User Manual: 2015-2021 Lexus NX

5 Tips for Finding a Top-notch Example of a Used Lexus NX

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Powered by Lexus’ first-ever turbocharged engine, the NX hit the scene for the 2015 model year, debuting with models such as the NX 200t and NX 300h as conventional hybrid-powered variants.

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With turbocharged four-cylinder or four-cylinder hybrid power, the NX’s powertrain selection helps meet any shopper’s desired combination of powerful performance and fuel efficiency.

Shoppers can expect the hybrid to use about 2.5 liters less fuel per 100 kilometers driven than the more powerful turbocharged engine.

The NX 200t, with a 2.0-liter turbo, delivers 235 horsepower and 258 pound-feet of torque, and comes mated to a six-speed automatic transmission. The NX 300h’s 2.5-liter hybrid engine generates 194 horsepower and 152 pound-feet.

Look out for automatic transmissions and all-wheel drive (AWD) across both models, as well as optional equipment packages for features like a 10-speaker audio system, a head-up display, lane keep assist, backup sensors, voice-activated navigation and more. If you’re after something sporty, consider the F-Sport-equipped model, which offers sport suspension, LED fog lights, unique grille and wheels, available adaptive suspension, and more.

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Among the main competitors are machines such as the VVolvo XC40 Audi Q3 Acura RDX, Jaguar E-Pace and Infiniti QX50.

Check out related links and stories for more Lexus NX reviews, news, specs and other information, and read on for five tips to help make sure you find the best Lexus NX you can use for your dollar.

2018 Lexus NX 300
2018 Lexus NX 300 Photography by Peter Blakeney

Tip 1: Which model is better

Which Lexus NX Model Is Right For You? With the power of a four-cylinder turbocharger, expect stronger performance and a more exciting engine, at the price of the potential for higher insurance premiums and higher fuel costs.

The hybrid powered model is a smart choice for many shoppers, thanks to its fuel-efficient engine and the potential for higher resale value on used hybrids in the future, as fuel prices continue to rise.

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If it’s within your budget, a 2018 or newer unit may be best, since new interior and exterior details, a new connected car system, revised suspension and content of increased standard safety features were all brought online that year to add even more value.

2018 Lexus NX 300
2018 Lexus NX 300 Photography by Peter Blakeney

Tip 2: Check the infotainment system

Infotainment system issues are one of the most commonly reported problems of all modern vehicles, so be sure to check the system carefully in any used Lexus NX you’re considering.

Check outdated maps, sufficient number of USB charging ports, proper functionality of all buttons, menus, remote controls and other functions, and make sure connection confirmation and proper sound quality for both Bluetooth phone calls and audio streaming before purchasing.

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Inspect the screen carefully for signs of peeling, bubbles or other damage, reported by a few owners.

Find 2018 model year Apple CarPlay and model year 2020 Android Auto jobs.

Note that running a new, healthy battery, and the latest software updates, can make the NX’s infotainment system more reliable.

2018 Lexus NX 300
2018 Lexus NX 300 Photography by Peter Blakeney

Tip 3: Other interfaces and controls

Some owners complained about the sometimes nonfunctional steering wheel controls, stereo volume controls, and touch controls. Most of them did not.

During test driving, check the proper functions of all driver-accessible front controls three times, paying close attention to these areas. Note that a center display that freezes, shuts itself down, or even intermittently displays the backup camera image while driving forward are other signs of a rare but expensive problem, which may require replacing electronics and hardware to fix.

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Make sure you can adjust the displayed information, and the brightness, for the instrument cluster computer as well.

If there is a problem with the main controls, interfaces, or displays of the user NX you’re considering, you’ll want to know about it before you buy. Have a dealer technician investigate if you have any concerns before signing a check.

2018 Lexus NX300h
2018 Lexus NX300h Photography by Peter Blakeney

Tip 4: The sound of commentary and rattles

Some owners have reported issues with unwanted noise from Lexus NXs in certain situations. Most of them did not.

On your test drive, visit a bumpy road, cool down the cabin, and listen closely to a clicking, clicking or popping sound, perhaps coming from just under your feet or somewhere under the rear of the vehicle.

Unwanted sounds can indicate that attention may be needed to one or more suspension components, while a lighter “plastic on metal” or clicking sound may be a sign that one or more lower plastic clips need to be replaced. Noises like this can sometimes be a sign of a more serious problem so before buying, be sure to have a technician investigate if you notice anything of concern.

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Interior squeaks and rattles are among the most common annoyances reported by the owners community, so be on the lookout to make sure the ride quality of the NX you’re considering lives up to your standards.

2018 Lexus NX300h
2018 Lexus NX300h Photography by Peter Blakeney

Tip 5: Vacuum regulator valve

Some owners have reported a problem with the vacuum regulator valve on their 2-liter turbocharged engine.

This valve helps control the operation of the engine’s turbocharger and, if faulty, can cause a spike or “vibrate” sensation in the NX power delivery while the accelerator is steadily depressed, as well as unwanted engine noise (including whistling or hums or buzzing) and low power output.

During test driving, ensure the turbo engine accelerates smoothly at light throttle from a variety of different speeds, and that the power delivery is smooth and satisfying, not lumpy and inconsistent.

Many owners have replaced defective vacuum regulator valves under warranty, and report a much better engine with new parts installed. This problem seems to be more common with earlier units from 2015 and 2016 models.

2018 Lexus NX 300
2018 Lexus NX 300 Photography by Peter Blakeney

Final thought

These tips are designed to help test drive shoppers more easily identify potential problem areas reported by some owners. An attentive driving test and shopping process focused on the above areas can help you find a top-notch example of a used Lexus NX.


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