$26,062 - $28,813

2015 Lexus NX Performance Review

Note: This performance review was created when the 2015 Lexus NX was new.


Performance: 7.7

Test drivers are pleased with the 2015 Lexus NX's poised handling and comfortable ride, though a few comment that rivals like the BMW X3 and Audi Q5 offer more athletic handling. While reviewers think the NX 200T should have plenty of power for most drivers, they note that it can feel sluggish from a stop and that the transmission shifts smoothly but a bit slowly.

  • So how does the NX stack up against its competitors? We spent some time behind the wheel. Our opinions are generally favorable, though we're not sure this is the class leader that Lexus is hoping for." -- AutoTrader
  • "Its comfortable ride is reminiscent of large Lexuses new and old -- provided one forgoes the F-Sport, that is. And on open roads and sharp corners, it never feels any bigger or smaller than it is. For some, it's just the right size." -- AutoWeek
  • "Much like its size and styling, the NX's driving experience clearly differentiates it from the bigger RX. The steering is more responsive, the compact dimensions imbue a sense of agility and the firmer suspension tuning makes you feel more connected to the road." -- Edmunds

Acceleration and Power

The 2015 NX 200T is powered by a turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine that makes 235 horsepower. A six-speed automatic transmission is standard. According to the EPA, a front-wheel drive NX 200T gets 22/28 mpg city/highway, which is decent for the class.

Most test drivers think that the NX 200T suffers from turbo lag, which makes it feel sluggish from a stop, and a few critics add that the transmission shifts smoothly but slowly. Still, others report that the NX 200T has ample power for passing on the highway and that, as a whole, there should be more than enough power for most drivers.

  • "At the end of the day, we exited the Lexus NX 200t thinking it could use more punch, possibly from a larger, optional powerplant. Most buyers will likely be pleased as pie with Lexus' 2.0 turbo, but since we've sampled the rest of the class, we're keenly aware that it's trailing its more powerful rivals by a good margin." -- Autoblog
  • "When called upon to fully deliver, the 2.0-liter engine is responsive with very slight turbo lag; with 258 lb-ft of torque available between 1650 and 4000 rpm, it delivered good passing power in our tests." -- Consumer Guide
  • "The new turbo four might be smart, but oddly, it's not super-quick off the line. Scrolling the drive mode rotary dial from 'Eco' to 'Sport' sharpens the throttle response and wakes up the transmission. But punch the right pedal from a stoplight, and-wait for it-there's some lag before the boost hits around 2200 rpm." -- Road and Track
  • "If performance is your thing, the NX's transmission doesn't help matters, either. Far from a sporty dual clutch, the NX's traditional 6-speed automatic focuses on smooth over sport, and we suspect it saps a few tenths from the NX's already lackluster 0-to-60 time." -- AutoTrader

Handling and Braking

The NX 200T comes standard with front-wheel drive, and all-wheel drive is optional. Test drivers say that the Lexus NX has poised handling, ample grip and controlled body motions through turns. Most think that the F Sport model's handling is a bit sharper than the base model's, though a few comment that rivals like the BMW X3 and Audi Q5 feel more athletic. Still, reviewers write that the NX rides comfortably and that the brake pedal delivers good feedback to the driver.

  • "The NX's ride is first-class, a strong engineering feat for a vehicle with such a small wheelbase. This is particularly true of the non-F Sport model. The steering is properly weighted and lively; the NX 200t holds the road well during fast sweeping turns; and the brake feel is about 10 times better than you'd expect on this class of vehicle." -- Motor Trend
  • "The whole experience is much more crisp and lively than in the standard NX 200t or its hybrid sibling. More than anything, this is not a sports package that will beat you up on a rough road. Lexus was careful to balance ride comfort, quietness, and handling in a way that's appropriate to the vehicle." -- Road and Track (F Sport)
  • "The NX's ride quality is busy at times, but it still feels more composed than the sometimes-choppy RX. I couldn't detect a huge difference between the normal and F Sport suspensions; the latter have performance shocks and retuned springs, but most of our brief seat time in an NX 200t F Sport was over smooth pavement in moderate traffic." -- Cars.com
  • Out on the gently curving Sea to Sky Highway, and on a tighter two-lane that branches off into the mountains, the NX handled confidently; the F-Sport version slightly more so. ... Even so, the Lexus NX is not an energetic corner carver in the manner of a BMW X3, or even an Audi Q5. Ride quality on the optional 18-inch wheels was quite good -- although the area's smooth pavement is hardly the toughest test." -- Automobile Magazine

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