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Lexus downsizing the right way with the NX

02.03.2016

I have to repeat myself… I do not understand why Lexus does not sell more cars than it does.

It’s a brand that offers exceptional quality and although the range is relatively small - not many different models within the various product ranges - it addresses, in my mind anyway, all possible customer requirements.

Is this a sign of the times?

The NX 200t offers and intricate design. It’s bold, in your face, masculine and coupé-sporty-like at the same time. It is also Lexus' first turbocharged product and impressive, it certainly is.

I would probably classify a smaller car with similar design, as being over-designed. The body is sculpted to the extreme with a generous offering of light, which reflects off the various lines, folds and panels. However, because of the size of the surface that accommodates all this, the overall energy and perception of the exterior design is quite pleasant albeit still aggressive in a feminine sort of way. Large wheels, not only contribute to good ground clearance, but also enhance the perception of the Lexus' capacity and road ability. 

Lexus is all about perfection. The door handles, for example, are accented by puddle lamps and offer a first of its kind, keyhole-less design. The headlamps are separated from the daylight running lights, which offer greater clarity and of course improved visibility. This design synchronises well with the tail lamp design and accentuates the NX 200t's sculpted exterior.

Nissan's Juke design began a trend in the crossover market - will Lexus do the same in the luxury SUV market? We'll have to wait and see - not for long (I think).

Swiss chocolate elegance

When thinking Lexus, sheer luxury is always at the forefront of one's mind; it’s no different with the NX 200t. The interior is a lecture in ergonomic luxury design and layout. The light grey metal inserts on the centre console and steering, do not overpower the practical and emotional requirements for the interior of a luxury vehicle – they enhance it! Every element and every dial and screen, is crisp and clear and does not create strain on the senses of either the driver or the passengers.

And of course, this Lexus offers all the luxury features one would hope for although they are often not even utilized. Depending on the model of your choice, the audio system is either eight or 10-speaker kitted and offers USB and AUX. A seven-inch VGA centre offers access to climate, audio and navigation.

 Ready for the black stuff

The two-litre four cylinder VVT-i engine offers 175kW and 350Nm. It is very responsive when you force fuel down its throat - more than adequate for most drivers. And one must remember what the Lexus' sales executive, Mbali, said when I interviewed her for the Imperial Toyota feature. "Lexus drivers have nothing to prove. They are elegant and stylish. They appreciate authenticity." Be that as it may, with the NX 200t - and if they need to - Lexus drivers can - ever so often - kick butt!

The power source is connected to a smooth sequential-shift six-speed automatic gearbox and a sophisticated proactive all-wheel-drive system. One can initiate sequential shifting via the stick or the paddle shifts on the steering. I prefer the latter, when one engages in spirited driving, but just be aware that when you do so, the fuel gauge will respond appropriately. And on this note, my average index for open-road driving - at the legal limit - indexed at 6.8 litres/100km

One thing that did lift my eyebrows though, was this… with cruise control engaged the gearbox will shift down on the slightest downhill, which will of course increase the revs per minute and if this happens often, will also increase the fuel consumption. On steepish down hills, this method will send the revs (as a manner of speaking) into orbit, resulting in higher engine noise. But, perhaps, I am a tad sensitive. If you are a Lexus owner, perhaps you can share your take on this issue, with us.

Of course this is a Lexus and it comes with:

  • adaptive variable suspension,
  • hill start assist,
  • vehicle stability control,
  • traction control and more,

 

Although one cannot see these technologies, the driving experience is such that you can only admire the aforementioned features. They work! Push this Lexus just a little and you will feel it working.

A Lexus with a turbo? Yes, this is the 200t and for some out there, it will offer the ultimate elegant and luxury mode of transport. Have you tried your hand at one yet?

Article written by Matthys Ferreira
02.03.2016
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