2018 Lexus NX 300 F-Sport Test Drive

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“2018 Lexus NX 300 F-Sport”
Compact Crossover Benefits from Mid-cycle Refresh
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The first Lexus NX compact crossover appeared on the scene in 2015 as an NX 200t referencing its 2.0-liter engine logical name considering its turbocharged 2.0-liter power source. The series designation has now been changed to the Lexus NX300.
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The engine for the 2018 Lexus NX 300 remains the same, continuing to transfer its energy via a 6-speed multi-mode automatic, electronically controlled transmission with intelligence. A hybrid version will continue as the NX300h, with its gasoline/electric powertrain also remaining the same.

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As part of the 2018 Lexus NX 300’s refreshing, the exterior styling takes on a more expressive, sharply chiseled and angular persona, particularly with the F-Sport treatment. The interior has been enhanced with upgrades and the chassis has been modified with a revised suspension.
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Outside, the front continues to lead off with the large signature spindle grille flanked by the headlights featuring a sharp crease, as well as some new air intake openings. A bright chin spoiler appears below the grille. In profile, the NX 300 exhibits a sporty stance with short front and rear overhangs, pronounced fender effect wheel well openings, a rising shoulder and a chiseled lower rocker indentation. The sloping hood meets the sharply angled windshield that slopes gently to the rear gate integrated spoiler, followed by a reverse angle backlight. The blacked out “B” pillar and suggested “C” pillar give an almost coupe-like image, with the cabin glass surrounded by bright trim. The rear view projects a broad, low image with taillamps that reflect an influence by the headlamps. Exhaust outlets are bright trimmed and are integrated into the polymer fascia. Wheel wells and the lower rockers are also clad with the same contrasting polymer treatment.

The F Sport option package remains available boosting the bold aggressive appearance with a black mesh grille and unique wheels.
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Interior enhancements are modest, featuring a new metallic finish for much of the switchgear including redesigned HVAC controls. A new option is the larger, 10.3-inch central display screen, which is controlled by a revised remote touchpad. Other available features are: the foot-motion sensor that opens the power tailgate; a 10.3 multimedia screen, available with navigation; an enhanced second generation Remote Touch Interface with a 30 percent touchpad; Enform Wi-Fi allowing a download of up to 4GB during complimentary one- year trial connectable to up to 5 devices and enabling period and enabling those devices to the vehicle’s Wi-Fi hotspot.
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Lexus’ Safety System is now standard and includes: Pre-Collision System with Pedestrian Detection; High-speed Dynamic Radar Cruise Control; Intelligent High Beam; and Lane Keep Assist.
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My test 2018 Lexus NX300 featured the F-Sport Package and sported an Ultrasonic Blue Mica metallic exterior finish and a Black interior with satin finish metal trim accents. The base sticker read $39,775., while the addition of: the Adaptive Variable Suspension; Panoramic View Backup Monitor; Electrochromic auto dimming inside rear view mirror and Lexus Homelink Garage Door Opener; LED headlamps with Auto High Beam and Lane Departure; Navigation Package with remote touch interface and10-speaker Lexus Premium Sound System; Intuitive Parking Assist with Auto Brake; Power rear gate with Kick Sensor; Premium Paint; the Premium F-Sport Package; and Delivery, Processing and Handling Fee combined to elevate the final price to $50,325.
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SUMMARY: The 2018 Lexus NX 300 F-Sport exhibits aspirations of being a sports car in terms of its styling, but in reality it is a two-row, 5-passenger, compact crossover that comes with an impressive list of standard equipment and features covering the technology and safety fields along with a track record of reliability.
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Performance is certainly adequate considering the power source, but acceleration is not particularly sporty. The handling attributes however, consist of responsive steering, braking response and solid roadability. The $2,390. F-Sport Package adds significantly to the NX 300’s sportiness.
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In terms of interior comfort, the cabin’s ambience is reflective of higher priced luxury SUVs, and there’s ample legroom for both front and rear seat occupants. Cargo space is limited compared to some of the class competition. In terms of user friendliness, the touch or trackpad style controller for the infotainment system can be difficult and is not really an endearing system for getting the desired results, especially when underway.
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In the final scheme of things, this latest iteration NX 300 F-Sport represents a solid value, considering the content for the price.

SPECIFICATIONS: 2018 Lexus NX 300 F Sport

Base Price: $39,775.
Price as Tested: $50,325.

Engine Type and Size: 2.0-liter, DOHC, 16-valve twin-scroll turbocharged inline four-cylinder with intercooler, VVT-iW and electronic fuel injection

Horsepower (bhp): 235 @ 4,800-5,600 rpm
Torque (ft./ lbs.): 258 @ 1,650-4,000 rpm

Transmission: 6-speed multi-mode automatic, electronically controlled with intelligence.

Drive Train: Transversely mounted front engine / FWD.

Suspension: Front – MacPherson strut, coil springs.
Rear – Trailing Arm double wishbone type, coil springs.

Brakes: Power-assisted 4-channel, 4-sensor four-wheel discs (vented front), ABS, BA, and EBD.

Tires: Michelin Primacy MXM4 225/60 R18 100H M&S mounted on 5 stylized, closed machine faced “V”-spokes with black painted inners.

Wheelbase: 104.7 inches
Length Overall: 182.3 inches
Width: 73.6 inches – mirrors folded
Height: 64.8 inches
Curb Weight: 3,940 lbs.
Turning Circle: 19.9 ft.
Fuel Capacity: 15.9 gallons
EPA Mileage Estimates: 22 mpg city / 27-mpg highway
Drag Coefficient: 0.34
0 – 60 mph: 7.2 seconds

Arv Voss is a Northern California based freelance motoring Journalist and member and past officer of several noted Automotive Journalist organizations who contributes regularly to a number of national and international media outlets. He reviews not only cars, trucks and SUVs, but motorcycles and unusual wheeled vehicles as well.

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