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Anyone paying the least bit of attention to the automotive industry knows that SUVs have gained in popularity over recent years. One model that has remained a consistent leader in the field is the Lexus NX. It's a small SUV that pampers passengers with fine materials and convenient amenities. The 2021 Lexus NX drives well, has a good amount of interior space, and comes with some advanced technology.
What's New for 2021?
The Lexus NX has been around for awhile, and over its time in the market, it's gone through some pretty significant upgrades. For 2021, Lexus has mostly left the NX untouched, but there are a few updates. A new exterior color, Nori Green Pearl, is available, as is a Mark Levinson amplifier that goes with the premium Mark Levinson speakers. Blind spot monitoring and rear cross traffic monitoring have been added to the list of standard safety features, and all trims now have side mirrors that can automatically dim.
Top 10 Reasons to Buy a 2021 Lexus NX – The Pros
1. An Elegant Cabin
A lot of people will be attracted to the NX because of how upscale it feels. Inside the cabin of the lower trims of this SUV, there are seats decked out in perforated NuLuxe, which is a synthetic leather. The top trims are appropriately named the Luxury trims, and they have perforated leather seats. Heated and ventilated seats are available. All models have 10-way power-adjustable seats in the front and either a leather or perforated leather steering wheel. The more premium steering wheel comes with a heating element.
2. Hybrid or Non-Hybrid
Customers will get to choose from three non-hybrid trims and three hybrid ones. The traditional powertrains use turbocharged four-cylinder engines. These are 2.0-liter versions, and they come with 235 horsepower and over 250 pound-feet of torque. The hybrids use electric motors in combination with 2.5-liter engines that have four cylinders. The components work together to produce almost 200 horsepower.
3. All-Wheel Drive is Available
The Lexus NX isn't particularly large, and some of the competitors in its class are limited to being front-wheel-drive vehicles. Fortunately, Lexus has made all-wheel drive available in the NX and standard in the hybrid NX. This can greatly enhance traction when the roads are slippery and the tires could have trouble getting a solid grip. All-wheel drive can kick in at any moment, and the vehicle determines when it's needed. This frees the driver from having to be concerned about whether the time is right for it to be engaged.
4. Versatility is Key
A major reason why so many people feel that the NX makes sense for them is because it has a versatile cabin. With the three seatbacks in the second row in their proper positions, there is almost 18 cubic feet of storage room. Folding all of them down expands cargo capacity to nearly 55 cubic feet. With this amount of space, so many types of items can be transported. Best of all, the rear seats can recline for comfort and can come with a power-folding function.
5. F Sport is Fun
The NX F Sport trim is exciting for many reasons. It has paddle shifters, a specially tuned suspension, and front and rear performance dampers. These can all enhance the driving experience and put the SUV closer to the same level as a high-end sports car. The F Sport looks the part, too. It's the only style of Lexus NX to have black mirror caps, smoked chrome exterior accents, aluminum pedals, a black headliner, and special F Sport front seats.
6. F Sport Black Line Is More Unique
If the F Sport is already intriguing to some potential customers, then they'll be happy to hear about the F Sport Black Line Special Edition. Exclusively offered as a hybrid, this trim takes style a step further. Its seats have blue stitching that really pops, and this stitching is also found on the doors, center console, and even the floor mats. Additionally, the F Sport Black Line is the only NX to have 18-inch dark alloy wheels with a split-ten spoke design.
7. Making Life More Simple
People have a lot of responsibilities to handle, and it's always nice when some things are taken off their lists. With a NX, people don't have to worry about taking their keys out every time they go for a drive. Through the Smart Access system, keys can stay tucked away. As long as the keys are in close proximity, the driver can touch the door handle to lock (or unlock) it. The push button start couldn't be easier to engage.
The NX can have rain-sensing wipers that can turn on when appropriate, and those wipers can come with their own de-icers. There's also an available hands-free power tailgate that can be opened with the kick of one's foot underneath the sensor at the rear of the SUV.
8. Lexus Enform Technology Is Impressive
With the Enform suite of features in place, the 2021 Lexus NX can act as a Wi-Fi hotspot. The SUV has Amazon Alexa, Apple CarPlay, and Android Auto, and it can either have an eight-inch or a 10.3-inch touchscreen. Lexus Enform Dynamic Navigation is available on all trims, as is the concierge service called Enform Destination Assist. Through the Lexus app on a smartphone, people can remotely start their engines, schedule service appointments, check on fuel levels, see if the windows are up or down, and pinpoint their vehicles' locations. The industry has clearly come a long way from when having Bluetooth was a major feat.
9. Music Lovers Will Be Pleased
The Lexus NX has a high-quality sound system. Standard in the SUV is an eight-speaker system, and this can be upgraded to a ten-speaker system. Alternatively, it can be upgraded to a Mark Levinson, 835-watt audio system that comes with 14 speakers. This can really enhance how music is broadcast in the cabin.
10. A Comprehensive Safety Package
Lexus knows how to protect its passengers. Every NX model has a suite of advanced safety features. The vehicle can make gentle corrections to keep it centered in a lane, it can keep track of road signs and changing speed limits, and it can turn its high beams on or off depending on whether there are other vehicles around. Further, the NX can sense when it's approaching a vehicle or pedestrian too quickly. If this is the case, it warns the driver and can apply pressure to the brakes. A panoramic view monitor and automatic braking that can be useful while parking in tight spaces are some additional features that are available.
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Reasons Not to Buy a 2021 Lexus NX – The Cons
1. Hybrid is Less Powerful
There are several luxury brands that have committed to making more hybrids. It may come as a surprise to some people that these hybrid trims are often more powerful than their non-hybrid counterparts. Sometimes, the difference in capability can be significant. Lexus, unfortunately, has taken a different route with the NX. The hybrid NX has less power than the non-hybrid does, and it's more expensive. These are two things that don't work in its favor.
2. Mileage Could Be Improved
The front-wheel versions of the NX are estimated to earn 25 (combined) miles per gallon. Having all-wheel drive reduces this efficiency by one mile per gallon. These numbers are far from spectacular, and they don't compare with what some rivals can offer. While the hybrid NXs do better in this department, earning an estimated 31 (combined) miles per gallon, there are still many SUVs that are more efficient than the Lexus NX.
3. Back Seat Not Very Spacious
The second-row leg room in the Lexus NX may leave some passengers feeling a little uncomfortable. There is 36 inches of leg room in the back seat, and this is a few inches short of what might be ideal. However, people can definitely make do with what they have. If more than a couple people are riding in the NX together, people will just have to take turns riding in the front seats.
How it Stacks Up to the Competition:
2021 Lexus NX vs 2021 Acura RDX
Acura's RDX sits in the same niche as the NX. It's a little more expensive than the Lexus is, and it doesn't have a hybrid option. When compared to the non-hybrid NX, the RDX is a little less efficient. Plus, blind spot monitoring is missing from the Acura's base model.
2021 Lexus NX vs 2021 BMW X3
First of all, the BMW X3 is much more expensive than the NX is. This is especially true with the more premium trims. There's no dancing around the fact that this is going to be a major factor that pushes a lot of people away from the X3. The NX edges out the X3 in a few other ways, including in efficiency.
As evidenced by the many years that it's been successful in the market, the Lexus NX is a great option that has wide appeal. Its cabin has the right amount of space for a majority of consumers, and up to five people can sit together in the vehicle and enjoy all the amenities around them. Premium materials and advanced technology make the 2021 NX quite attractive, as do the available exterior and interior upgrades. Customers will appreciate having the opportunity to get a hybrid, even if it's not the most efficient model out there. This SUV has enough power to give people confidence as they head out on the roads.
• Why buy a 2020 Lexus NX? w/ pros vs cons