By RUBIN VAN NIEKERK
While driving to Sabi Sands with the Lexus NX 300 F-Sport, we were delighted to get a little lost on terrible dirt roads en route to the gate. Heaps of ground clearance ensured trouble-free bundu bashing with our very capable compact premium SUV. Angular design language, with the iconic spindle grille, strong body lines and prominent contouring create a stern rear view mirror presence.
Cosmetic enhancements have freshened up the exterior appearance without altering its sporty, dynamic demeanour. Front styling refinements includes new headlamps, a bold new front grille utilising a chrome frame, altered side grille, bumper and lower bumper elements, while new LED combination lamps add some panache at the rear.
A new global strategy replaces the ‘200t’ moniker (signifying a 2,0-litre turbocharged engine) with ‘300’. The 300 badging bears reference to offering an equivalent power output to that of a 3,0-litre power plant, in order to achieve parity between the petrol and hybrid engine models’ badging convention.
The established 2,0-litre turbocharged 4-cylinder engine remains unchanged and still offers 175kW with 350Nm of torque. A twin-scroll turbocharger delivers widespread power and a refined suspension improves stability, body control and ride comfort. The Adaptive Variable Suspension on F Sport models has been upgraded to the latest iteration, as debuted on the LC premium sports coupé and we could feel the substantial improvement.
The F Sport’s spindle-grille ‘frame’ is finished off in a striking black chrome effect which ties in with the dark ‘F-mesh’ grille.
A new 10,3-inch display audio screen has enhanced graphics and clarity and the climate control panel now have fewer switches for ease of operation. Many active safety systems include Trailer Sway Control, Blind Spot Monitor and Rear Cross Traffic Alert.
As always, the standard specification level remains high, even on the entry-level E-grade.