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MSRP: $36,720 - 45,210

7.7

Overall

Scorecard

Critics' Rating: 7.1
Performance: 7.0
Interior: 6.0
Safety:
This rating isn’t available yet for the current model year. In the meantime, last year’s rating of 9.5 for safety is being used to calculate this vehicle’s overall score.
TBD
Reliability:
J.D. Power Ratings Logo

2020 Lexus NX Review

The 2020 Lexus NX 300 finishes in the middle of our luxury compact SUV rankings. This small crossover has an excellent predicted reliability rating and a comfortable interior, but many rivals are more athletic and have less-infuriating infotainment systems.

Pros & Cons

  • Well-built, spacious cabin
  • Smooth, quiet ride
  • Good fuel economy ratings
  • Excellent predicted reliability rating
  • Tricky infotainment system
  • Subpar cargo capacity
  • Not as fun to drive as rivals

Is the Lexus NX a Good SUV?

The Lexus NX is a pretty good luxury compact SUV. It gets good gas mileage and delivers a smooth ride. Inside, the NX has two rows of comfortable seats, a long list of standard features, and plenty of quality materials. This Lexus also has a class-leading predicted reliability rating.

The NX 300 has its share of warts though. Many class rivals have punchier powertrains and nimbler handling, making them more fun to drive than this Lexus. The NX also has less cargo space than many of its competitors. Additionally, you can't discuss the NX's flaws without mentioning the infotainment system, which is less user-friendly than virtually every rival.

There's also a Lexus NX Hybrid, which we cover in a separate review.

Should I Buy the Lexus NX?

The NX doesn't fare that well in our class rankings, but it's still a comfortable SUV that's easy to drive, making it a solid choice for small families and anybody else whose primary need is moving people. It has a below-average starting price, so it's also a decent value in the class.

That said, there are a lot of other SUVs that can do everything this Lexus does and then some, so buyers should at least check out some of the NX's more well-rounded competitors. Good choices include the Infiniti QX50 and BMW X3.

Compare the NX, QX50, and X3 »

Should I Buy a New or Used Lexus NX?

The 2020 NX belongs to a generation that began with the 2015 model year. Newly standard features for 2020 include traffic sign recognition, low-light pedestrian detection, and bicyclist detection. A Mark Levinson sound system is a new available feature. Beyond those updates, the NX is largely unchanged.

There were no major changes for 2019, but there were several for 2018. The NX received styling updates, a larger standard infotainment screen, and more standard driver assistance features like lane departure warning, lane keep assist, adaptive cruise control, and more. The 2018 model year  is also when Lexus changed this SUV's name from the NX 200t to the NX 300.

You can potentially save thousands of dollars with a used model, though you may miss out on the updates of newer models. If you are interested in a used NX, take a look at our reviews of the 2018 Lexus NX and 2019 Lexus NX. Also check out our Used Car Deals page to see what kind of savings and discounts you can get on a used vehicle.

Compare the 2018, 2019, and 2020 NX »

We Did the Research for You: XX Reviews Analyzed

Our car reviews include everything you need to know before heading to the dealership. We combine the opinions of the automotive press with quantifiable data like crash test results and reliability ratings to form a complete picture of every vehicle we rank.

This review uses applicable research and data from all model years of the current NX generation, which runs from 2015 to 2020.

Why You Can Trust Us

U.S. News & World Report has been ranking the best cars, trucks, and SUVs since 2007, and our staff has more than 75 years’ worth of auto industry experience combined. To keep our reviews unbiased, we don’t accept expensive gifts or trips from car companies, and an outside company manages our advertising.

How Much Does the Lexus NX Cost?

The NX 300 carries a base price of $36,720, which is one of the lowest starting prices in the class. There are a couple of higher trims, including the sportier NX 300 F Sport that starts at $38,960 and the range-topping NX 300 Luxury that starts at $43,810. Most class rivals have more expensive top trims.

Check out our U.S. News Best Price Program for great savings at your local Lexus dealer. You can also find excellent manufacturer incentives on our Lexus deals page.

Lexus NX Versus the Competition

Which Is Better: Lexus NX or Infiniti QX50?

The Infiniti QX50 costs about the same as the NX, but it finishes higher in our class rankings. The QX50 has two rows of comfortable seats and more cargo space than the NX. The Infiniti also has a more powerful engine and is one of the few rivals to best the NX's fuel economy numbers. Overall, the QX50 is just a better SUV than its Lexus rival.

Which Is Better: Lexus NX or BMW X3?

The BMW X3 is arguably the most fun-to-drive SUV in the luxury compact SUV class. It has multiple powerful engine options, including a 503-horsepower turbocharged six-cylinder in the new-for-2020 X3 M, and it handles extremely well by class standards. Inside, the X3 looks great, and it has much more cargo space and an easier-to-use infotainment system than the NX. The BMW is the clear choice here, but it also costs more than the Lexus, especially as you step up to the more powerful engine options.

Compare the NX, QX50, and X3 »

NX Interior

How Many People Does the NX Seat?

The NX seats five people. The front seats are spacious and remain comfortable on long drives, though rearward visibility could be better. The rear seats are larger than in some rivals, making them more hospitable for adult passengers.

NX and Child Car Seats

There are two full sets of LATCH connectors for installing child safety seats. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety gave the NX's LATCH system the highest rating of Good for ease of use.

NX Interior Quality

The NX features a stylish, attractive interior. Most reviewers find it to be well-built, with soft-touch materials covering nearly every surface. However, a few comment that some pieces could be of a higher quality.

NX Cargo Space

This isn't the best small SUV for hauling stuff, as many rivals provide more cargo room. Still, the 17.7 cubic feet of space you get behind the rear seats is enough room for multiple pieces of carry-on luggage. Fold the rear seats down, and the NX gives you 54.6 cubic feet of space.

NX Infotainment, Bluetooth, and Navigation

Standard features include dual-zone automatic climate control and an infotainment system with an 8-inch display, Bluetooth, a USB port, Apple CarPlay, a Wi-Fi hot spot, an eight-speaker audio system, and satellite radio. Available features include a moonroof, two upgraded audio systems, a 10.3-inch infotainment display, and navigation.

The NX's features list includes Apple CarPlay but not Android Auto, which will be a real bummer for Android users, as the NX's infotainment interface is complex and frustrating to use. Its touchpad controller also makes life unnecessarily difficult. In short, this is one of the least user-friendly infotainment systems in the class.

Read more about interior »

NX Performance

NX Engine: Capable, but not Overly Quick

This Lexus crossover features a 235-horsepower turbocharged four-cylinder engine. It provides enough power for most driving situations, but many rivals have more energetic powertrains that deliver superior acceleration.

NX Gas Mileage: Pretty Impressive

The NX gets better fuel economy than many of its fellow luxury compact SUVs. It earns ratings of 22 mpg in the city and 28 mpg on the highway.

There's also the Lexus NX Hybrid, which we review separately. As you might guess, it's more fuel-efficient than the nonhybrid NX.

NX Ride and Handling: Prioritizing Comfort

This Lexus crossover has a somewhat firm ride, but it remains comfortable and absorbs road imperfections with ease. For driving enjoyment, there are many better options in the class. The NX lacks the agility of many rivals, and there's noticeable body roll when cornering.

NX Towing Capacity

When properly equipped, the NX can tow up to 2,000 pounds. Many class rivals have higher towing capacities.

Read more about performance »

NX Reliability

Is the Lexus NX Reliable?

The 2020 Lexus NX has an excellent predicted reliability rating of five out of five from J.D. Power.

Lexus NX Warranty

The Lexus NX 300 comes with a four-year/50,000-mile limited warranty and a six-year/70,000-mile powertrain warranty.

Read more about reliability »

NX Safety

NX Crash Test Results

The 2020 NX received an overall safety rating of five out of five stars from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. The Lexus earned five stars in the side crash test and four stars in the frontal crash and rollover tests.

NX Safety Features

Standard driver assistance features include a rearview camera, a pre-collision system with pedestrian detection, bicyclist detection, lane departure warning, lane keep assist, adaptive cruise control, and traffic sign recognition. Some of these features are part of the Lexus Safety System+ 2.0.

Available active safety features include blind spot monitoring, rear cross traffic alert, a surround-view parking camera system, front and rear parking sensors, and automatic emergency braking.

Read more about safety »

NX Dimensions and Weight

The NX is 15.25 feet long. Its curb weight ranges from 3,940 to 4,050 pounds.

Where is the Lexus NX built?

Lexus built the 2020 NX in Japan.

Which Lexus NX Model Is Right for Me?

There are three NX trims to choose from: base, F Sport, and Luxury. Every NX comes with a 235-horsepower turbocharged four-cylinder engine, a six-speed automatic transmission, and front-wheel drive. You can add all-wheel drive to any trim for $1,400.

The higher trims don't really add much that you can't get in the base trim, to the point that they're really not much more than glorified option packages. The F Sport does add some performance upgrades, but it doesn't turn the NX into an athlete. With that in mind, buyers should stick with the base trim and splurge for the option packages they want.

There's also a Lexus NX Hybrid, which we cover in a separate review.

Lexus NX 300

The NX 300 carries a base price of $36,720. Standard features include dual-zone automatic climate control, synthetic leather upholstery, reclining rear seats, and an infotainment system with an 8-inch screen, Bluetooth, a USB port, Apple CarPlay, a Wi-Fi hot spot, an eight-speaker audio system, and satellite radio.

Standard driver assistance features include a rearview camera, a pre-collision system with pedestrian detection, bicyclist detection, lane departure warning, lane keep assist, adaptive cruise control, and traffic sign recognition. Some of these features are part of the Lexus Safety System+ 2.0.

There are several option packages you can add. The Comfort package ($980) includes heated and ventilated front seats, blind spot monitoring, and rear cross traffic alert. The Premium package ($3,270) adds the Comfort package's features as well as a moonroof.

The Navigation package ($1,860) adds navigation, a 10.3-inch display, and a 10-speaker audio system. The Navigation/Mark Levinson Audio package ($2,920) adds a 14-speaker Mark Levinson audio system, a 10.3-inch display, and navigation.

Lexus NX 300 F Sport

The NX 300 F Sport starts at $38,960. The F Sport features several performance upgrades, such as a sport-tuned suspension, two additional drive modes, several unique styling elements, and front sport seats with enhanced bolsters for added side support.

The F Sport offers the same option packages as the base trim, though the prices are slightly different for a couple of them.

Lexus NX 300 Luxury

The NX 300 Luxury starts at $43,810. In addition to the standard features, this trim comes with  a heated steering wheel and the contents of the Premium package. The only package available with the Luxury trim is the Navigation/Mark Levinson Audio package, which we detail above.

Check out our U.S. News Best Price Program for great savings at your local Lexus dealer. You can also find excellent manufacturer incentives on our Lexus deals page.

See 2020 Lexus NX specs and trims »

The Final Call

The 2020 Lexus NX is comfortable and composed, gets good mpg ratings, and provides comfortable seating for adults in both rows. However, this small crossover finishes in the bottom third of our luxury compact SUV rankings because many rivals are more enjoyable to drive and have more intuitive tech features. The NX is worth a look, but there are several alternatives that buyers should also consider.

Don’t just take our word for it. Check out comments from some of the reviews that drive our rankings and analysis.

  • Styling, both inside and out, may present a love-it-or-hate-it proposition. The many high-tech features should appeal to early adopters, but the heavily flawed touchpad interface will temper their impression. While the NX 300 lags behind others in its class in driver engagement and performance, it will prove more than adequate for most drivers. It's not particularly entertaining or stimulating, but it is predictable and controllable. It's easy to drive in nearly all conditions and places very few demands on the driver." -- Edmunds
  • In an ever-growing sea of small-luxury SUVs, the 2020 Lexus NX compact-luxury-crossover SUV stands out with futuristic styling, a long list of standard features and an impeccable reputation for reliability and strong resale. Based on the previous-generation Toyota RAV4, the NX 300 offers good interior room, an accommodating size and a competitive price tag." -- Kelley Blue Book
  • "The Lexus recipe for success: Hide the Toyota mass-market roots under the Lexus logo by filling a car with amenities and luxury trappings, a more supple ride, and a quiet, soothing cabin. Even a pro can't sniff out the Camry beneath an ES sedan. But with the new, compact NX, the souffle falls. The car doesn't coddle you like the wildly successful Lexus RX – the midsized crossover vehicle that started the whole craze. Nor does it thrill you with BMW-like handling. It just feels like an upmarket Toyota RAV4." -- Consumer Reports (2018)

Buying

Expert Advice

Last Updated: September 27, 2019

Strong, but Cooling Sales: The Lexus NX is among the top five sellers in the luxury compact SUVs class this year; the class sales leading Mercedes-Benz GLC is outselling the NX by almost 26 percent. Additionally, NX sales have fallen 6.5 percent this year relative to the same span last year.

Research more buying advice »
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