Two weeks ago we bought Mom a new Lexus NX. We’ve been trying to pull her out of her 2006 RX for at least 3 years but that woman loved her SUV and refused to get a new vehicle when nothing was wrong with the one she had.
It was ten years old. It didn’t have Bluetooth. I think it might have had a VHS player in the headrests and it’s entirely possible that Fred Flintstone sold it to Mom but please don’t tell her I said so.
Still, there was nothing technically wrong with the RX and in ten years the only reason to visit the dealer was for new tires and oil changes. I understand not wanting to fix what isn’t broken but I’m a fan of current safety features and it was becoming increasingly urgent to get Mom out of her Bluetoothless 2006 RX and into something new.
I contacted the folks at Lexus and asked them if Mom and I could get a fleet vehicle to try out for a bit and they promptly sent over a fully equipped NX in a dazzling shade of blue.
This is not the color for Mom but it delighted me and every time I looked at it I had the urge to upgrade the rims to something much flashier and tint the windows. Yes, I could happily go car shopping with a 17 year old boy.
I practically kicked my heels up while inspecting the arrows of daytime running lights that fling across the front of the vehicle. Everything about the exterior design of the 2016 NX delighted me. Almost everything about the interior did too. Almost.
When I brought the NX to Mom’s house I dropped it off with a little warning that she probably wouldn’t like the trackpad. I listed all the ways it was awful and how it took me three days to figure out where everything was. Mom called me the next day to tell me how much she liked it, how the trackpad was one of her favorite features. This is why reviews sometimes don’t matter. Reviews are about what a singular person enjoys and really this is no best. Cars, like most other things in life, are about what’s best for you.
Mom drove the NX around town and commented on the fact that it felt less powerful than her old car. It’s a smaller vehicle and it’s not a hybrid so there’s always a difference in feel. The 2006 RX 400h is a V6 with 4,365 pounds of curb weight and 208 hp. The 2016 NX 200t has an in-line 4-cylinder engine with 235 hp on just 3,940 pounds of curb weight. What was Mom feeling? If I go back in a time machine I find that the team at Truck Trend drove the 2006 RXh and noted:
While the rear electric motor generates 96 pound-feet of torque, a 6x gear reduction boosts rear-wheel torque to an impressive 650 pound-feet.
Perhaps that’s the difference she was feeling? I really can’t comment as I hadn’t driven her RX any time in recent history.
I think the problem that people have with the NX versus the RX is that they’re looking at the NX as a smaller version of the RX. The NX is no more a smaller version of the RX than the RX is a smaller version of the GX. They’re all different vehicles meant for different phases of life. They’re built on different platforms with different engines, interiors and features. If you’re looking for a CUV like the NX you’re unlikely to want a refrigerated compartment like the LX used to offer.
In addition to some much needed safety upgrades like a functioning Bluetooth and lane assist the NX freed up space in the garage. They’d moved from a house with a garage the size of Texas to a part of town with no street parking and a garage the size of a moving box. Interestingly the NX is an inch wider than the old RX but it saves 5 full inches in length and that’s the difference between parking comfortably and anxiously.
Mostly though, the 2016 Lexus NX has the pleasant drive that Lexus is known for. Mom has asked to drive the turbo and we told her to skip it. They already have an Audi SQ5 which she really doesn’t enjoy because of the stiff ride. If you’re going for comfort and you’re looking for a capsule that will soundlessly propel you around town the NX is a fantastic option, no turbo needed.
Understand that I’ve been trying to get Mom out of her car for the past three years. I’ve offered no less than 103 times to go to the dealership with her and get her a car. I offered to make the entire purchase for her and she could stay home and pretend it wasn’t happening. I had Lexus’s press fleet department send her a car to drive. I worked hard to get her out of a ten year old car that admittedly wasn’t broken but certainly was past it’s prime. Now the question is this: how am I going to get her out of the NX in 2026?