2021 Lexus NX 300 F Sport Review by Bruce Hotchkiss +VIDEO
Luxury In A Small(ish) Package
By Bruce Hotchkiss*
West Coast Bureau
The Auto Channel
I have to admit that I have little desire to “keep up with the Joneses.” I don’t care what name plate is on a car. I care more about how good it is, and good is subjective. To me a good car is one that is reliable for a long time and it should need nothing but basic maintenance for many years.
It is nice though when a car with cachet is also a good car. Which brings me to the 2021 Lexus NX 300 F Sport.
When your parent company is Toyota, a company known for its reliable, long-lasting vehicles you are assured of having good genes.
For those who are unsure of where the NX fits into the Lexus SUV line-up it is the smallest although it is not small. For comparison it is around the same size as its Toyota cousin, the RAV4.
The test NX 300 F Sport was FWD; AWD is available. By the numbers the NX is 182.7” long on a wheelbase of 104.7”. The NX 300 F Sport weighs 3,940 lbs.
Under the hood is a turbocharged, 235 h.p., 2.0-liter engine coupled to a six-speed automatic transmission. In today’s world that’s not a lot of horses but it is 10 more than a 1990 Mustang GT – in other words it is lively. Zero to sixty comes about in 7.2 seconds.
There are three shift profiles for the transmission – Normal, Eco (lazy), and Sport (crisp shifts). I noticed a change in the engine sound with Sport mode almost like it had an aftermarket intake system but not as intrusive. Nice power roar.
I’m kind of split on the interior color combination. Lexus says it is “Circuit Red” with “Metallic Sport Trim.” At first I didn’t really like it but it grew on me. The seats were comfortable (Would you really expect anything less?) with the requisite multiple electric adjustments and heating and cooling.
I never sat in the back but we did have a six-footer back there and he had plenty of room. Four adults would be very comfortable and five will fit.
Don’t tell anyone but I hauled some lumber in the NX 300, four 4x4 six footers to be exact. I laid down a moving blanket to make sure I didn’t damage anything but otherwise they fit just fine. All I had to do was fold the right rear seat down, move the right front seat forward and there was room to spare. I doubt that Lexus intended the NX (or any of its SUVs) to be used as a pickup truck, probably more as a vehicle to haul your golf clubs or some antiques.
If you absolutely have to tow you are limited to 2,000 lbs.
I exceeded the EPA highway fuel economy rating (28-mpg) slightly getting 29.2-mpg on two round trips from my house to San Ramon, a trip of about 130 miles total. The city economy is rated at 22-mpg; I didn’t confirm this.
The test NX 300 F Sport (F evidently stands for “Flagship”) FWD starts at $39,610. If you decide you want/need AWD add $1,400. As equipped, with delivery fee and options, it hit $50,215. Is it worth it? That’s up to you. All I can tell you is you will most likely enjoy it and it should provide years of reliable comfort.
*Author's Note: I have been writing car reviews since 1984. I am a Certified Automotive Technician although I no longer ply that trade. I worked for twenty years for the California Department of Consumer Affairs & Bureau of Automotive Repair. I sat on three legislative advisory committees. I wrote an automotive column for the Tracy Press, and before that the Pacifica Tribune. I was a member of the Automotive Journalists Association of Canada and am a member of the Western Automotive Journalists.