Of course you expect lots of great features and luxury from Lexus. Here’s what surprised us about the NX200t (spoiler: great price, fun to drive)
The real magic of the NX200t (the ’t’ stands for turbo; NX is Lexus’ smallest crossover line) is all you get for the price. This is a true luxury car — if more ‘starter luxury’ for its size and edit of features— with a quiet ride, pampering details and refined feel. And I’ll cut to the chase: this is a luxury bargain with pricing starting at $35,000. Nicely outfitted, the model we drove carries a MSRP of $44,000, which is still a very good deal for all you get (and with smart negotiation, you might get an even better deal!).
So how can Lexus put so much luxury in a value-priced car, you ask?
Well, first, by adding a turbo charger to a 4-cylinder engine, Lexus can reduce its cost but not your power. The company can also give you more MPG with a smaller engine (just watch the lead foot; this car is fun to drive and that may reduce your fuel efficiency).
Next, using smart technology it already owns, Lexus can save money on car-inventing: Lexus turned to its parent company, Toyota, for the bones of this car, the Toyota Rav4 (though they say that 90% of the car is unique to Lexus). Using the basic structure of this compact crossover, including its all wheel drive abilities, Lexus can produce a smaller, more compact crossover that needs less in terms of behind-the-scenes engineering and invention, allowing it to pack more of what it does well into this car.
Who Should Look at This Car:
- Luxury is a must
- Price matters, too
- Fuel efficiency is important
- Crossover and all wheel drive are a must
- Manual shift mode and a sporty ride make you giggle
- You love new technology
- You love cutting edge design
- Your family that wants the best of both worlds: comfort and versatility for the daily drive and a fun ride when the time and road conditions are right
What You Should Consider:
- In-car technology requires some getting used to
- Wireless phone charger works with specific phones (or needs a special case)
- Sport drive mode reduces fuel efficiency
- The NX200t is more comfortable for four passengers than 5
- A mid-sized crossover, this car is more about flexibility of space than lots of space
- Not a ton of ‘stuff’ space aside of two cup holders and a small console between the front seats, and a rear arm rest with a small space and cupholders in the back seat
Sport drive and manual shift option: Giggles when you want them
I’m not a fan of paddle shifters. I understand them, but I haven’t quite fallen in love with them. My husband, on the other hand, loves them. LOVES.
He also loves a car with a manual shift option, which is similar to paddle shifters but lets you shift through the gears with the gear shift, which is how the Lexus NX200t accommodates drivers like my husband. He might like this better because it keeps one hand focused on steering while the other is shifting (I also think he loves not having to use his left foot to shift gears, which I like).
So the week we drove the Lexus NX200t was a bit of a bi-polar one for us: I loved the good gas mileage, the luxury features and getting to know the touch pad infotainment system, which once I mastered, made time in the car sooooo easy: I could switch between music, navigation, climate and more without even looking at the screen, which is the point (there are buttons and knobs for most functions, too).
My husband, on the other hand, couldn’t wait to get out on the back country roads of Connecticut and test out the manual transmission option, putting the car through its paces on curves and hills. OK, I’ll admit, that made me giggle a bit, too; it was fun.
Just enough space for tooling around town
It might be that the fun of the NX200t is in its size: the smaller profile lends to agility on the road. This also makes it easy for driving around town, getting groceries, running errands and trips to school, and the back seat is fine and quite comfortable for back seat passengers. Even my tall-ish teens found the seats and back seat comfortable, though they had to thread their phone charger cords to the front seat to the car’s single USB port or to the cigarette charger power port for charging.
The rear cargo space is plenty roomy: fine for groceries or sports equipment, or for luggage for four people. If you want to get more into the car, the push button fold-down back seats accommodate 54 cubic feet of cargo space. If you need more space, an optional roof rack (rails are built onto the roof) can accommodate a luggage or equipment carrier.
NX200t: A solid middle child whose siblings offer more on both ends: efficiency or sporty style
It’s worth noting that the NX200t sits in the middle between its more efficient sister, the hybrid NX300h and the more aggressive sporty-looking and feeling NX200t F Sport. The NX300h gets about 33 MPG (according to Lexus) but has a higher starting price (about $39,000), and the F Sport, which has the same engine and fuel economy, boasts a sportier suspension and racing seats, among other features (while we have not yet reviewed these models, we hope to soon).
What We Loved
- Touchpad infotainment controls
- Lexus Enform app that lets you start the car remotely
- Wireless phone charging pad
- Smart key—this unlocks the car and enables push button start, even when it’s at the bottom of your handbag
- Three drive settings: Sport, Eco and Normal
- Manual shift option
- Roomy, comfortable rear seats
- Fun to drive, easy to park
- Meteor Mica Blue paint (a pretty, sparkly navy)
What You Need to Know
- Starting price, about $35,000; price of the model we drove about $44,000
- Adding to the price are: Infotainment (includes the touch pad, navigation system, Enform remote app and premium sound system; $2140), premium package (includes heated and cooled seats, 18” wheels and power moonroof; $2890), wireless phone charger ($220), ‘smart’ mirrors with heat, blind spot monitors, cross traffic alert, tilt when in reverse ($660)
- Fuel economy 22 city/28 highway
- Premium fuel recommended
- 48 months/50,000 mile basic warranty
- 72 month/100,000 mile power train warranty
Disclosure: Lexus loaned us the NX200t for our test drive; opinions expressed are all our own.