2021 Lexus NX Review

2021 Lexus NX - The 2021 Lexus NX 300h F Sport Black Line combines luxury, sport and high economy


Price: $46,810

Pros-Luxurious. Sporty. Fuel-stingy. Supple ride. Agile. Safety items. All-wheel drive.  

Cons-Snug cockpit. Distracting infotainment system. Rather lazy in "Econ" drive mode.

Bottom Line-A top compact luxury/sport SUV.

The compact luxury/sport 2021 Lexus NX 300h F Sport Black Line SUV seems ideal for those in congested areas because it's luxurious, sporty and easy to maneuver when parking and in heavy traffic. It is also comfortable for long vacation drives that don't involve lots of gas station stops..

This all-wheel-drive Lexus is sportier than other NX models because the F Sport Black Line special edition has items including a sport-tuned suspension, 18-inch F Sport wheels, not to mention a more aggressive-looking version of the traditional Lexus grille, heated steering wheel, aluminum pedals, black headliner, active sound control, color-keyed "overfenders," blue interior stitching on black seats and black exterior mirrors.

Styling is rather dramatic, although the extra-large Lexus grille remains controversial.

As a bonus as part of the F Sport Black Line edition, you get a two-piece designer luggage set "shipped to the address of your choice." (Car buffs may recall that the legendary 1950s Mercedes-Benz 300SL with flip-up doors (now valued at $1.3 million) had special factory luggage.

Four tall adults fit comfortably in the NX 300h, and there's room for a fifth if he or she doesn't mind the stiff rear seat center. The cargo room of my test F Sport Black Line swallowed all groceries from a large overloaded shopping cart without the rear seat backs being flipped forward to enlarge the cargo area. Wide doorways make it easy to slide in and out of the power front seats, which provide more support in curves with their F Sport bolsters. However, a slightly higher step-up is needed to enter the car.

The quiet interior has premium materials throughout. It's got a leather-trimmed wheel, push-button starter, conveniently placed manual controls, dual-zone automatic climate control, a multimedia system with an 8-inch color display, power tilt-telescopic steering column, sunroof, and a Lexus 8-speaker premium sound system with a 4.2-inch color multi-information display. Optional is a Mark Levinson 17-speaker sound system. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are standard.

The car's hybrid system combines a 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine and a high-torque electric motor for a total output of 194 horsepower. A responsive electronically controlled CVT transmission is used, and the F Sport has steering wheel paddles shifters for quick manual shifting. However, it was slightly annoying that the car didn't shift to first ("1") gear when the car was stopped in a higher gear, such as third gear ("3").  

Estimated fuel economy is 33 miles per gallon in the city and 30 on highways.  Only 87-octane fuel is required for the 14.8-gallon tank.   

The NX 300h F Sport isn't especially light at 4,180 pounds, but acceleration is good, although it gets slower if driver switches via a console control to "Eco" mode. Best to leave the car in "Normal" mode, although "Sport" mode is available for quicker acceleration and a slightly stiffer suspension. I occasionally used Sport mode because it turned what's essentially a large economy mode gauge next to the speedometer into a tachometer.
 A driver can also select "EV drive mode for electric power supplied by the hybrid battery (traction battery) and only the electric motor (traction motor)  is used to drive the car quietly, but only for very short distances of less than a mile.
My test vehicle's steering was firm and accurate, and the ride was mostly smooth and supple. However, some sharp highway bumps could be felt with the sport suspension. No jolts, though. There was minimal body lean when streaking through curves, thanks partly to the standard all-wheel drive, 18-inch wheels with fairly wide tires and a nicely designed stiffer suspension. The brake pedal had a linear action, and the car had regenerative braking and smart-stop technology.

Still and all, the focus of the NX 300h F Sport Black Line is car is more on luxury than excitement, although the special NX 300F Sport Black Line is more on luxury than on excitement.

There's plenty of safety features. They include lane tracing and road sign assists, pre-collision system with pedestrian detection, all-speed dynamic radar cruise control, lane departure alert with steering assist, a SmartAccess entry system and a blind spot monitor with rear cross traffic alert, besides a backup camera with dynamic guidelines.

A look under the hood shows a truly impressive array of beautifully arranged components that make this vehicle go.  

In fact, the whole car is impressively put together. No wonder it has a good resale value, which is an asset tor those who just want to lease it.

Dan Jedlicka

Dan Jedlicka's Website

Dan Jedlicka joined the Chicago Sun-Times in February 1968 as a business news reporter and was named auto editor later that year. He has reviewed more than 4,000 new vehicles for the Sun-Times--far more than any newspaper auto writer in the country. Jedlicka also reviewed vehicles for Microsoft Corp.'s MSN Autos Internet site from January, 1996, to June, 2008.

Jedlicka remained auto editor at the Sun-Times until October, 2008, and continued writing for the newspaper's AutoTimes section, which he started in 1992, until February, 2009. While continuing his auto writings at the Sun-Times, he served as assistant financial editor of that newspaper from 1970 to 1973, when he began his automotive column.

He has appeared on numerous radio and television shows, including NBC's "Today," ABC's "20/20" and "The CBS Evening News." He was a host, consultant and writer for Fox-TV Channel 32's 1991 New Car Preview show and that Chicago-based station's 1992, 1993, 1994 and 1995 Chicago Auto Show Previews.

Jedlicka's auto articles have been printed in national magazines, including Esquire and Harper's. His auto columns have been reprinted in U.S. government publications and economic textbooks and he is profiled in the "World's Greatest Auto Show" history book about the Chicago Auto Show. In late 1975, Jedlicka was host and technical advisor for three one-hour television specials, "Auto Test 76," which aired nationally on PBS and were the first nationally televised auto road test shows.

In 1995, Jedlicka was the recipient of the Better Business Bureau of Chicago and Northern Illinois Inc.'s Consumer Education Award, given annually to a person who has gained distinction in the field of consumer education. He received a Lifetime Achievement Award in the Media category and inducted into the Legends of Motorsports Guild at the Carquest World of wheels custom car show in Chicago in January, 2006.

Jedlicka was a member of the North American Car and Truck of the Year jury, composed of a select number of auto journalists from throughout the country, from 1995 until 2009. From 2010 to 2012, he was a member of Consumer Digest magazine's auto experts panel that gave Best Buy new vehicle recommendations.

He is a 1987 graduate of the Bob Bondurant Race Drivers School and later of the BMW "M" and Skip Barber Advanced Driving schools. He was a member of the U.S. team that participated in the 1987 1,000-mile Mille Miglia race/rally in Italy and has been a race winner at the Chicago area's Santa Fe Speedway.

Jedlicka has owned 25 classic cars, including 1950s and 1960s Ferraris and 1950s and 1960s Porsches, a 1965 Corvette, a 1967 Maserati and a 1957 Studebaker supercharged Golden Hawk. Jedlicka resides with his wife, Suzanne, in the Frank Lloyd Wright historic district of Oak Park. They have two children, James and Michele.

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