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2017 Lexus NX200t Luxury Review 

Alex Rae’s 2017 Lexus NX200t Luxury Review with specs, performance, ride and handling, safety, verdict and score.

In a nutshell: A bit more of a miss than a hit, but there should be the right improvements coming around the corner.

2017 Lexus NX200t Luxury Review

PRICE $58,140 WARRANTY 4 years/100,000 km ENGINE 2.0-litre four-cylinder turbocharged petrolPOWER 175kW at 5600rpm TORQUE 350Nm at 1650-4000rpm TRANSMISSION 6-speed automatic DRIVE front-wheel or all-wheel drive DIMENSIONS 4630mm (L); 1870mm (W INC MIRRORS); 1630 (H) TURNING CIRCLE N/A KERB WEIGHT 1860kg SEATS 5 FUEL TANK 60 litres SPARE space saver THIRST 7.2 L/100km

LEXUS HAS EARNED ITS REPUTATION as a luxury brand that competes, and is compared, with some of the best from Europe. It’s under fire, however, with some of its newer models not up to scratch and Japanese rivals like Infiniti and Mazda wanting to be considered just as premium.

The NX200t is the brands mid-size SUV and it competes against sharp rivals the BMW X3, the upcoming new Audi Q5 (review soon) and Mercedes-Benz GLC. A hard road ahead, then.

What is it?

The NX200t is available as either an all-wheel drive or front-wheel drive, and on test is the AWD. That driveline isn’t cheap, though, and the $58,140 (+ORCs) AWD adds almost $5000 on top of the $53,550 (+ORCs) FWD model price.

Compared to the cheapest German rival, the $62,900 BMW X3 xDrive20i, it is still the most affordable option.

It comes with a 2.0-litre turbocharged engine which produces 175kW/350Nm and a claimed fuel consumption of 7.2L/100km. The all-wheel drive system is ‘on demand’, so it isn’t always driving the front-wheels, and this should help keep fuel consumption low.

Design wise the NX200t is inline with the latest Lexus range and features a sharp pinched nose and squinting eyes – on trend and all part of Lexus’ L Finesse design language.

Standard features that come with the NX200t include 18-inch alloys, LED headlights, automatic wipers, power tailgate and front and rear parking sensors. Inside it includes features such as faux-leather trim, electric heated seats upfront, infotainment with sat nav and 10-speaker sound system and keyless entry and push-to-start,

It misses out on safety features as standard such as AEB and adaptive cruise, which are optional extras (and covered in our safety section).

What’s the interior like?

The driver’s seat sits high and will electronically adjust to a good position, but is prevented from sitting low due to electronics underneath. A nice touch at this price point is the electronically adjustable tilt-and-reach steering which has a good range.

The steering wheel is clad with leather and feels nice in the hands and there’s steering wheel mounted paddle shifters for changing gears manually. Behind is the dash is a mix of traditional binnacle dials and digital display which works well aesthetically but it doesn’t provide an option to electronically readout simple things like the speed.

The overall design inside the NX200t feels a little clumsy and disjointed with bumps and contours seeming out of place. It’s all very angular and it does match the exterior’s sharp design, but perhaps it doesn’t translate so well into the cabin.

The infotainment system is unfortunately not very good, and it’s a combination of a low-resolution screen and clumsy tracking pad (which must be used to navigate it) that make the system distracting and hard to use. Apple CarPlay or Android Auto might neaten things up – a little bit – but there’s none of that.

There’s two USB ports for basic media player connectivity to your phone or, alternatively, you can connect via a reliable Bluetooth connection which integrates with a Lexus app for Android and Apple phones. We tested the app but found it didn’t really add much value or friendliness to the system.

On the plus side, a later model Lexus we’ve reviewed (coming soon) had a more updated infotainment system which will hopefully trickle into the NX200t.

Other features upfront are an analogue clock rather than digital, two cupholders which accommodate most bottles well and automatic up-and-down window switches for all four windows. The faux-leather isn’t as supple as the real stuff but it wasn’t obviously fake, and many probably wouldn’t know the difference unless sitting in the back-to-back.

The second row receives some good legroom but with a tall driver upfront it will reduce to a point where long trips aren’t comfortable. Head space was quite good and a reverse-mounted baby seat fitted well.

The boot has a power tailgate and its 500-litres of boot space is equal to the GLC220 but less than the X3 (550 litres) and Q5 (530 litres).

What’s it like on the road?

The 2.0-litre turbocharged engine’s power figures of 175kW/350Nm promises good on-road action but it’s a noisy unit and needs to kick back a gear on most hills. The six-speed automatic was smooth, but because of the need to kickback, it can feel overworked at times and its 0-100km/h in 7.1sec seems optimistic.

The driveline works well when highway cruising and there’s enough power for efficient overtaking manoeuvres but around town, and where quick acceleration is required, it can feel lacking in power. A problem not helped by the NX200t’s heavy 1860kg kerb weight, which is 2kg more than the larger and almost equally priced Mazda CX-9.

The brakes were perhaps the weakest point in general day-to-day driving and had too much travel and late bite to provide confidence. The test car had travelled some kilometres already, so it’s possible they had a hard time elsewhere.

On the road the suspension and chassis also felt a little unsure over rougher and bumpy surfaces and the car just wasn’t well enough composed to trouble its rivals in this area. NVH was good, however, and the car is comfortable driving on smoother roads and when not in a hurry around town.

What about the safety features?

The NX200t was ANCAP tested in 2015 and scored a 5 star ANCAP rating.

It gets eight airbags but unfortunately doesn’t receive safety technology such as AEB or adaptive cruise as standard. These items are available in the optional $5000 Enhancement Pack 2.

Further safety tech such lane departure assistance, blind-spot monitoring and surround-camera system are only available in the F-Sport which is priced from $64,390.

Why would you buy one?

The Lexus NX200t is the affordable option compared to European rivals and it does offer some levels of refinement, but adding basic safety or stepping up to the F-Sport grade will put it on the same playing field as them.

At this point the NX200t isn’t as appealing and its interior and technology (such as the infotainment) can’t compete with the German offerings. The best pick for budget conscious buyers is to get the front-wheel drive model which is almost $5000 cheaper and offers better value.

Its stronger points are comfortable interior seating with good leg and head space and a four years/100,000km warranty (with four years roadside assistance) and reasonable 15,000km/12 months servicing with complimentary loan car.

Editor's Rating

What's the interior like?
What's it like on the road?
What about safety features?
Practical Motoring Says: The cabin is the highlight, with good amounts of space and premium features, but there's also let downs inside such as the infotainment system. It performs okay on the road but it needs some further refinement before it will unsettle rivals.

Alex Rae

Alex Rae

Alex Rae grew up among some of the great stages of Targa Tasmania, an event that sparked his passion for all things mechanical. Currently living across Bass Strait in Melbourne, Alex has worked for the last decade in the automotive world as both a photographer and journalist, and is now a freelancer for various publications. When not driving for work Alex can be found tinkering in the shed on of one his project Zeds or planning his next gravel rally car.