Lexus created the luxury crossover segment with the 1998 RX, a tall wagon with the utility of an SUV and the comfort of a Lear Jet. It quickly became the vehicle all others cribbed. A smaller crossover, the NX200t, aims for younger, more economy-minded trendsetters.
Faceted, athletic styling looks like it was created by an origami phenom at Tiffany & Co. LED headlamps and tail lamps gleam like diamonds. It looks best in F-Sport trim, with an alluringly sinister vibe derived from a more aggressive mesh grille, lower bumper, sportier wheels, black mirrors and 18-inch alloy wheels. (Definitely get the F-Sport package!)
Slide between the creases and the overwhelming feeling is of being surrounded with leather—the soft Lexus kind.
Deeply bolstered and heated sport seats delight, but the silky heated leather-wrapped steering wheel, sewn dash/door coverings and roomy rear seats convey luxury. It’s alluring, seductive.
A full suite of technology includes navigation and a suite of apps controlled by a touchpad mouse and screen.
Smartphones can be charged via USB ports or a wireless charging tray in the console. Our loaded vehicle also spoiled us with a power steering column, premium audio, Bluetooth, power moon roof and power rear hatch. Safety is enhanced with a backup camera, blind-spot monitor and rear cross-path detection.
The NX is available as a hybrid, but ours came with a 2.0-litre turbocharged four-cylinder engine that delivers 175kW/235 horsepower—routed to the all-wheel-drive system through a paddle-shifted six-speed automatic transmission. Fuel economy is rated 10.8/8.8 litres/100km city/hwy. If you want outstanding fuel economy, you could explore the hybrid.
The Dynamic Torque
Control all-wheel-drive provides all-weather capability but also optimizes torque between wheels for maximized handling. In short, it enjoys slicing through two-lane back roads and corners like no Lexus SUV or crossover before.
The Drive Mode Select system uses a console knob to adjust throttle and steering feel for Normal (default), Eco (saves fuel) and Sport (leave it there).
The NX200t is bound to become a neatly creased jewel among compact luxury crossovers. A base price of $41,450 or $50,850 as-tested puts it against the Audi Q5, BMW X3, Cadillac SRX, Lincoln MKC and Mercedes-Benz GLK.
2015 Lexus NX200t F Sport
Five-passenger, AWD Crossover
Powertrain 175 kW/235hp 2.0-litre Turbo-4, 6-spd auto trans
Suspension f/r Ind/Ind
Wheels f/r 18”/18” alloy
Brakes f/r disc/disc
Must-have features Style, luxury
Fuel economy 10.8/8.8 litres/100km city/hwy
Base/as-tested price $41,450/50,850
Casey Williams is a contributing writer for Gaywheels.com, and a frequent business traveller to Montreal. He contributes to the New York-based LGBT magazine Metrosource and the Chicago Tribune. He and his husband live in Indianapolis, where Williams contributes videos and reviews to wfyi.org, the area’s PBS/NPR station.