When the Lexus NX was introduced here in 2015 (then known as the NX200t), it offered a great entry point into the Lexus marque, but as time went on, the imported from Japan NX got sidelined by the cheaper, locally-assembled Mercedes-Benz GLC-Class, BMW X3, and Volvo XC60.
In order to keep the NX competitive, Lexus Malaysia refreshed the NX line-up, offering the Lexus Safety System+ as a standard fitment across the range.
Better late than never, we reckon.
Specifications for Lexus NX300 Premium
- Price: RM 333,888
- Engine: 2.0-litre, inline-four, turbocharged, VVT-iW
- Power: 235 hp from 4,800 – 5,600 rpm
- Torque: 350 Nm from 1,650 rpm – 4,000 rpm
- Transmission: Six-speed automatic, all-wheel drive
- Safety: 8 airbags, ABS with EBD, Traction Control (TRC), Vehicle Stability Control (VSC), Hill-Start Assist, Blind Spot Monitor (BSM), Rear Cross Traffic Alert (RCTA), Lexus Safety System+, Lane Tracing Assist (LTA)
- Origin: Imported from Japan
New to the Lexus NX range is the inclusion of the Lexus Safety System+, which encompasses:
- Pre-Collision System (PCS)
- Lane Tracing Assist (LTA)
- Lane Departure Alert (LDA)
- Pre-Collision Brake Assist
- Dynamic Radar Cruise Control (DRCC)
- Active Cornering Assist (ACA)
- Parking Support Alert
- Adaptive High-beam System (AHS)
At the same time, prices have been reduced by about RM 11,000. However, some adjustments have to be made to achieve the lower pricing.
The range-topping NX300 F Sport loses its 10.3-inch display and 14-speaker Mark Levinson audio system. In its place are a smaller 8.0-inch display and 8-speaker Lexus Premium Audio. On top of that (pun intended), the glass roof option has been removed from the NX line-up.
Visually, the updated NX300 is identical to the facelifted model that was introduced locally in January, featuring a mildly revised front end with new triple-beam LED headlights flanking Lexus’ signature spindle grille, and sharper bumper accents.
While some may scoff at the NX’s sharp lines and angles, we appreciate the attention to detail Lexus designers have put into it – look at the NX long enough, and you’ll notice some strong character lines that flow not just along the sides, but also towards the roof of the car, along the A-pillars.
We also enjoy the side profile of the Lexus NX, mixing strong angular lines and suave curves, giving the NX an unmistakable side profile.
Although Lexus has updated the exterior, the interior remains largely unchanged from the earlier model, save for the addition of the Lane Departure Alert and vehicle distance buttons located on the steering wheel.
Typical of any modern Lexus, the build quality is top notch, and every part feels well put together. Adding to the classy touch is a generous dose of aluminium trim pieces.
The aluminium trim pieces also extend into the meter cluster, which adds a touch of sportiness to the SUV.
However, when compared to some of its contemporary alternatives, the infotainment system on the Lexus NX could have been better.
Navigation around the infotainment system requires the use of a touchpad, which feels rather clunky in this day and age. Adding to the clunkiness is the lack of Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility.
Button placement for the infotainment system also could have been better, as the volume knob and source buttons are located in a rather odd position.
The 2.0-litre 8AR-FTS four-cylinder turbocharged mill that powers the Lexus NX300 is quite a sophisticated unit as it is capable of running on both Otto cycle and a modified Atkinson cycle, thus allowing for the best of both worlds - great fuel economy and yet able to deliver strong performance.
Speaking of performance, we recall one of the key highlights of the Lexus NX during its media preview back in 2015 - the twin-scroll turbocharger.
Setting itself apart from other manufacturers, Lexus went on to engineer and develop its own twin-scroll turbocharger that is fitted to the NX as they said that by doing so, they will have more flexibility and control over various aspects of its performance.
As a result, the power delivery of the 2.0-litre engine is linear, without any hints of turbo lag. In fact, it is safe to say that the NX's power delivery is considerably smoother than most premium models from Germany.
With 235 hp and 350 Nm on tap, we never really felt the need for more power - squeeze the throttle a bit more and the NX accelerates with ease.
Couple with the smooth-shifting six-speed automatic, it makes for a relaxing driving experience in the NX. Even when the need arises to overtake, the gearbox responds quickly with downshifts, without any hesistance.
Ride comfort on the Lexus NX is on the firm side, with some bumps and road irregularities noticeable from the cabin. We won’t say that it is uncomfortable, but it is understandable considering that the NX is able to cope through our stint through some trunk roads with confidence. The NX barely leaned as we drove it through some back roads, though the weight can be felt as we went from turn to turn.
The steering also felt rather vague, though weightage was just about right. Thankfully the accuracy of the steering was rather on-point, making the NX an relatively easy point-and-go SUV.
Refinement is also top notch, as Lexus engineers have managed to isolate the cabin from external noises rather well - tyre and wind noises were well surpressed from the cabin. Granted, hints of engine noise can be heard when the throttle is depressed all the way, but how often does one need to do so in a Lexus?
The premium compact SUV segment is a growing segment – more and more customers are buying into the SUV trend and manufacturers are more than willing to introduce new models to cater to these buyers.
As such, competition is rather stiff in this segment – Audi has the Q5, BMW has the X3, Mercedes-Benz has the GLC range, Jaguar has the F-Pace, and Volvo has the XC60 range.
But unlike the competition, the Lexus NX is built in Japan, while most of the competition are either assembled locally or imported from Europe. If that matters to you, the Lexus NX should be right up your alley.
We are also aware that reconditioned versions of the Lexus NX exist, but bear in mind that reconditioned models are used vehicles with an unknown history and the infotainment system is in Japanese. Reconditioned cars are also not adapted for our climate, plus the lack of a manufacturer warranty should be noted as well.
Although the Lexus NX won’t be the most exciting option out there, we reckon that the NX is the most logical and sensible option, especially now that it offers more safety equipment. On top of that, the NX also offers solid Lexus reliability, decent driving performance, solid residuals, and the overall Lexus ownership experience.
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