Lexus might be late to the premium compact ute party, but they’re making one hell of an entrance. The NX 200t busts in with some crazy duds. In lieu of the classic lamp shade on the head, it’s got a big black one on its nose.

The NX 200t is a riot of show car angles and ginsu-sharp creases, all dominated by a huge “spindle” grill that not only looks like it could ingest all competitors, it seems in danger of swallowing itself.

We must give Lexus points for bravery.

True story. While approaching the NX 200t with a group of friends in an underground parking lot, one glances at the front corner says “Ooh. Somebody hit your car.” I assured her it is supposed to look like that.

“This is Lexus’ new design language.”
“Well, go big or go home.” She said.

Precisely. Whether you think the NX looks cool or OTT, bold or bonkers, we must give Lexus points for bravery.

The 2016 200t starts at $41,950 and runs with a 2.0L aluminum block turbocharged and intercooled four banger featuring both port and direct injection. This is Lexus’ first turbocharged engine and it makes 235 hp and 258 lb-ft at 1,650 rpm, which lines up favourably with similar engines from Mercedes, BMW, Audi and Ford. It mated to a new six-speed automatic transmission. All-wheel-drive is standard.

Here we’re looking at the F Sport model, and this particular designation adds a hefty $12,250 to the bottom line. In the world of Lexus, F Sport points to performance, and while in the NX’s case there’s no extra power, the ute does benefit from a sport tuned suspension with adaptive variable dampers, shift paddles, higher effort steering, specific 18-inch alloys and terrific F Sport front seats.

Regarding the rest of the goodies this F Sport package bestows, the list is long. For safety we get blind spot warning, front and rear parking assist, rear cross traffic alert, lane departure assist, adaptive cruise, full LED lighting, pre-collision system, rain sensing wipers, heated steering wheel, head up display and auto dim exterior mirrors. Convenience features include navigation, upgraded audio, wireless phone charging, 120V outlet, auto leveling system, power lift gate, driver’s seat memory, mirror memory, G meter, sunroof and a host of F Sport trim bits.

Short of ventilated seats, your $54,200 nets the full complement of kit expected in this class of vehicle. Most customers will consider the F Sport package necessary, as without it the spec is pretty barren.