2020 Lexus NX

2020 Lexus NX Review: Luxury Value

by Morgan Carter

The luxury crossover segment is booming right now. Competition is stiff, but the Lexus NX holds its own against renowned brands like BMW and Acura. The powertrain may not be anything to write home about, with a 235-horsepower turbo four-cylinder paired with a six-speed automatic gearbox. Front-wheel drive is standard across the range, matching most rivals, but every model gets access to an all-wheel drivetrain, too. There is no lack of tech and safety features at any trim level, and the Lexus enjoys almost perfect safety and dependability ratings. However, no car is perfect, and the NX 300 suffers from sub-par cargo capacity and a rather annoying infotainment system. On the plus side, it finally gets Android Auto this year, and the overall value you get with a Lexus NX is extremely good for its pretty low starting MSRP.

2020 Lexus NX Changes: 🚙What’s the difference vs 2019 NX?

For 2020, the Lexus NX finally comes standard with Android Auto, while other new standard features include a power tilt-and-telescoping steering column, Lexus Safety System + 2.0 with lane tracing assist and road sign recognition, as well as active cornering assist. The exterior and interior color palettes have been updated, too, with Cadmium Orange replacing Silver Lining and Autumn Shimmer on the outside. Inside, Rioja Red accents have been changed to Black, and Arctic White/Black F Sport upholstery is now available. The model lineup also sees the addition of a new trim, the Lexus NX 300 Luxury.

Pros and Cons

  • Excellent reliability rating
  • Near-perfect crash test scores
  • Roomy, cozy cabin
  • Upscale materials and high build quality
  • Very competitive mileage figures
  • Cramped trunk
  • Finicky infotainment system
  • Not as athletic as its rivals

2020 Lexus NX Trims

Trim Engine Transmission Drivetrain Price (MSRP)
NX 300
2.0-liter Turbo Inline-4 Gas
6-Speed Automatic
Front-Wheel Drive
All-Wheel Drive
$36,870
NX 300 F SPORT
2.0-liter Turbo Inline-4 Gas
6-Speed Automatic
Front-Wheel Drive
All-Wheel Drive
$39,110
NX 300 Luxury
2.0-liter Turbo Inline-4 Gas
6-Speed Automatic
Front-Wheel Drive
All-Wheel Drive
$43,960

NX Exterior

The Lexus NX 300 certainly has a bold design, with enormous wheel arches housing the 17-inch alloys, and LED headlights, fog lights, and daytime running lights mounted on the front fascia, even though the large spindle hourglass grille takes up the majority of the space, almost completely concealing the Lexus logo. This is very much a "love it or hate it" design. The F Sport replaces the wheels with 18-inch alloys and adds enhanced LED daytime running lights. It also gets black-accented mirrors and an F Sport fascia, which includes a mesh grille insert and front fender, as well as tailgate badging. The top-tier Luxury trim adds a power sunroof and does away with the F Sport's aesthetic changes.

2020 Lexus NX Front Angle View Lexus
2020 Lexus NX Side Mirror Lexus
2020 Lexus NX Top View Lexus
See All 2020 Lexus NX Exterior Photos

Dimensions

With an overall length of 182.7 inches and a width of 73.6 inches, the Lexus NX fits snugly in the compact SUV segment, while its 104.7-inch wheelbase provides a relatively spacious cabin on the inside. But, while the NX may be compact, it stands tall at 64.8 inches, giving drivers a commanding view of the road, while a modest ground clearance of 6.9 inches allows it to wander a little off the beaten track, where most rivals wouldn't dare to go. However, the Lexus is also a bit heavier than some rivals, like the Acura RDX, weighing in at 3,940 pounds in its front-wheel-drive guise, or 4,050 lbs if you opt for the all-wheel drivetrain.

  • Length 182.3 in
  • Wheelbase 104.7 in
  • Height 64.8 in
  • Max Width 73.6 in
  • Front Width 62.2 in
  • Rear Width 62.2 in

Exterior Colors

Ten paint colors make up the palette for the Lexus NX, with seven of those available on the base model and the Luxury. Among these are the pearls, Eminent White and Nebula Gray, the clearcoats, Atomic Silver, Caviar, Matador Red Mica, and the $595 Cadmium, and a single metallic option, Blue Vortex. The F Sport gets the same palette as well as access to three exclusive colors: Obsidian, Ultra White, and the $595 Ultrasonic Blue 2.0 - replacing Caviar, Eminent White, and Blue Vortex from the standard palette. For 2020, Silver Lining and Autumn Shimmer have been deleted from the palette to make room for the new premium Cadmium option.

  • Eminent White Pearl
  • Nebula Gray Pearl
  • Atomic Silver
  • Caviar
  • Blue Vortex Metallic
  • Matador Red Mica
  • Cadmium Orange
  • Ultra White
  • Obsidian
  • Ultrasonic Blue Mica 2.0

NX Performance

Despite having a trim called the F Sport, every model in the Lexus NX range shares the exact same performance figures. This is because they all share the same turbocharged inline-four-cylinder engine that develops 235 hp and 258 lb-ft of torque mated to a six-speed automatic transmission. The heavier all-wheel drivetrain actually offers slightly quicker acceleration figures than the standard front-wheel drivetrain, beating the latter by two-tenths of a second with a 0-60 mph sprint time of seven seconds flat. Naturally, the slightly higher output BMW X3 xDrive30i fares better in the sprint test, managing to get to 60 mph in only six seconds. Nevertheless, the all-wheel-drive NX 300 offers pretty competitive towing figures, maxing out at 2,000 lbs. While this may require that you option on the correct equipment, it's still 500 lbs more than the Acura RDX can handle.

2020 Lexus NX Front View Driving Lexus
2020 Lexus NX Front Angle View 1 Lexus
2020 Lexus NX Engine Lexus

Engine and Transmission

There are no options when it comes to powering your Lexus NX. Regardless of the model you choose, you will always find a 2.0-liter turbocharged four-pot under the hood, developing 235 hp and 258 lb-ft. This engine comes mated to a six-speed automatic gearbox that directs the power outputs to your choice of the front wheels only or all four wheels. The powertrain won't disappoint, so long as you don't expect your Lexus to keep up with some of the zippier Utes out there. The turbo kicks in quickly without much fuss to give the NX 300 ample acceleration from a standstill, or even when passing on the highway. You won't be winning any drag races with the NX, but it will certainly get you around town without any trouble, even when fully loaded and pulling a trailer.

The F Sport gets a slightly modified powertrain framework that offers two extra driving modes, Sport S and Sport S+. With this set-up, the throttle responses are a bit more eager, giving the F Sport the illusion of being a bit more athletic, even if its actual power ratings don't change.

  • Engine
    2.0-liter Turbo Inline-4 Gas
  • Transmission
    6-Speed Automatic
  • Drivetrains
    AWD, FWD

Handling and Driving Impressions

Luxury is the name of the game when it comes to the Lexus NX, so it naturally delivers a sublimely smooth driving experience. The suspension is a little on the firm side, though, but it still absorbs all but the most aggressive bumps without much complaint. The F Sport gets sport-tuned suspension that is stiffer still, but even that still leans more towards comfort than high-speed maneuvering. Nevertheless, the NX can handle itself on a windy road. Expect some body roll if you push the crossover's limits, but they don't come up as quickly as you might think.

The steering is well-weighted when moving at speed, while still being light and precise when slowly maneuvering around town or busy parking lots. The brakes are equally capable, although they can be a little grabby when applied in emergency situations, resulting in some alarming nosediving.

Three drive modes come standard: Normal, Eco, and Sport. The first makes no changes to the vehicle's standard operations, while the second focuses on improving fuel efficiency. Sport mode makes throttle responses more precise to improve acceleration; however, it is the Sport S+ mode exclusive to the F Sport that offers the most improvement to driving dynamics.

The Lexus NX offers some mild off-roading capabilities thanks to its available all-wheel drivetrain and lockable center differential, but the relatively low ground clearance doesn't inspire confidence over rougher terrain, so you may want to stick to the urban jungle.

NX Gas Mileage

Competing well with top rivals in the compact SUV segment, the Lexus NX gets very competitive gas mileage figures. Only a single engine is available across the range, a turbocharged four-cylinder, but it can be paired with one of two drivetrains. In its standard front-wheel-drive guise, the NX 300 gets an EPA-estimated 22/28/25 mpg across the city/highway/combined cycles. When you swap to all-wheel-drive, the combined mileage takes a hit of one mile per gallon, while the slightly heavier F Sport loses another one mile per gallon in the highway cycle with its all-wheel drivetrain. Despite its impressive fuel economy, the NX 300 does run on premium gasoline, which can push up the cost of ownership. With a full 15.9-gallon tank, the SUV can cover up to 381 miles in its most efficient configuration. The Acura RDX doesn't differ too much from the Lexus' overall figures, but the BMW X3 manages 25/29/27 mpg in FWD and 24/29/26 mpg in xDrive configuration.

  • Fuel Tank Capacity
    15.9 Gallons
  • Fuel Economy
    City/Hwy: 22/28 mpg
* 2020 Lexus NX 300 FWD

NX Interior

When you buy a Lexus, you get what you pay for. There are pricier compact crossovers on the market, but the NX 300 is remarkably well-built and appointed. Synthetic leather upholstery comes standard, with the option to upgrade to genuine leather, and you have to look pretty hard to find the odd piece of hard plastic peeking out from between all the soft-touch surfaces. Styling is as classy and refined as you'd expect from the brand, and just as much thought went into the layout of the controls. Everything is easy to reach, and power-adjustable front seats make it even easier to find the optimal seating position. There is no lack of room, although the moonroof that comes standard on the Luxury does eat a few inches of headroom, and the rear seats can feel a little claustrophobic because of the sloping roofline.

2020 Lexus NX Dashboard Lexus
2020 Lexus NX Steering Wheel Controls Lexus
2020 Lexus NX Central Console Lexus
See All 2020 Lexus NX Interior Photos

Seating and Interior Space

While it may be a compact SUV, the NX 300 is able to comfortably seat up to five passengers. The front seats supply plenty of head- and legroom, and the same is mostly true of the rear seats. Legroom is certainly not a problem, but the sloping roofline can give the illusion of less headroom than is actually available. The seats are extremely comfortable, though, offering plenty of support both up front and in the back. Every trim gets a ten-way power driver's seat as standard, while the passenger seat offers eight directions of adjustability, and the steering column now offers power tilt-and-telescoping adjustment, making it even easier for drivers to find an optimal position. The F Sport adds extra bolsters to the front seats, improving support and encouraging more spirited driving. While the Lexus NX might be pretty tall, getting in and out is extremely easy thanks to its crossover design.

  • Seating capacity
    5-seater
  • Front Leg Room 42.8 in
  • Front Head Room 38.2 in
  • Rear Leg Room 36.1 in
  • Rear Head Room 38.1 in

Interior Colors and Materials

The NX 300 and F Sport models come upholstered in NuLuxe synthetic leather as standard. The 300 gets a choice of Creme, Glazed Caramel, Black, or Rioja Red hues, all paired with Dark Umber trim. The F Sport gets its own palette that comprises Arctic White, Black, or Circuit Red Nuluxe complemented by Metallic Sport trim. Perforated leather is the standard upholstery on the Luxury trim, in either Creme or Black with Linear Black Shadow wood trim. With the shuffling of the trim levels for 2020, it is no longer possible to option on the leather upholstery to the lower trim levels, making it an exclusive to the top-tier Luxury.

NX Trunk and Cargo Space

Although passenger space is quite generous inside the NX 300, the same cannot be said for cargo capacity. With all the seats in place, the SUV only offers a relatively low 17.7 cubic feet of space in the trunk. This is certainly enough room for all your weekly groceries or the kids' school and sports bags, but other compact crossovers boast more cavernous cargo holds. But the NX can accommodate larger loads, too, if you're willing to sacrifice on passenger space. Fold down the rear seats in a 60/40 split, and you'll get access to 54.6 cubic feet of space, which is enough for small items of furniture or midsize appliances.

Small-item storage around the cabin isn't as generous as you'd find in a larger SUV, but it's not lacking either. There is a standard glove compartment up front and a modest center armrest cubby. Four door pockets are provided, but they aren't particularly large, and the front seats each offer a seatback pocket. A pair of cupholders are available to both rows of seats, and there is a handy shelf situated underneath the front dashboard.

2020 Lexus NX Driver Seat Lexus
2020 Lexus NX Gear Shifter Lexus
2020 Lexus NX Rear Angle View Lexus

NX Infotainment and Features

Features

As a luxury crossover, the Lexus NX isn't lacking in standard features. On the lower trims, NuLuxe synthetic leather comes standard, along with power-adjustable front seats (ten-way for the driver and eight-way for the passenger), a power tilt-and-telescoping steering column, adaptive cruise control, keyless entry and ignition, and dual-zone climate control. The F Sport gets a few performance-oriented add-ons such as better-bolstered front seats, paddle shifters on the steering wheel, aluminum pedals, and a G-force and turbo-boost display. The newly available Luxury trim does exactly as its name implies, upgrading to leather upholstery and adding heating and ventilation to the front seats. It also adds a power sunroof and an auto-dimming rearview mirror. The standard safety suite comprises forward collision avoidance, lane keep assist, lane departure warning, and road sign recognition. The Luxury adds blind-spot monitoring and rear cross-traffic alert, while a surround-view camera is offered as an optional add-on.

Infotainment

The standard infotainment suite on the Lexus NX comprises an eight-inch multimedia display operated via a remote touchpad. From here, users can access the Bluetooth functionality, Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, Amazon Alexa, HD Radio, and Enform Wi-Fi hotspot. This suite can be upgraded to a 10.3-inch display with built-in navigation. Similarly, the standard sound system is an eight-speaker set-up, but there are ten-speaker and 14-speaker premium sound systems available. A pair of USB ports are provided up front to supplement the 12-volt power outlets and ensure your smart devices stay charged. Despite being quite comprehensive, the infotainment suite can be a bit tricky to operate due to the finicky remote touchpad interface.

NX Problems and Reliability

J.D. Power rates the Lexus NX at 83 out of 100 for dependability, which is reflected in the SUV's perfect no-recall record since a single one in 2015. Drivers also have little to no complaints about the luxury crossover. Lexus offers buyers of a new NX a standard 50,000-mile/48-month limited warranty, while it a slightly lengthier 70,000-mile/72-month powertrain warranty. Complimentary service is available for up to 10,000 miles/12 months, while unlimited roadside assistance is provided for the first four years.

Warranty

  • Basic:
    4 Years \ 50,000 Miles
  • Drivetrain:
    6 Years \ 70,000 Miles
  • Corrosion:
    6 Years \ Unlimited Miles
  • Roadside Assistance:
    4 Years \ Unlimited Miles
  • Maintenance:
    1 Years \ 10,000 Miles

NX Safety

The Lexus NX scores extremely well in crash tests, with the NHTSA giving it an overall five-star rating, with four stars awarded for only a few of the eight tests. The IIHS is even more impressed by the NX, giving the SUV a top score of Good across the board and awarding it the Top Safety Pick+ title. These extremely high scores help the Lexus maintain an excellent reputation in the segment.

US NHTSA crash test result

  • Overall Rating
  • Frontal Barrier Crash Rating
  • Side Crash Rating
  • Rollover Rating

Key Safety Features

Every model in the NX 300 range comes standard with its fair share of safety features, including ABS, stability and traction control, and eight airbags: dual front, front knee, front side, and side curtain. For the new year, the Lexus Safety System + 2.0 has been upgraded, meaning that it now comprises forward collision avoidance with pedestrian detection, lane tracing assist, lane departure warning, road sign recognition, adaptive cruise control with radar, and automatic high beam assist. This suite is standard on every model, along with a rearview camera, rear sonar, and hill start assist. Available safety features include blind-spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic alert, rain-sensing wipers, and a surround-view camera.

Verdict: 🏁Is the 2020 Lexus NX a good SUV?

The Lexus NX certainly has a lot to recommend it, with laudable safety and reliability ratings from a variety of independent organizations. It won the IIHS Top Safety Pick+ award this year and boasts a five-star rating from the NHTSA. But safety isn't the only place the compact luxury SUV excels.

Throughout its trim levels, the NX offers a well-appointed and -designed cabin with a host of standard comfort and convenience features. It is also remarkably spacious inside, for passengers, that is. Unfortunately, the crossover does suffer from slightly sub-par trunk space. And while it may have plenty of modern features, the Lexus infotainment system feels outdated and difficult to operate. At least Android Auto is standard this year.

When it comes to driving, there is nothing to complain about. But the Lexus NX won't excite you either. Ride comfort is definitely the strong point, with the suspension easily eating up most bumps you are likely to encounter in town. However, the NX isn't all that athletic, even in its F Sport trim, so many rivals like the BMW X3 will appeal more to those who want a capable daily driver that is still fun. Nonetheless, the Lexus is certainly a good vehicle and should be on the shortlist of buyers who want a capable family SUV, although those who really need more cargo space might want to look at more generous rivals or a larger segment altogether.

🚘What's the Price of the 2020 Lexus NX?

Getting behind the wheel of a Lexus NX 300 isn't as pricey as you might think for a luxury compact SUV, with the base-level NX 300 opening bidding at $36,870. The slightly more athletic-looking F Sport increases the starting MSRP by $2,240, while the top-tier Luxury asks for an investment of $43,960. Every model gives buyers the option of equipping an all-wheel drivetrain for an additional $1,400. These prices exclude tax, registration, licensing, and the manufacturer's $1,025 destination charge.

2020 Lexus NX Models

For 2020, the Lexus NX range has been expanded to a total of three trims: the NX 300, the F Sport, and the Luxury. However, there have been no changes to the powertrain, which is still a 2.0-liter turbo-four engine mated to a six-speed automatic gearbox to deliver 235 hp and 258 lb-ft to either the front wheels only, or all four with the optional all-wheel drivetrain.

Starting things off, the NX 300 rides on 17-inch alloy wheels and comes equipped with automatic LED headlights, daytime running lights, and fog lamps. The cabin is upholstered in NuLuxe synthetic leather, with a ten-way power driver's seat and eight-way power passenger seat, and a power tilt-and-telescoping steering column. Standard features include automatic dual-zone climate control, keyless entry and ignition, and adaptive cruise control. The infotainment suite consists of an eight-inch display supporting Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, and a Wi-Fi hotspot, paired to an eight-speaker sound system. Lexus Safety System + 2.0 comes standard with forward collision avoidance, lane departure warning, lane keep assist, and road sign recognition, along with a rearview camera and rear sonar.

The F Sport upgrades to more imposing 18-inch wheels and makes a variety of exterior styling changes to give the SUV a more athletic appearance, as well as enhanced LED daytime running lights. It also gets a sport-tuned suspension, better-bolstered front seats, and steering-wheel-mounted paddle shifters. The inside looks a bit more performance-oriented with a G-force and turbo-boost display, aluminum pedals, and metallic interior trim.

The previously available Luxury package has now been added as standard on the top-tier Luxury trim, along with the Premium Package. The former adds leather upholstery, a heated steering wheel, and rain-sense wipers. The latter adds 18-inch alloy wheels, enhanced LED daytime running lights, a power moonroof, heated and ventilated front seats, an auto-dimming rearview mirror, blind-spot monitoring, and rear cross-traffic alert.

See All 2020 Lexus NX Trims and Specs

Additional Packages

Despite the standard range being expanded by an additional trim level for 2020, the Lexus NX still offers buyers a variety of ways to customize their purchase. While prices may vary depending on each trim's own standard features, the majority of packages are not restricted to any one model. The Navigation Package ($1,060 - $1,860) adds built-in navigation to the upgraded 10.3-inch display, along with voice commands, destination assist, and a ten-speaker premium sound system - upgraded to a 14-speaker Mark Levinson sound system on the Luxury. The Premium Package ($2,865 - $3,270) is still available to the lower trims, equipping them with most of the features of the top-tier model, including memory functions for the driver's seat, outside mirrors, and steering column, as well as enhanced LED daytime running lights, a power moonroof, heated and ventilated front seats, an auto-dimming rearview mirror, blind-spot monitoring, and rear cross-traffic alert. If you don't need everything in the Premium Package, you can opt for the more affordable Comfort Package ($980), which only adds heated and ventilated front seats, blind-spot monitoring with rear cross-traffic alert, and an auto-dimming rearview mirror.

🚗What Lexus NX Model Should I Buy?

With some of the changes made to the lineup for 2020, choosing the right Lexus NX for yourself is a bit trickier. The F Sport still makes the same superficial changes it made last year, so unless you really want the slightly more aggressive styling and mildly enhanced driving dynamics, we suggest skipping it, yet again. If you want a more luxurious SUV, though, you will want to look at the Luxury trim, which is now the only model that comes with genuine leather upholstery along with a host of standard features that have to be optioned on to the lower trim levels. Still, for value for money, the NX 300 is the way to go, although we do suggest throwing on the Comfort Package for a little more luxury and safety.

Check out other Lexus NX Styles

2020 Lexus NX Comparisons

Lexus RX
Lexus UX Lexus
CompetitorHorsepowerMPGPrice (MSRP)
Lexus NX235 hp22/28 mpg$36,870
Lexus RX 295 hp20/27 mpg$44,150
Lexus UX 169 hp29/37 mpg$32,300

2020 Lexus NX vs Lexus RX

The RX is the big brother to the NX, resting in the midsize luxury crossover SUV segment. Naturally, this means it bears a slightly higher price tag than the compact NX. However, the RX also gets a more capable powertrain to haul that extra weight. The V6 engine develops 295 hp and 267 lb-ft to either the front wheels or all four on the five-seater SUV. The RX is built just as well as the NX, with high-quality materials throughout the cabin. It also enjoys extremely high safety ratings. With larger dimensions than the NX, the RX is able to provide even more passenger space inside the cabin but the trunk is only 16 cubic feet. This isn't much more than the NX, though, and it's subpar for the RX's segment. With comparable tech and comfort features to the NX, and competitive fuel economy for its segment, the RX is certainly worth considering if you want the extra passenger space and engine power. However, the NX is more bang for your buck in a compact and handles and drives the way a Lexus should.

See Lexus RX Review

2020 Lexus NX vs Lexus UX

Much like the RX is the big brother, the UX is the little brother to the NX. This means it gets the weaker engine and smaller dimensions you'd expect from a subcompact. The four-cylinder doesn't get a turbocharger, so it only develops 169 hp and 151 lb-ft, so don't expect to be flying down the road anytime soon. But the NX is hardly a speed demon, either. The UX is certainly more maneuverable around town with its smaller dimensions, and it handles surprisingly well. The subcompact is just as well-appointed as its big brother, and might even be more handsome inside, although it doesn't offer as much passenger space. Where the little beast has the larger NX beat, though, is trunk space, offering a whopping 21.7 cubic feet with the rear seats up. Overall, there is a reason the Lexus UX rates so highly in our subcompact list, much higher than the NX does in its own segment. Unless your family consists of two or three extremely lanky teenagers, the UX should serve you better as a daily town driver.

See Lexus UX Review

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2020 Lexus NX Video Reviews

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$36,870 - $45,360
Price Range (MSRP)
Lexus NX