2015 Lexus NX Comfort & Quality

8.0
Comfort & Quality

The 2015 Lexus NX offers a comfortable and relatively spacious interior for a compact crossover, along with plenty of luxury features and options. The front seats are comfortable, and the sport seats in the optional F-Sport package are even better, with substantial bolsters that feel like those in a sport sedan, rather than a crossover utility vehicle.

The front seating position isn't as high in the Lexus NX as in some other compact crossovers, giving it a more car-like feel and increasing headroom. The rear seats have decent legroom, though we found both cushions slightly flat compared to the bolstered front seats. The optional power folding rear seat also includes individually adjustable backrests, however, which lets each of two rear occupants alter the seat angle to their liking. One surprising design aspect was that the roof pillar just behind the rear door angles forward enough that taller rear-seat passengers have to crane forward to see out the rear window.

The 2015 Lexus NX is mostly quiet, offers a flexible and relatively spacious interior, and seems well built.

We were impressed by the amount of storage space in the NX cabin, from door pockets through a large glove box to an even larger storage box inside the center console armrest. It's got cargo trays and compartments, cupholders galore, and a sunglasses holder with a removable cover with a mirror inside--so you can check to make sure those expensive shades are positioned just right, presumably.

The long, low cargo area reflects a basic platform adapted from the high-volume Toyota RAV4, with that vehicle's practicality--though the sloping rear tailgate may prove challenging for large, rectangular boxes or other bulky items. That said, the cargo volume of 17.7 cubic feet with the rear seat up and 54.6 cu ft with it folded down is among the lowest in the segment. Rather than a conventional vinyl cargo cover that rolls up to retract, the NX has a folding two-piece "tonneau board" to eliminate the gaps at either side. It looks dressier, but stowing it in the custom compartment under the load floor requires the cargo bay to be empty--which isn't always the case.

The NX proved to be very quiet on most roads, and the hybrid model is particularly good at suppressing engine howl, the Achilles' Heel of that powertrain. But in driving several pre-production prototypes, we experienced unexpected tire noise on a few coarse road surfaces. All the test vehicles we drove were fitted with optional 18-inch alloy wheels and tires. There's a chance that the road noise we experienced on some surfaces might be lessened with taller tires, but we weren't able to test the standard 17-inch wheels and tires on a base NX 200t.

We enjoyed one feature of the F-Sport package, the active sound control that will amplify the engine note through the cabin when a roller switch on the lower center stack is engaged. Whether off or fully on, the sound is perfectly natural--but adding some engine noise makes the NX feel sportier if you're on nice curving mountain roads, even if it doesn't change the performance characteristics at all. If you have teens in the house, however, we suggest leaving it off.

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