German luxury brands have been bullish on turbochargers for years, but Toyota's Lexus division has been reluctant to follow — at least until now. An all-new turbocharged four-cylinder in the NX 200t serves as the base engine in the brand's newest SUV. If you believe Brian Bolain, Lexus' corporate marketing manager, it's just the tip of the turbo iceberg.
Related: 2015 Lexus NX Starts at $35,405
Lexus has come a long way since its 1989 inception: Sixty dealerships have grown to more than 230, and the brand held the U.S. luxury-brand sales title throughout the 2000s. But it lost the crown to Mercedes-Benz in 2011 when a March earthquake and tsunami in Japan left U.S. inventory below BMW and Mercedes levels for six of the nine months that followed. Mercedes has kept the sales title ever since.
Bolain downplayed the importance of Lexus being America's top-selling luxury brand, but he did hint at a few directions it might go — specifically, more turbochargers and perhaps a replacement for the SC convertible.
Lexus released pricing for the all-new 2015 NX 200t and NX 300h compact SUVs, which go on sale in December. The NX 200t starts at $35,405, including a destination charge, or $6,490 below Lexus' larger RX 350 SUV. The NX 300h hybrid, meanwhile, starts at $40,645; that's $7,900 below the RX 450h. All prices are for models with front-wheel drive. All-wheel drive adds a modest $1,400 to the NX 200t and $1,590 to the NX 300h.
Related: 2015 Lexus NX First Drive
That puts the NX atop the starting prices for entry-luxury SUVs like the 2015 Audi Q3 ($33,425), Mercedes-Benz GLA-Class ($32,225) and BMW X1 ($31,850), but Lexus insisted at a press drive in July that the NX competes with their larger siblings — respectively, the Q5 ($39,825), GLK-Class ($38,825) and X3 ($39,450) — a group that's dimensionally closer to the NX; all prices include destination.
The Lexus NX 300h is the gas-electric hybrid version of the all-new compact luxury crossover, which also comes in gas-powered form as the NX 200t. Cars.com reviewer Kelsey Mays tested the NX 300h and counted "more hits than misses," particularly with regard to driving fun and occupant comfort. For families, he also noted "anyone with serious cargo needs should look elsewhere." In our Car Seat Check, the NX 300h had a respectable showing, earning high marks for ease of installation and well-positioned Latch anchors.
How many car seats fit in the second row? Two
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