Time Stands Still: The 2021 Lexus NX 300 F SPORT
Updated: Apr 1, 2022
One of the side effects of our economic recovery is price increases. Economists go back and forth over when and how to use the word "inflation", but there's very little at the moment that costs what it did before the pandemic. So imagine what a marvel it is to find something that costs about what it did three years ago.
The 2021 Lexus NX 300 F SPORT is pretty much the same vehicle as the 2018 Lexus NX 300 F SPORT. It had been heavily refreshed that year and Lexus has wisely left it alone.
Same 235-horsepower, two-liter turbo four-cylinder. Same six-speed automatic transmission. Same EPA fuel economy average of 22 city. The highway number has bumped up one from 27 to 28.
But most incredibly---the base price of the 2018 Lexus NX 300 F SPORT was $39,775. The '21? $39,610. $165 less than three years ago. The window sticker is at the end of this review so you can see for yourself, but among the standard equipment highlights at that price are the Lexus Safety System 2.0+ suite, dual-zone automatic climate control, an eight-speaker audio system and all the F SPORT appearance pieces.
The Mark Levinson premium surround audio system is part of the extra-cost options that we'll get to in a moment, but---standard equipment includes a CD player. Yes, a CD player. Compact Disc. I haven't been keeping a list, but it's been ages since I've seen one in a test vehicle. Lexus was the last to retire cassette decks. It looks like it's calling the same play on CDs.
So, the extra-cost options---$770 for adaptive variable suspension. $800 for a panoramic view monitor. $1,515 for triple-beam LED headlamps with adaptive front lighting. $3,045 for navigation, a 10.3-inch multimedia display, an interior auto-dimming mirror with HomeLink and a 14-speaker Mark Levinson premium surround audio system. Add to that $535 for intuitive parking assist with auto braking, $550 for a power rear door with kick sensor, $2,365 for the Premium F SPORT package (moonroof, heated and ventilated front seats and memory system).
With $1,025 delivery processing and handling fee, the as-tested price of the 2021 Lexus NX 300 F SPORT is $50,215---$110 less than the bottom line for the one we tested three years ago.
A lot of car manufacturers bump the base price of their cars a little each year, whether it's justified by the rate of inflation or not. Lexus gets major points for cutting the MSRP where and when it can.