2018 Lexus NX 300 F SPORT AWD
Introduced in 2015 as the NX 200t, Lexus put forth a top contender in the luxury compact crossover segment. The entire brand’s move to more angular, knife-like designs along with the brand-wide spindle grille added another aggressive and expressive vehicle to their lineup. The 2018 Lexus NX 300 sees a model and name refresh (formerly the NX 200t) with improved exterior styling and interior features.
This luxury compact crossover from Lexus is one of the brand’s top sellers and with this year’s sportier update, it should continue to do the same for 2018.
- F Sport treatment looks
- throaty exhaust notes
- great ride quality
- premium cabin
- poor visibility out of the rear
- limited cargo space
- significant investment for the fully-stocked option
- tricky infotainment touch/trackpad controls
The 2018 Lexus NX 300 F Sport exterior styling has been pleasantly refreshed with a more aggressive front fascia. All lines point forward; from the hood to the fenders and even the head, accent and fog lights, you’re directed to the often-polarizing Lexus spindle grille. The F Sport package provides an additional level of style with a blacked-out grille. This creates a visual “large mouth” opening that looks like the car is ready to devour slower vehicles in its way. While flared fenders are not unique to many vehicles today, the NX 300 F Sport’s fenders created the perfect balance of a brute + athletic appearance around the entire car.
The F Sport package also includes model-specific 18-inch, dual accent alloy wheels, a revised revised lower bumper accent, rear lower bumper and tail lights, larger exhaust openings and laser fog light housing.
The 2018 NX 300 F Sport includes color-contrasted seats and interior notes throughout the cabin. The highly bolstered front seats with quilted design are primarily red with black accents while the rear seats are primarily black with red accents. A great design nod to the driver-focused F Sport package. Our tester was equipped with heated/ventilated seats – an absolute must when driving in the brutal Texas heat.
Updated interior notes include high-quality, soft-touch materials as well as an increase in metallic accents, specifically on window switches, climate control switches and on the steering wheel. The center console is indeed the focus of the interior with the 10.3” high resolution, split-screen display. The standard Lexus Premium Audio includes 8-speakers as well as a subwoofer in the lift gate and delivers exceptional audio performance.
Despite the name change from NX 200t to NX 300, the 2018 NX 300 is still powered by the same 2-liter, turbocharged 4-cylinder engine which is mated to a 6-speed automatic transmission. This power plant delivers 235 hp and 258 lb ft torque and provides an EPA-estimated fuel economy of 22 city / 27 hwy / 24 combined MPG. In addition, your spirited drives and acceleration punches can be further enjoyed by the F Sport-specific Active Sound Control (ASC), which brings some of the engine note into the cabin using the vehicles speakers. It comes with three drive modes – ECO, Normal and Sport – that allow you to dial in your preference on any given drive.
While the F Sport package gives a more aggressive appearance and includes added handling and drive enhancements, the unchanged 2.0-liter turbo engine keeps you wanting just a little bit more. Dialing into Sport mode certainly helps response but the 2018 NX 300 isn’t exactly a featherweight coming in at just under 4,000 lbs.
My 2018 NX 300 F Sport with AWD came in at $39,775.00 base and topped out at a hefty $50,325.00. I always get to enjoy the fully-stocked packages that come with most of our vehicles but with already very premium base model, I’m not sure I’d lighten my wallet by another $10,000.00.
Rear window visibility is cramped and could be tricky when loaded with a car seat or two and I’m not a huge fan of the Lexus touch/mouse pad because of the constant unintended inputs. A $10K jump from the base model to a fully loaded option is a bit tough to swallow, and I would like to feel (not just hear) a little more performance from the carry-over engine. But overall, the 2018 Lexus NX 300 F Sport is a fully stocked, fun-to-drive, practical and high-quality crossover ute that is sure to please and turn heads on your commute.
See you on the road,