Lexus updates its 2018 NX compact crossover to stay competitive

With the immense popularity of crossovers (particularly of the compact variety) in the U.S., automakers are scrambling to come up with new models or update existing ones. For example, Porsche’s Cayenne SUV was its bestselling vehicle until the smaller Macan came along. Lexus kickstarted the luxury SUV segment with the RX300, and the addition of the NX compact crossover for the 2015 model year was inevitable. For 2018, the NX 200t is already getting a new name: NX 300. Other updates across the line help keep this “Nimble Crossover” (what did you think NX stood for?) viable in the ultra-competitive market.

Lexus’ Safety System+, which includes a pre-collision system, pedestrian detection, lane departure alert, lane keep assist, intelligent high-beams, and dynamic radar cruise control, is standard on all NX models. Power folding outside mirrors with integrated turn signal lights, 8-inch multimedia screen, and a larger Remote Touch Interface (RTI) are also standard.

Caviar is the new exterior color on offer, and on the inside, you can now choose from Glazed Caramel and Rioja Red. The NX 300 base model gets an updated grill and exterior chrome accents.

The suspension has been tweaked to improve turn-in response and steady-state cornering, along with an even smoother ride. Adaptive Variable Suspension, inherited from the LC 500, is now available. It offers a range of 650 instant compression and dampening adjustments. All-wheel-drive is available on the NX 300 and 300 F Sport.

A power back door with kick sensor is optional, as are a new Luxury Package with electrochromic mirrors, and an updated Comfort Package with driver and passenger heated and ventilated seats. If you want a bigger screen inside, go for the available 10.3-inch display.

The hybrid NX 300h offers electronic on-demand AWD as standard. In place of a driveshaft connected to the rear wheels, a second, independent electric motor drives the rear wheels when traction is needed. The NX 300h gets an EPA-estimated 33 mpg city, 30 mpg highway, and 31 mpg combined.

The NX 300 F Sport gets a new unique honeycomb front end and more aggressive grill, optional Hi-LED headlights, and exterior chrome treatments, and new optional 18-inch alloy wheels. The F Sport’s Active Sound Control pipes in engine noise through the speakers — a trend we’ve been seeing from a lot of manufacturers. F-Sport customers can opt for the new Circuit Red interior color.

Toyota is known for producing some of the most reliable vehicles on the road, and its Lexus luxury arm is held to the same standard. The Lexus GS made our list of the most reliable cars you can buy.

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