Valid only at Wilde Lexus of Sarasota. Must present coupon at time of write-up. See your Wilde Lexus service advisor for details. Expires 6/30/15.
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Finally, there’s a Lexus sport utility vehicle that’s priced under $40,000.
The new-for-2015 Lexus NX is a compact crossover SUV, so it provides a car-like ride and is smaller than Lexus’ top-selling RX 350 mid-size SUV.
The NX also is the first Lexus with a turbocharged four-cylinder engine, which in this case produces 235 horsepower.
But a big appeal for shoppers has to be the $35,405 starting retail price for a base NX 200t, which is $6,490 less than the previous lowest-priced Lexus SUV — the RX 350, which starts at $41,715 for a base 2015 model with a 279-horsepower V-6.
Lighter than the RX, the NX higher has better fuel economy ratings. In fact, the NX tops all other non-plug-in, gasoline-electric hybrid SUVs sold in the country with its government ratings of 35 mpg in city driving and 31 mpg on the highway.
Best of all, the NX earned five out of five stars, overall, in federal government crash testing.
The $35,405 starting manufacturer’s suggested retail price, including the destination charge, is for a base, 2015 NX 200t with front-wheel drive, a turbo four-cylinder engine and six-speed automatic transmission.
The lowest starting retail price for an all-wheel drive NX 200t, including the destination charge, is $36,805.
The NX also is available as a 300h gasoline-electric hybrid, with a starting retail price of $40,645. That is $7,900 cheaper than the $41,715 retail base price for the 2015 RX 350 hybrid.
Competitors include other luxury compact crossover SUVs such as the 2015 Mercedes-Benz GLA, which starts at $32,225 and comes with a 208-horsepower, turbocharged four-cylinder engine and seven-speed automatic transmission.
The 2015 BMW X3 sDrive28i, with a starting retail price of $39,550, comes with a 240-horsepower, turbocharged four-cylinder engine and eight-speed automatic transmission.
Lexus is years behind some of its European competitors in entering the luxury compact crossover SUV market. But only the NX has the accoutrements and silky smooth and quieter-than-expected ride that are the hallmark of a Lexus. Roughness seems to be polished away, whether it’s the ride or the shifting of gears.
These qualities are mixed with some verve and sass in the NX, which is designed to attract young buyers. The NX 300h hybrid, for example, has a kickdown feature in the transmission that allows even hybrid drivers to get strong get-up-and-go when they need it, no matter what speed they are traveling.
The base, 2-liter, twin-scroll, turbocharged four-cylinder in the NX delivers 258 foot-pounds of torque starting at a low 1,650 rpm.
This is more than the 248 foot-pounds of torque that the 3.5-liter, naturally aspirated V-6 delivers at 4,700 rpm in the RX.
Too bad, though, that the transmission only has six gears when competitors offer more.
The NX comes with decent standard equipment, including dual-zone climate control, SmartAccess and push-button start, exterior door handles that illuminate, eight air bags, rearview camera, traction control and electronic stability control, three 12-volt power outlets and three drive modes — Eco, Normal and Sport.
The tester was the 300h hybrid, and with optional moonroof, heated and ventilated front seats, navigation system, blind spot monitor, rear cross traffic alert, power liftgate, leather-covered seats and other items, it topped out at $49,195.
Yes, for this price, consumers could get a non-hybrid RX 350.
But the NX, which is 5.5 inches shorter from bumper to bumper than the RX and 1.5 inches shorter in height, feels more personal-sized than the mid-size RX. It handles nimbly, slips easily into smaller parking spaces and feels light.
The NX’s five seats are positioned higher than a sedan’s and afford better views of traffic ahead, but not so high that they are hard to get into. Cargo space is also better than a sedan’s, with a maximum 54.6 cubic feet of space with the rear seats folded down.
The hybrid’s mileage ratings are realistic. The hybrid tester with 194 horsepower from the combined engine and onboard electrical hybrid system averaged an impressive 30 mpg in travel that was 60 percent at highway speeds, and the driver didn’t try to maximize fuel economy. The resulting travel range was a noteworthy 477 miles on a single, 15.9-gallon tank.
But Lexus requires costlier premium gasoline for the NX hybrid, and the battery pack is nickel metal hydride (TJ2) rather than the newer lithium-ion type.
The vehicle’s tall beltline — which is how far up the sides of the car the sheet metal goes — can take some getting used to as it makes the side windows seem smaller than expected.
Also, be sure to look around the thick window pillars at the sides of the windshield when making turns. The pillars can make it difficult to see pedestrians.
The power lift gate is a worthwhile convenience option and is priced at $400.
Last month, Toyota, which produces Lexus vehicles, announced a recall of some 3,000 NX vehicles because an actuator that controls traction control, electronic stability control and antilock brakes might not operate properly.
Nuts & Bolts
2015 Lexus NX 300h compact crossover SUV
BASE PRICE: $34,480 for base, front-wheel drive 200t; $35,880 for 200t with all-wheel drive; $36,580 for front-wheel drive 200t F Sport; $37,980 for all-wheel drive 200t F Sport; $39,720 for 300h.
PRICE AS TESTED: $49,195.
TYPE: Front-engine front-wheel drive, five-passenger, small, crossover sport utility vehicle.
ENGINE: 2.5-liter, double overhead cam, Atkinson cycle, inline four-cylinder with VVT-i mated to a nickel metal hydride battery pack.
MILEAGE: 35 mpg (city), 31 mpg (highway).
TOP SPEED: 117 mph.
LENGTH: 182.3 inches.
WHEELBASE: 104.7 inches.
CURB WEIGHT: 4,008 pounds.
BUILT AT: Japan.
DESTINATION CHARGE: $1,195.
A $69.99 Value!
Some additional charges may apply. Refrigerant extra. Valid only at Wilde Lexus of Sarasota. Plus any applicable tax, hazard or disposal fees. Subject to availability. Must present coupon at time of write-up. Not valid with any other offer or discount. May not be applied to previous purchases. No cash value. See your Wilde Lexus service advisor for details. Expires 6/30/15.
Sarasota, FL –The Van Wezel Foundation, in partnership with Wilde Lexus of Sarasota, announced that the winners of a 2015 Lexus CT 200h are Edmund and Patricia Morrissey. The chance drawing was held on March 27, 2015 at the Van Wezel Foundation’s 14th Annual Gala at the Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall.
Headliner Sarah McLachlan pulled the winning ticket after her performance. Winners Ed and Patricia Morrissey recently picked up their new Lexus at Wilde Lexus.
This year’s Gala was very successful with over 400 guests attending this special evening. Ticket sales, along with the live and silent auction, raised funds to benefit the Van Wezel Foundation. The Foundation’s mission is to the enrich the lives of members of the Gulf Coast Community, with an emphasis on children, through the performing arts while supporting the needs of the Van Wezel – the region’s premier performing arts hall.
“We are so excited about the tremendous success of this year’s Annual Gala,” said Monica Van Buskirk, President & Chief Executive Officer of the Van Wezel Foundation. “Many thanks to Wilde Lexus for partnering with us in this important fund-raiser.”
About the Van Wezel Foundation
Van Wezel Foundation operates independently of the city owned and operated Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall. Established in 1987, the Foundation is a charitable non-profit 501(c) (3) organization that has directed millions of dollars in support of the Hall’s capital improvements, programs and ongoing educational efforts.
The Van Wezel Foundation has developed the School time Performance program in which the Fund-A-Child portion provides the opportunity to over 25,000 children to come to the Hall each year. The Lexus Chance Drawing was just one more way funds are raised to provide vital funding for the Foundation.
About the Wilde Automotive Family
Celebrating 70 years of automotive excellence, the Wilde Automotive Family was founded by Harold L. Wilde, and is still a family-owned and operated business. Harold Wilde’s career began in 1945 in Michigan where he opened a two-man used vehicle sales operation. Today, the Wilde Automotive Family has grown to include 12 dealerships in Florida and Wisconsin, and more than 700 employees. In Sarasota, the Wilde Automotive Family’s enterprise includes Wilde Honda (1975) Wilde Lexus of Sarasota (1992) Wilde Jaguar of Sarasota (1997) and Wilde Maserati of Sarasota (2012). Harold Wilde’s legacy is continued under the leadership of his wife, Mary Ann, CEO, his son, Mark, president, and his daughter Tracie Pierce, director of Wilde Productions, Inc.