Susan Frissell, Editor/Publisher
Although a luxurious and sporty SUV, the 2020 Lexus NX 300 lags somewhat behind its competitors; to name a few the Infiniti QX50 and BMW X3. As with all the Lexus products, many reviews mention their dislike for the Lexus infotainment system. Just not user-friendly.
In the middle of luxury compact SUV’s, the NX 300 started life in 2015 as the NX 200t, and in 2018, changed its name to the NX 300. The NX saw a few changes in 2019, nothing major. Available in five trim levels, the 2020 NX 300 offers the 300 FWD ($36,870), 300 AWD ($38,270), 300 F Sport FWD ($39,110), 300 Sport AWD $40,510), and the 300 Luxury FWD ($43,960). A Hybrid is also available.
Our press NX was the 300 F Sport, FWD in a stunning Cadmium Orange exterior with white perforated leather seating. MSRP at $40,360, our NX 300 F Sport quickly climbed in price by adding several options, including Adaptive Variable Suspension ($770), Panoramic View Back Up Monitor ($800), Electrochromic Auto-Dimming Inside Rear View Mirror w/Lexus Homelink Garage Door Opener ($125), Triple Beam LED Headlamps with AFS ($1,515), Navigation/Mark Levinson 14-speaker 835-watt Premium Surround Sound Audio System with 10.3-inch multimedia display, Lexus Dynamic Navigation (3-yr. trial subscription included), Lexus Enform Destination Assist (1-yr. trial subscription included), $2,920), Intuitive Parking Assist with Auto Braking ($535), Premium Paint ($595), Power Rear Door ($400), Premium F-Sport Package ($2,865), Heated and Ventilated Front Seats, Blind Spot Monitor with Rear Cross Traffic alert, Lexus Memory, System Power Moonroof, and Courtesy Delivery Sticker.
The pros of our 2020 Lexus NX 300 F-Sport SUV include driving dynamics, the option of AWD and a beautiful interior, although a tad tight on space. Our Cadmium Orange NX 300 had a stunning Arctic White perforated leather interior with Rioja Red brown accents on the doors and dash.
The NX 300 styling looks up-to-date and modern, and as with all Lexus products, has an excellent reliability rating (Consumer Reports). While many refer to its grille as “massive,” we kind of like it-guess it’s a matter of getting used to. Lexus manages to add subtle, yet attractive interior touches, such as the analog clock on the dash (think Infiniti), ambient lighting, moonroof.
Remote-less start is a nice convenience, and the 10.3-inch multi-media display is right-sized. The F-Sport upgrades include stylish interior upgrades, 18-inch wheels; a sport-tuned suspension; heated sport steering wheel; fog lights; LED daytime running lights; heated outside mirrors; and aluminum pedals.
Our NX 300 press vehicle also included the Mark Levinson premium sound system, with 14 speakers, navigation, and LED headlamps. Who wouldn’t enjoy this?
New for 2020 are some driver safety features that include bicycle detection, lane-centering assist, and low-light pedestrian detection. More safety features to learn about and get accustomed to. Added standard safety equipment (Lexus Safety System +2.0) is also new for 2020.
The 2020 Lexus NX 300 does provide luxury in a compact package, and when adding the F Sport package, performance. The sport-tuned suspension will make the NX 300 feel like a performance vehicle, but don’t’ expect that rumble you hear from a Corvette pipe. Rather, what you get is the sound of a 4-cylinder turbo.
If you prefer all-wheel-drive, the NX 300 offers it. FWD is standard and performs good under most normal driving conditions.
Two complaints: As with all Lexus products, the Remote Touch infotainment controller is the worst function on the NX 300. Hard to use and frustrating, especially while driving.
All in all, this is a pleasant SUV, but not a stand-out in this category. This writer prefers the F-Sport option in all the Lexus products; just makes the vehicle feel more performance-oriented, although the Lexus brand is often thought of in luxury terms.
The panoramic view backup monitor ($600) although helpful, takes some adjusting to. We are still accustomed to checking a rear-view mirror. The backup monitor offers several views and if studied judiciously, can help avoid any backup hazards. A good thing. As with most new features, it takes a little practice. which we would recommend. It allows you to see a much wider angle when backing in limited sight areas. The power rear hatch with a kick sensor is another feature you will want when carrying shopping bags and both hands are full.
The 2020 Lexus NX 300 F Sport brings extra driver engagement with improved driving dynamics over the standard model. The exterior styling may be a bit edgy, but once you step inside, the cabin will win you over. There’s extra attention to detail, luxury treatments, and the quality is there. This NX 300 also offers the latest safety equipment to keep the family safe in the event of an accident.
Overall, the NX 300 is a perfect everyday commuter that places few demands on the driver and provides a calm, comfortable cabin.
There exist a plethora of SUV’s these days; each manufacturer offering more than what is needed, perhaps. The UX 200 from Lexus may be a more practical SUV/sport wagon than the NX 300 and offers better fuel economy. As a colleague noted, the NX 300’s 2.0-L 1-4 Turbo doesn’t get much better economy than the naturally aspirated V6 engine in the RX, especially with the 8-speed transmission.
Pricing: MSRP $40,360; total price $51,910; delivery $1,025.
Engine: 2.0-liter in line 4, turbo with 235 hp.
Transmission: 6-speed automatic
Wheelbase: 104.7 in.
Width: 73.6 in.
Length: 182.3 in.
Height: 64.8 in.
Weight: 4,050 lbs.
Fuel Tank Capacity: 15.9 gal
Tires: Front/Rear all-season, 225/60R18 (F Sport package)
Towing capacity: 2,000 lbs.
Warranty: 4-yr./50,000 miles basic; 8 yr./70,000-mile powertrain; 72 mth/unlimited mile corrosion, perforation; 48 mth/unlimited distance roadside; 12 mth/10,000-miles maintenance