentiates the NX 200t from its competitors. Materials are as nice as can be; we love the expensive feel of the leatherlike material that lines the doors, dash and other touch points, as well as the padding on the areas of the center console that are likely to rub up against your legs.
Most of the NX 200t's controls are intuitive, but there's not a lot to love about the Remote Touch interface, which comes as part of the optional navigation system. It uses a laptop-like touchpad with haptic feedback (the pad vibrates when you click something), but like a laptop, using it requires you to have your eyes on the screen — and that?s not where drivers should be looking as they cruise down the road. And while we're complaining, we'll mention cargo space, or more specifically, the lack thereof. Luggage room is limited, and the steeply raked tailgate makes the area even more cramped. But the rear seat is unexpectedly generous, so at least we can surmise that cargo space has been sacrificed to a good cause.
As the model name implies, the Lexus NX 200t is powered by a turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine that makes 235 horsepower and 258 lb-ft of torque. The NX is available with either front- or all-wheel drive, and EPA fuel economy estimates are a respectable 25 mpg combined (22 city/28 highway) for the front-wheel-drive version and 24 mpg combined (22 city/28 highway) with all-wheel drive.
As we mentioned earlier, the driving experience is unexpectedly good: Lexus has a new focus on driver enjoyment, and that shows in the NX, particularly the F Sport version. And yet even with its newfound focus on handling, Lexus refuses to give up on ride quality: The NX 200t glides over imperfections in the pavement that would upset its rivals.
The NX 200t is available in a single trim level, with the F Sport upgrades offered as an option package. Options are grouped into bundles, but unlike most vehicles, availability can vary by region. Edmunds can help find the perfect 2017 Lexus NX 200t for you.
Edmunds attended a manufacturer-sponsored event, to which selected members of the press were invited, to facilitate this report.