Test Drive: 2017 Lexus NX 200t F Sport
A few years ago, Toyota decided to emphasize performance in its Lexus luxury brand. The result has been a series of aggressively styled cars and SUVs that look great and are fun to drive, even if they are not necessarily the fastest vehicles in their classes.
A prime example is the 2017 Lexus 200t, which is a compact five-door SUV with edgy styling, a well designed and luxurious interior, and a turbocharged 2.0-liter inline four cylinder engine that provide enough power to be quick without being overpowering.
Out test version was the F Sport model, which is the designation for vehicles equipped with a sport-oriented handling and appearance package. It included 18-inch wheels, a sport-tuned suspension,special exterior styling elements, special interior trim, more aggressively bolstered seats, different gauges, a sport steering wheel, and a special NuLuxe color scheme — in our case, a Molten Orange exterior paint that attracted attention everywhere we went.
Over a week of testing, we consistently found the 2017 Lexus 200t F Sport entertaining to drive. It was fast off the line and able to easily merge into freeway traffic with pushed, but easy to control the rest of the time. The ride was a enjoyable compromise between firm and too firm, and the steering was quick and precise. The front leather bucket seat were wide enough to be comfortable despite their high bolstering. The rear seats were surprisingly roomy, too.
Despite being a compact, 200t F Sport rode higher than most cars, offering good views except out the rear, which was confined by the styling. But it had a good backup camera and a safety package that warned of vehicles in the blind spots with lights on the side mirrors.
Some might find the infotainment system tricky to use. It includes a console mounted touch pad that controls the screen settings. It works well enough, but practice is required for drivers to prevent taking their eyes off the road for too long.
Our test 200t F Sport also came with all-wheel-drive, which we usually recommend it because of the wet and frequently slippery conditions during Pacific Northwest falls and winters.
Performance-oriented compact luxury SUVs are definately a small slice of the over all car market. None have much cargo space, so they are not very realistic for those who frequently carry several people and their gear. But they are more practical that sports cars so-called GT cars with unrealistically small back seats. So if you're looking for something that strikes a balance between performance and practicality and still stands out in a crowd, the 2017 Lexus NX 200t F Sport should be at the top of your shopping list.
2017 Lexus NX 200t F Sport
Base price: $37,385
Price as tested: $46,439
Style: Compact luxury SUV
Engine: Turbocharged 2.0-liter 4 (235 hp, 258 ft-lbs)
Transmission: 6-speed automatic with paddle shifters and manual shift mode
EPA fuel economy: 22/27
Length: 182.3 inches
Weight: 3,940 to 4,040 pounds
Final assembly point: Miyawaka, Fukuoka, Japan