$27,283 - $32,299

2016 Lexus NX Performance Review

Note: This performance review was created when the 2016 Lexus NX was new.


Performance: 7.8

The 2016 Lexus NX 200t gets adequate power and acceleration from its engine, according to auto journalists, but some note that many class rivals are more athletic and offer more powerful engine options. Test drivers say the NX handles with poise and has sharp steering. They add that the brakes are firm and the transmission shifts smoothly, but doesn't make for a sporty ride.

  • "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 (2015)
  • 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 (2015)
  • "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 (2015)

Acceleration and Power

The 2016 NX 200t features a turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine that puts out 235 horsepower. A six-speed automatic transmission is standard. The NX gets an EPA-estimated 22/28 mpg city/highway, which is above average for the class.

The turbocharged engine provides decent power, according to some test drivers, and they say acceleration is quick. However, others wish the NX was available with a larger engine as many class rivals are. Critics report that the transmission is smooth but add that its focus on silky shifting makes the NX feel slower.

  • "If you're looking to extract maximum performance, the powerful turbocharged engine in the NX 200t pours out power smoothly and evenly, resulting in brisk acceleration despite the nearly 4,000 pounds it has to haul around." -- Kelley Blue Book
  • 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 (2015)
  • "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 (2015)
  • "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 (2015)

Handling and Braking

Front-wheel drive is standard on the NX and all-wheel drive is available. Most test drivers agree that the NX delivers a composed ride. They add that the steering is accurate and responsive. Critics report that although some class rivals are more athletic, the NX's handling is fairly agile and the brakes offer good pedal feel.

  • "One of the best things we can say about the styling on the 2016 Lexus NX 200t and NX 300h is that the driving experience matches the aggressive lines. The steering is sharp, and an adjustable suspension includes a Sport mode, giving this compact-luxury-crossover SUV agility not normally associated with Lexus SUVs." -- Kelley Blue Book
  • 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. …" -- Cars.com (2015)
  • "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 (2015)
  • 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 (2015)

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