The Lexus NX is a SUV with a striking design, great equipment levels and the option of a hybrid drivetrain. However, it’s quite expensive and doesn’t quite have the breadth of talents that an Audi Q5 can demonstrate.
The Lexus NX is actually slightly cheaper to buy than an Audi Q5 but it can’t match that car’s newer technology such as the brilliant virtual cockpit. It’s a similar story when you compare the NX with the Jaguar F-Pace which indeed is less nice inside but drives quite a lot better. The Mercedes GLC is also a worthy alternative – the standard-fit nine-speed auto in the Mercedes is impeccable while the same can’t be said about the droning CVT in the NX Hybrid.
Inside, the look isn’t as polarising as the exterior and more-traditional Lexus values such as build quality and expensive material choice are at play here. Whether it’s the soft leather-wrapped dashboard or the satisfyingly expensive feel of the buttons, you’re sure to enjoy your time in the NX.
Space for passengers is quite good, especially in the back, where the lack of a hump in the floor means three adults have just about equal amounts of room back there – there’s acres of legroom and decent amounts of headroom, too. Up front, the seats are arguably the best in class, providing better support as well as being more comfortable than just about any similarly-priced alternative.
The Lexus NX is a good leftfield SUV but you owe it to yourself to at least test drive the alternatives
Now that you’ve read about the good stuff, it’s time for the not so good – the engines and the way it drives. Well, it’s only not so good when you drive it back to back with alternatives such as the GLC, Q5 and F-Pace – in isolation, the NX has low running costs thanks to clean and efficient engines while motorway cruising is as relaxed as you expect a Lexus to be.
However, next to alternative models, the NX feels too firm on potholed roads to be comfortable, too soft on twisty tarmac to be enjoyable and every time you want to accelerate on the motorway, in the more-popular Hybrid model, the otherwise quiet cabin is filled with the sort of noise that sounds like a dying cow’s last moo.
Another area that sets the NX behind the competition is the limited engine range – there are just two petrols to choose from with one of them being a hybrid. There are no beefy diesel engines so heavy towing is off the table. The actual engines are far from bad – both are more than powerful enough and have some impressive on-paper fuel economy figures. The problem comes when you ask them to move this spacious SUV along with its substantial amount of standard equipment resulting in real-world fuel economy values that are far from those advertised but still pretty impressive for the size of the car.
In terms of equipment, the NX shoots back near the top because like-for-like it ends up cheaper than comparable German alternatives – as standard, you get a seven-inch infotainment screen with reversing camera, DAB digital radio, adaptive cruise control, climate control, blind-spot monitoring as well as a lane-keep assist. An Audi Q5 with a comparable amount of kit is at least a couple thousand pounds more.
For more detailed and in-depth analysis of the Lexus NX read our following interior, driving and specifications review sections.