Driven: Lexus NX
With greater practicality, an upmarket image, and improved running costs, the UK’s appetite for SUVs has been increasing over the last few years. Traditionally, 4x4s and sports utility vehicles were cumbersome working vehicles, but many manufacturers now offer models that offer greater luxury, performance and stylish bodywork.
I’ve been driving the new Lexus NX200t F-Sport recently. With 235 horsepower, this model certainly performs well. This model has a sports-tuned suspension and, although it’s no Golf GTi on the country lanes, its ability to cover a long distance comfortable on the motorway is quite superb. With brisk acceleration, tremendous refinement and an elevated view of the road ahead, it’s a great car to eat-up the miles. I always find that the driver’s seat in a Lexus is a rather pleasant place to be, and with full electric adjustment of both front seats and the steering wheel on the F-Sport it’s simple to set up a perfect driving position which remains comfortable mile after mile.
Standard equipment on all Lexus NX models is generous: my F-Sport had full leather, xenon headights, navigation, DAB radio and electric front seats. The interior quality was very impressive with plush materials and soft-touch surfaces throughout. The cabin is spacious in both the front and the rear. The load area, with split-folding rear seats, is as good as the competition.
The NX range starts at £29,495 on-the-road. The NX F-SPort range that I have been driving starts at £38,095, reflecting the considerable standard specification on this model. However, with low depreciation and strong residual values, you can lease an NX from just over £300 + VAT per month.
So what’s not to like? On a mix of driving with the 2.0 litre petrol turbo engine, the fuel consumption was just below 30mpg. I suppose this is to be expected of a car this size, but it was a little less than I’m used to. The perfect solution is to consider the 2.5 litre petrol hybrid version: it loses some of the performance, but it’s just over £1000 less to buy and has better fuel consumption too. If you’re a company car driver, you’ll also pay less tax.
So is it worth considering? Definitely. This is a practical SUV with bold styling, fantastic refinement and class-leading levels of equipment. Although Lexus don’t offer a diesel model in the NX range, the hybrid versions give the option of a more economical model.
For: High quality finish, equipment & comfort
Against: Fuel consumption of the petrol version
Verdict A distinctively styled, prestigious mid-sized SUV
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