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  • William Maley
    William Maley

    Quick Drive: 2016 Lexus NX 200t F-Sport

      What it is like to drive Lexus' first turbo engine?

    At the end of my Lexus NX 300h review last year, I said this,

     

    “You’re better off sticking with the regular NX 200t and having that extra $5,000 going towards some options.”

     

    Recently, I had the chance to put part of that ending line to the test as a 2016 Lexus NX 200t F-Sport came in for week’s evaluation.

     

    The NX F-Sport follows the formula of other F-Sport models with a more aggressive look. Up front is a new mesh grille insert and a lower air dam to give it some aggression. Lexus has also fitted a set of 18-inch wheels to fill in the wheel wells. I have complained previously about how the F-Sport package looks ridiculous on the RX. But the on the NX, the exterior changes of the F-Sport package work.

     

    Lexus used the new NX to introduce their first turbo engine; a 2.0L turbo-four with 235 horsepower and 258 pound-feet of torque. This is paired up with a six-speed automatic and the choice of front or all-wheel drive. Our tester came with all-wheel drive. Despite what numbers say, the turbo 2.0L doesn’t feel that fast. From a stop, the engine doesn’t have the immediate rush of power that the current crop of turbo engines. You have to wait till the engine goes above 2,000 rpm before the rush happens. Not helping matters is the six-speed automatic that prioritizes fuel economy over performance. The transmission is quick to upshift, but seems somewhat hesitant to downshift when it comes to making a pass. This powertrain needed more time in the engineering department to make it a strong point, not a weak link.

     

    Aside from the exterior bits, the F-Sport package for the NX also includes a sport-tuned suspension. It does make some difference in the corners as body motions are kept in check and the vehicle changes direction very well. Disappointingly, the steering still feels rubbery. Being an F-Sport, you would think Lexus would make some improvements to steering to make it feel more natural. As for the daily grind, the F-Sport suspension will let in a few more bumps into the cabin. Road and wind noise are kept to very acceptable levels.

     

    Considering what I know now, I’m not sure that I would recommend the NX 200t. It is a better value than the hybrid and it still retains a number of items that I liked - distinctive design and well-appointed interior. But the turbo engine sours the experience as it suffers from a bad case of turbo lag. As for the F-Sport package, it sharpens up the exterior and does make the NX slightly more capable around corners. The steering needs a bit more work.

     

    If Lexus can reduce the amount of turbo lag and improve the steering, then the NX might have a fighting chance. As it stands, you’re better off looking at the Germans or the Lincoln MKC.

     

    Disclaimer: Lexus Provided the NX 200t, Insurance, and One Tank of Gas

     

     

    Year: 2016
    Make: Lexus
    Model: NX
    Trim: 200t F-Sport
    Engine: 2.0L Turbocharged DOHC 16-valve with Dual VVT-iW Four-Cylinder
    Driveline: Six-Speed Automatic, All-Wheel Drive
    Horsepower @ RPM: 235 @ 4,800 - 5,600
    Torque @ RPM: 258 @ 1,650 - 4,000
    Fuel Economy: City/Highway/Combined - 22/27/24
    Curb Weight: 4,050 lbs
    Location of Manufacture:
    Base Price: $38,365
    As Tested Price: $46,440 (Includes $940.00 Destination Charge)

     

    Options:
    Premium F-Sport Package - $2,045.00
    Navigation Package - $1,875.00
    LED Headlamps without Auto High Beams - $1,160.00
    Pre-Collision System w/All-Speed Cruise Control - $900.00
    Electrochromic (Auto-Dimming) Outer Mirrors with Blind Spot Monitoring and Rear Cross Traffic Alert, Reverse Tilt, Heated, Memory - $660.00
    Qi-Compatible Wireless Charger - $220.00
    Heated Perforated Leather-Trimmed Steering Wheel with Paddle Shifters - $150.00
    Electrochromic (Auto-Dimming) Rear View Mirror with and Lexus Homelink Garage Door Opener - $125.00

    User Feedback

    Recommended Comments

    These F Sport packages on any Lexus are a joke.  They are charing more for a mesh grille and different wheels, which probably doesn't cost any much more to make than the standard car.  Why isn't there a power bump to go with any of these F Sports?  People that buy this dressed up Toyotas are fools.  This is $46,000 for a Rav4 Turbo with leather.

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    • By William Maley
      I rarely get the opportunity to drive two different flavors of the same vehicle within a short timeframe. But that's what happened in the fall when I had the chance to drive the new Hyundai Sonata in its standard and hybrid forms. The Sonata has always been a favorite of mine as it offered a lot for a midsize sedan, with a surprising price tag. It has also come very close to being at the top of the class, but falling somewhat short due to one thing or another. This new version has the chance of changing that.
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      Where most people will stumble on the Sonata is the exterior. It is very much a love or hate it affair. Plus, some of the tech features feel more like a party trick to show to friends than something you'll use. 
      Nevertheless, I think Sonata moves up to the top of the midsize sedan pecking order. 
      But there is one more question to answer. Between the regular and hybrid versions, which one I would drive away with. The answer which surprised me is the hybrid. I found it to be a little bit more well-rounded and deliver some excellent fuel economy figures during my time.
      Alternative:
      Kia K5: Like the idea of the Hyundai Sonata, but not to sure on the design? Then the Kia K5 may be the answer. Based on the same bones as the Sonata, the K5 takes a more evolutionary approach to the design. The basic shape may remind you of the previous-generation Optima, but its the little details such as a new grille and revised rear deck lid that help it stand out. From reviews, the K5 proves to be a bit sportier. We hope to get our hands on this challenger in the near future. Disclaimer: Hyundai Provided the Sonatas, Insurance, and One Tank of Gas
      Year: 2020
      Make: Hyundai
      Model: Sonata
      Trim: Limited 1.6T
      Engine: Turbocharged 1.6L GDI DOHC 16-Valve Inline-Four
      Driveline: Eight-Speed Automatic, Front-Wheel Drive
      Horsepower @ RPM: 180 @ 5,500
      Torque @ RPM: 195 @ 1,500-4,500
      Fuel Economy: City/Highway/Combined - 27/36/31
      Curb Weight: 3,336 lbs
      Location of Manufacture: Montgomery, AL
      Base Price: $33,300
      As Tested Price: $34,365 (Includes $930.00 Destination Charge)
      Options:
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      Year: 2020
      Make: Hyundai
      Model: Sonata Hybrid
      Trim: Limited
      Engine: 2.0L GDI DOHC 16-Valve Inline-Four, Permanent Magnet Synchronous Motor
      Driveline: Six-Speed Automatic, Front-Wheel Drive
      Horsepower @ RPM: 150 @ 6,000 (gas); 51 @ 1,800 - 2,300 (electric motor); 192 (total output)
      Torque @ RPM: 139 @ 5,000 (gas); 151 @ 0 - 1,800 (electric motor)
      Fuel Economy: City/Highway/Combined - 45/51/47
      Curb Weight: 3,530 lbs
      Location of Manufacture: Asan, South Korea
      Base Price: $35,300
      As Tested Price: $36,430 (Includes $975.00 Destination Charge)
      Options: 
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    • By William Maley
      Despite being one of the best sellers in the luxury crossover class, the Lexus RX lacked something many competitors offered; a third-row option. Lexus rectified this a couple of years ago by stretching the RX's body and adding a third-row to create the RX L. I spent some time in the RX 350L Luxury back in the fall to find out if Lexus has another winner or if this a half-baked attempt.
      You can tell the difference between the standard RX to the longer L by looking for a floating roofline treatment. This is due to Lexus blacking part of the c-pillar to help disguise the added bulk. It doesn't fully work as looks somewhat half-baked. At least Lexus was more successful upfront where non F-Sport models get a new mesh insert to replace the horizontal slats, along with a revised bumper. When equipped with the Luxury Package, the RX is a plush and pleasant place to spend time. The leather upholstery feels nice to the touch and the use of contrasting colors (cream and brown in my tester) help make it feel special. Lexus has finally added a touchscreen for the RX's infotainment and it makes a huge difference. Gone are the litany of issues I have noted in previous models such as, Being precise with your finger movements when selecting an item Becoming very distracting to use when on the move Not the most intuitive controller Now using Lexus Enform or Apple CarPlay/Android Auto is not an exercise in frustration, but one of ease. My only complaint is that I wished Lexus moved the screen slightly more forwards. It is quite a reach to use the touchscreen. Those sitting in the second row will not have much to complain about as head and legroom are plentiful for most passengers. The same cannot be said for the third-row. Getting back here is difficult as there is not enough a gap when the second-row seat is moved forward. Once back here, space is non-existent with your head touching the headliner and legroom from nothing to something bearable depending on where the second-row is set. The one upside to the longer RX is cargo space. With the third-row seat folded, you get about seven extra cubic feet of space compared to standard RX. Power comes from a 3.5L V6 used in several Lexus and Toyota vehicles.  For the RX 350L, it produces 290 horsepower and 267 pound-feet of torque. My tester came with all-wheel drive, but front-wheel drive is standard. Performance is adequate as you'll be able to keep up with traffic or make a pass with no issue. Those wanting a bit more performance should look at something like the upcoming Acura MDX or Volvo XC90. Comfort is still a key hallmark to the RX. Bumps and potholes become mere ripples when driven over. There is also a noticeable lack of road and wind coming inside. The RX 350L feels like a stop-gap solution until Lexus finishes up their upcoming three-row crossover due out within the next couple of years. The third-row isn't all useful for carrying passengers and is best to fold down to expand cargo space. If you need a third-row, there are much better options such as the Volvo XC90. But if you really want an RX, stick with the standard two-row version and pocket the cash you saved for something nice. Disclaimer: Lexus Provided the RX 350L, Insurance, and One Tank of Gas
      Year: 2020
      Make: Lexus
      Model: RX
      Trim: 350L Luxury
      Engine: 3.5L DOHC 24-valve with VVT-iW V6
      Driveline: Eight-Speed Automatic, All-Wheel Drive
      Horsepower @ RPM: 290 @ 6,300
      Torque @ RPM: 263 @ 4,700
      Fuel Economy: City/Highway/Combined - 18/25/21
      Curb Weight: 4,597 lbs
      Location of Manufacture: Miyawaka, Fukuoka, Japan
      Base Price: $54,700
      As Tested Price: $63,540 (Includes $1,025.00 Destination Charge)
      Options:
      12.3" Navigation System/Mark Levinson 15-Speaker Premium Audio System - $3,365.00
      Blind Spot Monitor with Intuitive Parking Assist, Panoramic View Monitor, and Rear Cross Traffic Alert Braking - $1,865.00
      Running Boards - $640.00
      Color Head-Up Display - $600.00
      Second-Row Captain's Chairs - $405.00
      All-Weather Floor Liners with Cargo Mat - $330.00
      Cold Weather Package - $315.00
      Mudguards - $155.00
      Door Edge Guards - $140.00

      View full article
    • By William Maley
      Do you need a V8 engine in your flagship luxury sedan? That's a question I posed myself when a Genesis G90 equipped with a 5.0L V8 engine was dropped off for a week. The standard G90 with the twin-turbo V6 offers an impressive amount of performance and refinement. But the V8 offers much more power, along with some extra goodies you cannot get with the V6. 
      Since our last visit with the G90, Genesis has given a bit of a facelift. The front end prominently features a new diamond-shape. I found myself growing to like it, even if I thought it was a tad too large. But I can see this becoming a point of contention. Other changes include new wheels and a restyled rear end that makes the G90 look a bit cleaner. No changes of note for the interior. It still is very luxurious to sit in and the controls are logically laid out. The only item I'm sad not to see is the new 12.3-inch digital cluster that is found in the all-new G80 and GV80. Opting for the Ultimate means back seat passengers get their own screens mounted behind the front seats. This allows you to tap into the G90's infotainment system to play audio, check various information, and look at the navigation system. Ultimate models come with the larger 5.0L V8 producing 420 horsepower and 460 pound-feet of torque. This is paired with an eight-speed automatic and rear-wheel drive. All-wheel drive is available as an option. The V8 is a bit of a tough sell when compared to the twin-turbo 3.3L V6 as it slower off the line and not as flexible whenever you need to accelerate quickly. Both engines also are similar in terms of refinement, offer a muted engine note. The only place I found the V8 to be slightly better than the V6 was in my average fuel economy. The V8 returned 24.7 mpg, while the V6 only got 20.3 mpg. A combination of the V8 G90 being rear-wheel and not all-wheel, along with more miles being done on the highway likely contributed to the better fuel economy figures. Ride quality is still on the hallmarks of the G90. With the adaptive suspension in either SMART or Comfort, the G90 glides along any road surface with nary a bump or pothole coming inside.  Around bends, the G90 doesn't feel at home with a fair amount of body roll. There is a Sport model to help reduce this, along with adding more weight to the steering. For the as-tested price of $76,695, you are getting quite a lot of equipment. There are LED headlights, Nappa leather upholstery, three-zone climate control, 17-speaker Lexicon audio system, power sunshades, adaptive cruise control, blind spot monitoring, memory settings for seats, and much more. The only way I could recommend the G90 Ultimate is either if you're operating a livery service or just want a V8 engine no matter what. Otherwise, you'll be happy with the G90 Premium and its twin-turbo V6. That said, the current G90 is starting to show its age, especially when compared to some of the new Genesis models such as the G80 and GV80. A new model is coming down the pipeline and if the recent models are any indication, the G90 has a real shot of becoming one of the best luxury sedans. Disclaimer: Genesis Provided the G90, Insurance, and One Tank of Gas
      Year: 2020
      Make: Genesis
      Model: G90
      Trim: 5.0 Ultimate
      Engine: 5.0L GDI V8
      Driveline: Eight-Speed Automatic, Rear-Wheel Drive
      Horsepower @ RPM: 420 @ 6,000
      Torque @ RPM: 383 @ 5,000
      Fuel Economy: City/Highway/Combined - 16/24/19
      Curb Weight: 4,817 lbs
      Location of Manufacture: Ulsan, Korea
      Base Price: $75,700
      As Tested Price: $76,695 (Includes $995.00 Destination Charge)
      Options: N/A
  • Posts

    • I do not know what is happening in your neck of the woods, but Quebeckers, older Quebeckers were heavy heavy smokers.  These folk still smoke today regardless of the health warnings and the general un-cool factor that it has today unlike the status it once had.  But...older French Quebecker males DO smoke less than French women today .  Also, at least in the Montreal area, YOUNGER females smoke (and vape) far far more than the males.   I wanna know why that is?    
    • For those who endured wickedly mean nuns, it would take much more than $ 350. By the time I had some of the few who were left, they had thankfully mellowed out.
    • Enough said.  Especially with the Farrah Fawcett hair. This lady is probably of the variety that relishes, or relished, her smoke breaks outside her place of work with kindred souls.  Oh yes, this (stereo)type definitely exists.  Don't be arguing with me, folks, and throwing down that PC card.
    • I think he @ykX is equating a  'wallowy" suspension with crappy ride.  To that he aint wrong about the cars having wallowy suspensions during the time he is referencing which is from the late 1960s to the early and mid-1980s.   I aint gonna judge nobody for liking and not liking this type of ride. I dont care really what somebody's preference is for car suspensions, but there are some things that I will take exception to.  But his or anybody else's preference aint one of them.   The thing I WILL take exception to though is about calling it a crap ride as opposed to a tighter European "road hugging, stiffer suspension is that I will DEFEND the wallowy ride for these reasons: BECAUSE our NORTH AMERICAN roads and CAR CULTURE DICTATED that OUR cars RODE like we are in our living room on our sofas in COMFORT.   Our highways, to THIS day, are STRAIGHT for THOUSANDS and THOUSANDS of miles and when we USED to go on family trips from coast to coast practically, East to West or North to South and EVERYTHING in between, in European terms, many borders of many countries, 5-6 -7 countries, would be crossed. Europe is also very very mountainous, and hence their cars being smaller and because most of their roads were horse and donkey travelled, cars HAD to be tighter for turning.   American roads flattened the mountains or go right through them, but NOT travelling around the perimeter of the mountain when on one side is the mountain, the other side is a plummet to your death and you have to share the very very narrow road with cars going the opposite side.  Brakes and handling and turning radius had BETTER be tight... City driving is the same.  HUGE phoquing boulevards. Street light to street light...racing.   Is THAT a better ride over the other? Well, take a North American road trip in a small, tight suspension-ed Japanese or European car of that era and you would realize that those cars were NOT great for OUR roads AND car culture.  Id say shytty if we were truly honest about this whole thing. By contrast, traditional big American cars SUCK for Europe...for many many reasons. As many as those 1970s European and Japanese cars were for us.  High gasoline prices was probably the SOLE reason why these cars even got a foothold on our shores. Again, if we were truly honest about this whole thing...  What I have said is not a secret. I aint teaching anybody anthing knew here.  Its just sometimes, we let our biases get in the way... 
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