The 2018 Lexus NX 300 may seem new, but that is actually a new name for the model that used to be called the NX 200t. There are some minor differences, but overall it remains the same vehicle. You still get a small luxury crossover with the RX 350 styling and a comfortable driving manner. Buyers will enjoy a quiet interior, comfortable seating and a powerful turbocharged four-cylinder engine.
Indeed, the NX 300 is not without drawbacks. Rear cargo space is limited due to the sloped rear window. On the other hand, Lexus Remote Touch infotainment interface that requires a lot of attention can make some drivers frustrated. But overall, the 2018 Lexus NX 300 should attract buyers who are looking for comfortable and refined luxury crossover.
The 2018 Lexus GS 300 is a new name for last year NX 200t. Mechanically, nothing has changed. The last year Safety System+ package, which includes adaptive cruise control, high-beam assists, lane departure alert, front collision mitigation now come as standard equipment this year. The NX 300 also receive an infotainment system updated with a bigger display, a 30 percent larger Remote Touch Interface pad, and available adaptive suspension dampers for the F Sport version.
Trim levels and features
The 2018 Lexus NX 300 is a five-passenger compact luxury crossover that available in two trim levels: base and F Sport. The NX 300h hybrid is reviewed separately.
Standard equipment for the NX 300 includes keyless ignition and entry, 17-inch wheels, LED foglights LED headlights and running lights, automatic dual-zone climate control, power-adjustable front seats, a 60/40-split folding and reclining rear seat, simulated-leather upholstery, an 8-inch infotainment display with a touchpad interface, and an eight-speaker sound system. Standard safety aids included forward collision warning and mitigation, adaptive cruise control, automatic high beams, lane departure warning and intervention.
The NX 300 F Sport version adds 18-inch wheels, a sport-tuned suspension, special exterior styling elements, more aggressively bolstered seats, a sport steering wheel, different gauges, special interior trim and NuLuxe color schemes.
Optional packages are also available, but availability can vary by region, so you should check with your local dealer. The Comfort package adds blind-spot monitoring, heated and ventilated front seats. The Premium package adds 18-inch wheels, a sunroof, a power-adjustable steering wheel and driver-seat memory settings.
The Luxury package includes the Comfort and Premium content along with automatic wipers, a heated steering wheel and leather upholstery. The Navigation package adds a larger 10.3-inch screen and a premium sound system.
Other options include adaptive suspension dampers (F Sport only), upgraded LED headlights, a power liftgate, front and rear parking sensors.
Under the hood, the 2018 Lexus NX 300 is powered by a 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine that produces 235 horsepower and 258 pound-feet of torque. A six-speed automatic transmission with manual shifting mode is standard and sent that power to the front wheel. All-wheel drive system are available as an option.
For performance and driver engagement, the 2018 Lexus NX 300 is only average among its luxury crossover rivals. But most buyers only looking for an easy-to-drive vehicle. For this reason, the NX 300 will not disappoint. In track testing, the NX 300 F Sport AWD went from zero to 60 mph 7 seconds.
In this class, towing isn’t always important to buyers. But the NX 300 is one of precious few options in this segment that offer enough towing capability, boasting a 2000-pound capacity. EPA estimated fuel economy stand at 25 mpg combined (22 city/28 highway) for FWD models. All-wheel drive only lowers the combined figure to 24 mpg.
The 2018 Lexus NX 300 cabin is not radically designed as its exterior, but still emits a cool and modern vibe. The construction is excellent, with materials that feel and look rich. The soft leather-like material that lining the door, center console and dashboard feel expensive, and we like the soft area that cushions the center console to keep your legs from hitting hard surfaces. Details like wood trim, contrast stitches and modern analog clocks are neatly applied.
High-mounted climate control is easy to reach and see, and other secondary controls are very intuitive. Unfortunately, the Lexus Remote Touch interface remains the only way to control the infotainment system. This controller is one of the NX 300 biggest drawbacks. Inspired by a computer mouse, this is the main method for selecting audio and navigation, and it’s far from ideal. Despite its sharp screen, the cursor control with this device jerky and draws too much of your attention from the road. Lexus has added several welcome menu shortcuts, but overall competitor infotainment controllers are easier to use. Tech-savvy may also be disappointed by the lack of support for Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.
The 2018 Lexus NX 300 is very comfortable in carrying people, but with less of their stuff. Rear passengers will find a spacious space regardless of the vehicle overall dimensions, but the cargo space is limited. The 54.6 cubic feet of total cargo capacity makes the NX one of the smallest in the class, and the raked liftgate seems to make it less versatile than its modest volume would suggest. With the rear seatback up, there only 17.7 cubic feet of cargo space.
Release Date and Price
Official pricing for the GS 300 starting at $36,980 (all prices include the $995 destination charge). The optional F Sport version cost $39,370.