Who can forget the movie “Sleepless in Seattle” which takes place in what appears to be a very slow moving cosmopolitan city (Seattle) where house boats look like the romantic norm and sunny days are rare and precious? Well, that is not what I witnessed when I test drove the new 2015 Lexus NX 200 t300 Hybrid and sat in the F sport. I never saw a houseboat and the weather was fantastic, sunny and 80. So as I say… “not so Sleepless in Seattle.”
The city of Seattle was filled with construction rigs, cones everywhere and workmen in orange vests watching the traffic wiz by them. I was told that all the excitement was due to Amazon Corporation moving to Seattle and responsible for their young employees turning downtown into a mecca for “foodies and gen X’s” who walk everywhere and cozy up to coffee shops every few blocks.
When you think of Lexus you might think classy, luxury craftsmanship, dependable and other than a new grille, not that different from past years. Well hold on to your space needle folks, the 2015 Lexus NX has a new look and bold feel.If you think the spindle grille is the main attention getter, then you’ll love the front end of the NX trio. The grille, surrounded by bold lines and athletic stance, looks like it’s growling, eating up the pavement. The interior follows the exterior race car look which features race-inspired, cockpit-style seating. Some Crossovers sit high and straight while the NX seats surround the driver in a lower position. Even at 5’2”, and having adjusted the seat, it made me feel like I needed to drive like I meant it.
Whether I was going to the grocery store, picking up the kids or getting some lumber from Home Depot, I would have a determined look on my grille, I mean face. If that isn’t enough, the instrument cluster is intricately designed and equipped with all the appropriate “aggressive” switches and gauges.
Lexus has implemented a remote touch interface to their system, replacing the joystick from previous years, which created frustration for many of its users. For me , it took a little getting used to since I am a bit heavy handed and missed a few lines almost punching in Secaucus instead of Seattle in the GPS.
The technology which is not my forte, delivers the standard Lexus Premium Audio system and its eight-channel amplifier. It appears that the device integration was more important to the tech folks on the trip than me. They told me that the Bluetooth audio was seamless. I was fascinated by the Qi wireless charging tray but not sure I had the phone and equipment needed to use it. The cabin reflected a design for the younger entry level market that Lexus hopes to attract. After all, the original demo is getting older and really “sleepy.”
I test drove the NX 200 T and the 300h (hybrid). The NX in both models was agile and since construction was a big part of our test driving we got great gas mileage in the stop and go in the hybrid, and found the 200t to do just fine in town, on the highway and along the coast.
For a CUV quite compact in size the interior was spacious. I sat in the back for a quick drive and found the seats to recline and provide ample legroom for full-size adults. The storage will hold golf bags and strollers. I got such a kick out of being able to remove the tonneau cover and place it beautifully under the rug on top of the donut spare tire. As with other vehicles, or in the past, it will not be tossed in the garage to never to be seen or used again.
I can see this NX catching on with its sharp lines and L finesse beauty for the urban warriors and ladies who earn the bucks in the family.
Award for best use of space:
• Sunglass holder not molded in to a rearview mirror but deep slot in console
• Compartment for I phone that can slip perfectly above the CD Player
• A mirror when you flip over a space saver
• Cupholders that hold your water bottles tight enough to screw open the top with one hand
I didn’t get to drive the F-Sport but I sat in it and I think it is sexy both inside and out.
These models will be in dealerships in December and the pricing has not yet been determined.
Lexus feels that these models (segment) will bring 50% new customers to the brand. Take a look at the exterior of this vehicle, you can’t say it’s wimpy or old school or blah and surely not your mother’s Lexus. For more on the NX models go to www.lexus.com.