2021 Lexus NX

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2021 Lexus NX Review: Refined Practicality

The luxury SUV market is wildly competitive, and the majority of car manufacturers are competing for a slice of this lucrative pie. Lexus is one of the more established brands in this corner of the market, and its Lexus NX has been around for some time. The 2021 model retains the 2.0-liter turbocharged engine found in previous year's models and produces 235 horsepower and 258 lb-ft of torque. Thy Hybrid NX is powered by a combination of an Atkinson cycle 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine and three electric motors, which totals 194 hp. The NX offers a truly luxurious experience at a competitive price but faces stiff competition in Japanese rivals such as the Acura RDX and German class leaders like the BMW X3. Our Lexus NX review aims to uncover whether the SUV can still compete with these accomplished rivals.

Read in this review:

  • Exterior Design 7 /10
  • Performance 6 /10
  • Fuel Economy 7 /10
  • Interior & Cargo 7 /10
  • Infotainment & Features 6 /10
  • Reliability 10 /10
  • Safety 9 /10
  • Value For Money 9 /10
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2021 Lexus NX Changes: What’s The Difference vs The 2020 Lexus NX?

The Lexus RX SUV in its current form has been with us for quite some time, and Lexus continues to improve on its offering in 2021 by adding a few new standard features such as blind-spot monitoring with rear cross-traffic alert, auto-dimming power-folding exterior mirrors, an updated low profile wiper blade design, and a new steering wheel and tachometer design. Lexus also added a new color option for 2021 called Nori Green Pearl. Finally, an upgraded amplifier for the Mark Levinson sound system is now available.

Pros and Cons

  • Cool-looking exterior
  • Styling and spacious interior
  • Well-insulated cabin
  • Good reliability
  • Fussy infotainment system
  • Not particularly quick
  • Small cargo area

What's the Price of the Lexus NX?

Pricing for the 2021 Lexus NX is competitive when you look at other offerings from brands such as Acura and BMW. The base price for a new NX starts at $37,610 MSRP and increases to $39,70 for the F Sport. The top-tier Luxury is a bit pricier at $44,060. Swapping out the FWD for the AWD setup on any of these trims adds $1,400 to the bill. The Hybrid range starts at $40,160 and goes up to $46,610 for the Luxury AWD model. The NX 300h F Sport AWD Black Line Special Edition will cost you $46,910. The Lexus NX price will exceed $50,000 when it is fully loaded with options. These prices all exclude a destination charge in the US of $1,025.

Best Deals on 2021 Lexus NX

2021 Lexus NX Trims

See trim levels and configurations:

Trim Engine Transmission Drivetrain Price (MSRP)
NX 300
2.0L Turbo Inline-4 Gas
6-Speed Automatic
Front-Wheel Drive
All-Wheel Drive
2.0L Turbo Inline-4 Gas
6-Speed Automatic
Front-Wheel Drive
All-Wheel Drive
NX 300h
2.5L Inline-4 Hybrid
Continuously Variable Automatic (CVT)
All-Wheel Drive
NX 300 Luxury
2.0L Turbo Inline-4 Gas
6-Speed Automatic
Front-Wheel Drive
All-Wheel Drive
NX 300h Luxury
2.5L Inline-4 Hybrid
Continuously Variable Automatic (CVT)
All-Wheel Drive
See All 2021 Lexus NX Trims and Specs

Handling and Driving Impressions

It's all about luxury here. The Lexus NX is a refined machine that is well insulated from the outside world, giving it a genuinely polished feel on the road. As with competitors such as the BMW X3 and Acura RDX, the suspension setup strikes a balance between sedan-like sportiness and comfort, with the latter taking preference. Over rough road surfaces, the NX does a fair job of soaking up bumps, but there's still an element of regular sedan stiffness in there. The NX carries itself with dignity around the bends, but body roll is unavoidable, and the car will eventually push into understeer despite a good initial turn-in response. The F Sport model gets a tuned sport suspension, but even in this configuration, the NX feels more like a luxury cruiser than a Urus ripoff. The AWD version can be taken off-road, thanks to a lockable center differential, but don't get too carried away. The low ground clearance will see you end up like a beached whale on even the mildest breakovers.

Verdict: Is the 2021 Lexus NX A Good car?

Lexus has been a big player in the luxury SUV game for a long time and knows how to throw a good product together. Despite showing its age in some respects, the NX remains a competitive offering in a part of the market that is only getting more competitive with the passing years. The NX is a stylish vehicle that looks good from the outside and offers a generous amount of luxury features, even in base form. Under the hood, the turbocharged 2.0-liter four-pot does a fine job of moving the NX around, and while rivals such as the BMW X3 are quicker, there's still enough power to get the job done. On the road, the NX is a capable cruiser, and most will find it extremely comfortable to pilot around daily. The interior is elegant and functional, and quality materials are used throughout; we only wished that the infotainment touchpad controller was a bit more intuitive. Interior space is good, but headroom can get tight in the rear, and unfortunately, the cargo space on offer is extremely disappointing. The NX's final unique selling point is the fact that it is one of the safest cars in its class, thanks to an IIHS Top Safety Pick + award. It's definitely a purchase you're unlikely to regret.

What 2021 Lexus NX Model Should I Buy?

The beauty of buying a 2021 Lexus NX is the fact that no matter what trim level you go for, you're basically guaranteed a luxurious and refined time. The base model is a bargain, and with a few added packages, can be turned into an absolute luxury steal. The F Sport might be on the superficial side, but it is available in that striking blue paint that we love so much. For the true ballers out there, only the Luxury will do. There's something for everyone here, but we would recommend going for the base model and adding a few select options to bring it up to your requirements. Depending on how much emphasis you put on aspects like value, appearance, and luxury, there is an NX to suit you.

Check out other Lexus NX Styles

2021 Lexus NX Comparisons

Lexus RX CarBuzz
Acura RDX CarBuzz

2021 Lexus NX vs Lexus RX

The RX slots in above the NX in Lexus' range of luxury SUVs and competes in the midsize crossover segment. This bigger and more expensive SUV gets powered by a bigger, more powerful engine in the form of a naturally-aspirated V6 that produces 295 hp and 268 lb-ft, which it sends to either the front or all four wheels via an eight-speed automatic transmission. These cars share a similar exterior design, but the difference in size is notable from the outside. On the road, the RX is naturally less nimble but still offers an excellent ride and silky smooth V6 performance. Inside, the same quality presides over the cabin, and feature levels are impressive. There's more passenger space as well, but its cargo space behind the second row is surprisingly even worse than the NX. These two cars feel similar in spirit, but the NX is the nimbler car and cheaper as well. If you need the extra passenger space, go for the RX, otherwise, we'd stick with the smaller but more charismatic NX.

See Lexus RX Review

2021 Lexus NX vs Acura RDX

The Acura RDX is one of the NX's closest rivals in terms of pricing and performance. This Japanese luxury SUV follows the same principles as the NX: edgy styling, a comfortable driving style, and small-capacity turbo power. Under the hood of the RDX, you'll find a turbocharged 2.0-liter engine with healthy specs of 272 hp and 280 lb-ft of torque. Power is sent to the front or all four wheels via a ten-speed automatic transmission. The RDX feels quicker in every gear and will outsprint the NX to 60 mph. It's also more fun to drive but is just as comfortable. The interior of the RDX offers more front legroom, superior rear legroom and dominates in terms of trunk and cargo space. The interior design is more contemporary but we prefer the classy look of the Lexus, although the RDX does come with a lot of standard features. The RDX will appeal to the young at heart, while the Lexus will draw those looking for a more restrained and classy experience.

See Acura RDX Review

2021 Lexus NX Popular Comparisons

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