2018 Lexus NX 300

2018 Lexus NX 300 Review

The 2018 Lexus NX 300 will win you over with its stylish design and comfortable ride.
7.2 / 10
Edmunds overall rating
author
by Calvin Kim
Edmunds Editor

Edmunds expert review

The 2018 Lexus NX 300 is the new name for what used to be called the NX 200t. There are a few minor differences, but overall it's the same vehicle. That means you're getting a small luxury crossover with mini-RX 350 styling and a comfortable around-town demeanor. Buyers will enjoy comfortable seating, a quiet interior and a suitably powerful turbocharged four-cylinder engine.

There are a few drawbacks. Rear cargo space is limited due to the steeply sloped rear window. Also, Lexus' Remote Touch infotainment interface may leave some drivers frustrated because of its attention-sapping nature. Overall, though, the NX 300 should appeal to shoppers seeking a refined and comfortable luxury crossover.



What's new for 2018

Lexus has renamed its NX 200t the NX 300 for 2018. Mechanically, nothing has changed. But Lexus has made the Safety System+ package, which includes front collision mitigation, lane departure alert, high-beam assist and adaptive cruise control as standard equipment this year. The NX 300 also gains an updated infotainment system with a bigger display, a 30 percent larger Remote Touch Interface pad, and available adaptive suspension dampers for the F Sport variant.

We recommend

Unless the NX 300 F Sport's adjustable suspension and tighter seat bolstering are must-haves, we recommend sticking with the more comfortable NX 300. Add the Comfort package for its heated and ventilated front seats and blind-spot detection, and you'll have a well-equipped, quiet and refined luxury compact SUV.



Trim levels & features

The 2018 Lexus NX 300 is a five-passenger compact SUV available in a two trim levels. The NX 300h hybrid is reviewed separately. It comes standard with a 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine (235 horsepower, 258 pound-feet) and a six-speed automatic transmission. Front-wheel drive is standard, and all-wheel drive is optional.

Standard equipment includes 17-inch wheels, LED headlights, LED foglights and running lights, keyless ignition and entry, automatic dual-zone climate control, power-adjustable front seats, simulated-leather upholstery (Lexus' NuLuxe), a 60/40-split folding and reclining back seat, a 8-inch infotainment display with a touchpad interface, and an eight-speaker sound system.

Also included is adaptive cruise control, forward collision warning and mitigation, lane departure warning and intervention, and automatic high beams.

The NX 200t F Sport version adds 18-inch wheels, special exterior styling elements, a sport-tuned suspension, special interior trim and NuLuxe color schemes, more aggressively bolstered seats, different gauges and a sport steering wheel.

Other packages are also available, but their availability can vary by region, so you'll want to check with your local dealer. The Comfort package includes heated and ventilated front seats and blind-spot monitoring. To that package, the Premium package adds 18-inch wheels, a sunroof, driver-seat memory settings and a power-adjustable steering wheel.

The Luxury package bundles the above options with automatic wipers, a heated steering wheel and leather upholstery. There's also a Navigation package with a larger 10.3-inch screen and a premium sound system.

Additional options include front and rear parking sensors, a power liftgate, upgraded LED headlights and adaptive suspension dampers (F Sport only).



Trim tested

Each vehicle typically comes in multiple versions that are fundamentally similar. The ratings in this review are based on our full test of the 2015 Lexus NX 200t (turbo 2.0L inline-4 | 6-speed automatic | FWD).

NOTE: Since this test was conducted, the name has been changed from the NX 200t to the NX 300. Our findings remain broadly applicable to this year's NX 300.

Edmunds Scorecard

Overall7.2 / 10

Driving

7.0 / 10

Acceleration6.5 / 10
Braking7.0 / 10
Steering6.5 / 10
Handling6.5 / 10
Drivability8.0 / 10

Comfort

8.5 / 10

Seat comfort8.0 / 10
Ride comfort8.5 / 10
Noise & vibration8.5 / 10

Interior

6.5 / 10

Ease of use4.0 / 10
Getting in/getting out7.5 / 10
Roominess7.5 / 10
Visibility7.0 / 10
Quality7.0 / 10

Driving7.0

In terms of performance and driver engagement, the Lexus NX 300 is merely average among the current crop of luxury crossover SUVs. But odds are that most shoppers are just looking for an easy-to-drive vehicle. On that front, the NX satisfies.

Acceleration6.5

The Lexus NX accelerates to 60 mph in 7.0 seconds, which is marginally slower than rivals. But it should prove more than adequate for the majority of drivers. Gear changes are on the slow side, but they are smooth.

Braking7.0

In panic-braking tests from 60 mph, the NX 200t posts slightly better than average performance. Nosedive is noticeable, as is a slight squirm from the rear tires. It still remains controllable, and distances were consistent.

Steering6.5

Steering effort is appropriate and precise, but there's little feedback for the driver to get a feel for the car. At parking-lot speeds, the effort lightens up for easy maneuvering.

Handling6.5

The NX leans a lot when cornering, but it's predictable and poised. Those who value better handling may want to investigate the F Sport option.

Drivability8.0

As an everyday commuter, the NX 300 places few demands on the driver and provides a calm cabin. The small footprint also makes it well-suited to congested cities and tight parking spots.

Comfort8.5

The Lexus NX provides an abundance of overall comfort that is uncommon in the segment. Smooth, quiet and comfortable are apt descriptions.

Seat comfort8.0

The front seats offer plenty of room and adequate support for a variety of body types. The optional front-seat ventilation further enhances long-distance comfort. The rear seats are also accommodating for adult passengers.

Ride comfort8.5

With greater emphasis on comfort over performance, the NX's suspension smooths over road imperfections with ease. Where rivals feel busy and nervous, the Lexus seems to glide unaffected over ruts and bumps.

Noise & vibration8.5

Among luxury crossover SUVs, the Lexus NX 300 is one of the quietest vehicles. Wind, road and engine noise is pleasantly silenced to levels that we're used to hearing in flagship sedans.

Interior6.5

The NX interior provides a wealth of passenger space, but the diminished cargo capacity hurts this crossover's overall utility. The darkest cloud is cast by the frustrating and ill-conceived Remote Touch infotainment controller.

Ease of use4.0

The Remote Touch trace pad interface is easily the worst in the industry with a controller that is hard to manage and a distinct lack of intuitive menus and buttons. It is unfortunately mandatory for the 2018 NX 300.

Getting in/getting out7.5

The high-ish ride height and tall door openings make getting into the NX an easy, stoop-free affair. The doors are also short enough in length to allow access in tight parking spaces.

Roominess7.5

The front seats are spacious for larger passengers, and the rear seats have enough head- and legroom for adults in the outboard seats. Small rear windows make those quarters feel a bit more confining than they are.

Visibility7.0

Forward visibility is decent, but the rear roof pillars and small rear window obscure the rearward view.

Quality7.0

The standard simulated-leather upholstery looks and feels like the genuine article. Common touch points are well-padded, and other interior materials are good-quality and tightly fitted for a solid feel.

Utility5.5

The NX's 17.7-cubic-foot cargo space behind the rear seats is smaller than competitors' and is further hampered by the sloped rear window. That window also limits bulky items with the seats folded, even though volume is competitive.

Technology

While the NX 300 has most of the tech functionality of its competitors, the fussy Remote Touch Interface and lack of true smartphone mirroring, such as Android Auto and Apple CarPlay, sully an otherwise well-rounded infotainment system.

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.