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Eric's Autos: 2018 Lexus NX300

Eric Peters on

Under the Hood

The NX's turbo four-cylinder has 235 horsepower and 258 foot-pounds of torque at 1,650 RPM and is paired with a six-speed automatic and your choice of FWD or AWD.

The FWD version gets from zero to 60 mph in 7 seconds flat; the slightly heavier AWD version clocks in at 7.2 seconds.

These are good numbers for the class, especially compared with price-equivalent rivals like the Audi Q3 -- which has a much less powerful 2.0-liter engine (200 horsepower) and takes 7.8 seconds to get to 60 mph.

The V-6-powered Acura RDX (3.5 liters, 279 horsepower) is quicker (6.2 seconds to 60 mph) but not as much as you'd expect given its much larger, much stronger engine.

The Benz GLC300 is the ripper in this class. Although its standard 2.0-liter four-cylinder isn't that much stouter -- Benz claims 241 horsepower -- the GLC somehow manages to get to 60 mph in 5.9 seconds. Some of the acceleration differential may be due to the close-ratio nine-speed automatic transmission, but the rest is likely the result of some friendly fudging of the engine's actual horsepower production. Its mileage is about the same as the others: 21 mpg city and 28 highway.

On the Road

If there's a deficit to this deal it's that the NX engine is maybe a touch too quiet, so quiet that sometimes you wonder whether it's there or whether you bought a hybrid. Lexus tacitly concedes the point, too -- by including an "active" sound-generation system that uses the stereo to make the engine's existence more noticeable.

If you buy the F Sport package, you'll get a slightly firmer ride (chiefly because of the 18-inch tires with a shorter sidewall that come with the deal) as well as sharper steering feel, but it's not a particularly aggressive package in terms of function. The aggression takes a more visual form -- an angry samurai face.

Interestingly, the less visually aggressive RX is the more functionally aggressive -- in terms of how quickly it can get to 60, at least.

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