Brent Co / Brent Co, Barney Biscocho | February 07, 2018 11:34
This compact crossover from Lexus, one geared for the young and successful, is considered one of its better selling models globally and locally. It was the brand's first foray into the segment in 2014, which steadily gaining popularity in the premium market. An update at 3 years, however, wasn't quite expected, but Lexus decided to give the NX crossover a mid-cycle update at the start of the second quarter of 2017 with a debut at Auto Shanghai.
One of the major changes would be the revision of designation from 200t to 300, giving it more uniformity with the hybrid variant. The design gets a slight tweak, while the engine remains the same.
On the outside, the changes are very minute with its front end getting a slightly more aggressive character. This comes courtesy of edgier LED headlights and a larger, yes larger, spindle grill. Apparently the designers thought the previous one wasn't big enough. The bumper also gets new mesh accents to mimic air dams, but they're purely cosmetic. And finally, the lower apron gets an aluminum finish.
At the back, a slightly revised pair of tail lights give an illusion of a broader width. There is also a new lower apron receives a slight tweak and is also finished in aluminum as with the front. A pair of larger exhaust tailpipes have been added to match the aggressive look of the front fascia.
The interior is carried over from the pre-facelift version, and that isn't a bad thing. As the saying goes: if it ain't broke don't try to fix it. The seats are the same perforated-style F-Sport leather seats in the engaging combination of red and black. Red contrast stitching can also be found around the interior while the door panels also get leather inserts.
The infotainment system gets a big boost with a new 10.3-inch widescreen display controlled by a new trackpad, replacing the rotary knob and buttons. It also gets more functions such as navigation and a Lexus App that works with smartphones. A new set of USB ports feature higher amperage is fitted for better charging in newer devices.
Despite the new '300' badge, the NX retains the 2.0-liter turbocharged mill rated at 235 PS and 350 Nm paired with a 6-speed automatic gearbox to drive all four wheels. It delivers just the right amount of power for its size for city driving duties and the turbo kicks in when you need more power. Much like what we experienced before in the NX200t, power delivery is very linear and gears are precisely matched.
Instead of an engine update, engineers decided to improve driving dynamics with chassis and suspension updates. Part of the updated NX's chassis update is the introduction of the Adaptive Variable Suspension (AVS), first introduced in the LC 500, for better car control and overall handling stability.
The dampers have been improved to give a better balance of both handling and comfort. Also revised were the springs, stabilizer bars and bushings, which have been retuned for improved turn-in response and steady-state cornering. While the difference from the pre-facelift version may not be night and day, the vehicle's body motions feel better on sharper corners and twisty mountain roads than the 200t-badged model.
At Php 3,488,000, it sounds like a huge jump from its Toyota RAV4 cousin. However, you could say that it is strategically priced just below some of its premium marque competitors such as the Audi Q3, BMW X1, Mercedes-Benz GLC, and Mini Countryman. Being a 2.0-liter turbo equipped Lexus, it does not enjoy the same tax breaks as its larger displacement engine equipped stablemates.
If you're looking for a luxury compact crossover with some athleticism, the NX300 F-Sport is definitely worth a look.