2015 Lexus NX200t F-Sport
When we scheduled the NX and started doing some research there was interest and a bit of confusion. This was a small SUV, in fact with the seats up it has less interior cargo capacity than the 2015 Mazda3 5 door. The F-Sport carries a price tag of 45k, which meant it better have some magic tricks up its sleeve.
This is Toyotas first turbo motor in ages, and development of it began in 2009 with the help of the drivetrain engineer from the LFA. In fact this motor has so many good things going for it that it made this one of the more interesting newer products. However one obvious issue we have is after driving a 1.6L Turbo on the Veloster that produces more than 120HP per liter and also the F150 Ecoboost with a twin turbo V6, both of which don’t require premium fuel… Made us ponder why Lexus requires premium here.
· 235 hp at 5,600 rpm with 258 tq from 1,650-4,000 rpm
· 17psi boost at WOT
· Liquid to air intercooler
· Balanced motor
· D4S-T port and direct injection with newer higher pressure DI system
· Intake system creates a syphon which draws carbon vapors away from the crankcase
· VVTi on exhaust side and VVTi-W on intake side for running in Atkinson cycle or Otto.
· Extensive use of friction reduction and weight reduction on motor
About as average as could be. Shifts are smooth in Eco and Normal mode, however things get clunky in sport mode. Using sport mode with manual control was better. However shifts were not as quick or responsive for a sport SUV. Worse yet this auto trans auto upshifts in manual mode.
Dual piston fronts, they had good initial bite and were quiet. For daily commutes they will be affordable to service, but don’t expect to do your own rear brake job. The automatic parking brake won’t release without a service tool.
Lexus set out to create a sports sedan like SUV in terms of driving enjoyment. The F-Sport does just that within tire limitations on most corners. It has excellent steering feel and turn in, road holding was also good for the size of the vehicle as well as suspension travel. The downside is the suspension felt overly dampened and when the pavement got bad the suspension had no interest in damping it. It’s a real negative here for this type of vehicle.
It’s great, plain and simple. Top ergonomics, and attention to detail, seats were comfortable however cooling seats are not an option. Standard audio system was good, but infotainment is bad, as in Windows95 bad.
It’s a compact SUV, so storage is in between a modern hatchback and a small SUV. It will handle most daily tasks but this is not a family hauler. 2000lb towing capacity means it will handle smaller toys.
The NX makes big strides in terms of features and tech. The motor is great here and will be even better on a RWD platform. It’s the segment that is confusing overall we expected something closer to RAV4 storage space, but it’s actually closer to a 5 door hatch. The NX is a modern vehicle in every regard with one of the better interiors out there. It’s amusing to drive and quirky looking. For us the price, cargo limitations and choppy ride make this one a tough sell.