Lexus NX VS Jaguar F-Pace
- Great engines
- New interior
- Window switches relocated
- No plug-in hybrid
- Wireless charging standard only on SVR
- Safety tech could be more up-to-date
It’s only taken nearly 15 years, but Lexus has become a fully accepted prestige brand in Australia – it outsells Jaguar, Alfa Romeo, Mini, Porsche and Peugeot. And the NX mid-sized SUV is far and away the most popular Lexus model.
Read on to find out what I found out.
Read More: Lexus NX 2018 review
Read More: Lexus NX Sports Luxury 2018 review: snapshot
Read More: Lexus NX F Sport 2018 review: snapshot
Read More: Lexus NX Luxury 2018 review: snapshot
Read More: Lexus NX 300 F Sport AWD 2018 review
|Fuel Type||Hybrid with Regular Unleaded|
Jaguar has announced that by 2025 it will only make and sell electric vehicles. That’s less than four years away and means the F-Pace you’re thinking about buying could be the last Jaguar with an actual engine that you ever own. Heck, it could be the last car with an engine you ever own.
Let’s help you pick the right one then, because Jaguar’s just called last drinks.
|Engine Type||2.0L turbo|
|Fuel Type||Premium Unleaded Petrol|
The standard of the SUVs in the mid-sized premium segment is so high – high in terms of features and tech, high for practicality and comfort, but also high for the way they drive, and this is an area in which the Lexus NX300h F Sport falls short. At the same time, apart from the much pricier Volvo XC60 T8, it’s the only hybrid among its rivals and the fuel saving is not to be dismissed. Still this is a premium good-looking package at a great price.
Would you choose a Lexus NX300 over, say, a BMW X3, Mercedes Benz GLC or Volvo XC60? Tell us what you think in the comments below.
The F-Pace has been gifted new styling, new engines and more practicality making it an even better SUV than it already was. You could seriously pick any of the grades and be happy with your purchase. Then there’s the question of the engine…
Jaguar says there’s a few more years left in the combustion engine yet, but we know exactly how many years – four, because the company has gone on the record announcing it will go fully electric by 2025. The question for you is – how will you ring out the end of an era – with a four-cylinder petrol, a six-cylinder turbo diesel, an inline turbo six petrol or a cracking V8?
The sweetspot in the range is the R-Dynamic SE 400, with just enough luxury and more than enough grunt.
You’d be fibbing if you thought there wasn’t anything interesting about the design of the NX300h F Sport. Whether you think it’s good looking is another thing altogether, but I happen to reckon it is. I do like that Darth Vader grille, those LED headlights, the side profile and even the back with its egg-splat style tail-lights (very Toyota though).
The F Sport grade brings that expensive cheese-grater-made-of-Onyx-look to the grille, angry looking bumpers, LED indicators that light up in the direction you’re turning, and 18-inch alloys with a smokey-looking finish.
The only outward indication this is a hybrid is the badging.
The NX300h F Sport’s insides go beyond interesting into the realm of intriguing, with that enormous centre console that will make any front seat hankypanky impossible, to the dash puckered with switches and buttons, then there’s that layered trim: a combo of leather and a fish-scale looking material, there’s the F Sport steering wheel, F Sport pedals and scuff plates and F Sport seats.
There are things that confuse me like the tiny padded pull out mirror near the centre console, things that seem out of place like an analogue clock in a high-tech cabin, and things that annoy me like the seat position memory buttons that hide under the armrest in the door and can’t been seen or reached properly unless the door is open.
The NX300h F-Sport’s dimensions show it to be 4640mm long, 1645mm tall and 1845mm wide (not including the mirrors).
The very first F-Pace arrived in Australia in 2016 and even after all these years and the arrival of more rivals I still think it’s the most beautiful SUV in its class. The new one seems to look a lot like the old one, but the styling updates have kept it cool.
If you want to see instantly how the design of the F-Pace has evolved from the original to the new one, be sure to watch my video above.
Short story is, this new F-Pace has been given a pretty major styling overhaul inside and out.
Gone is the old F-Pace’s plastic beak. That sounds weird but the previous F-Pace’s bonnet stopped short of the grille and a nose cone had been fitted to cover the rest of the distance. Now the new bonnet meets a larger, wider grille and its flow from the windscreen down isn’t disturbed by a large join line.
Also more pleasing to the eyes is the badge on the grille. The snarling jaguar head is now larger and no longer mounted on a terrible looking large plastic plate. The plate was for the adaptive cruise control radar sensor, but by making the Jaguar badge bigger, the plate was able to be house in the badge itself.
The headlights are slimmer, and the tail-lights have a new design which looks futuristic, but I miss the styling of the previous ones and the way they dipped into the tailgate.
Inside, the cabin has been made over with a giant landscape screen, new chunky climate control dials, a new steering wheel and the rotary shifter has been replaced by a regular upright one which is still small and compact, with cricket ball stitching. Again, take a look at the video I’ve made to see the transformation for yourself.
While all F-Paces have a similar look, the SVR is the high-performance member of the family and stands out with its giant 22-inch wheels, a tough body kit, quad tailpipes, a fixed SVR rear wing, and bonnet and fender vents.
For this update the SVR has been given a new front bumper and larger cooling vents flanking the grille. But it’s more than just tough looks, the aerodynamics have been revised to decrease lift by 35 per cent, too.
What hasn’t changed are the dimensions. The F-Pace is a mid-sized SUV measuring 4747mm end to end, standing 1664mm tall and with the mirrors out is 2175mm wide. That’s not huge, but make sure it’ll fit in your garage.
Well, it’s snug inside the NX300h F-Sport. That beefy centre console means room is tight in the footwell for the driver, especially with the foot-operated park brake. Meanwhile in the back seat my legs touch the seat-back when I sit behind my driving position (I am tall at 191cm, though), but headroom even with the optional sunroof (or moonroof, as Lexus calls it) is good.
Two cupholders up front, two in the back and bottle holders in all the doors, storage space inside is excellent – particularly the centre console storage bin which is deep and wide, has two USB ports and the Qi charging pad. There is no Apple CarPlay or Android Auto, and that media controller is challenging to use.
The F-Pace was always practical with a big 509-litre boot and great rear leg and head room for even me at 191cm tall, but the cabin re-design has added better storage and usability.
The door pockets are larger, there’s a covered area under the floating centre console and in a victory for common sense and practicality the window switches have been relocated from the window sills to the armrests.
This is along with a deep centre console storage area, and two cupholders in the front and another two in the rear fold-down armrest.
Parents will be happy to know that all F-Paces come with directional air vents in the second row as well. And there are ISOFIX outboard child-seat anchors and three top-tether restraints, too.
Price and features
Guess what? You’ve saved a few thousand already by not buying this car this time last year. That’s because NX300h F Sport was previously only offered in all-wheel drive, but the added two-wheel drive version gives you a lower entry point into the F Sport grade, at $63,300.
So, while the all-wheel drive version still exists - and costs $67,800 - this front-wheeler gets all the same features for less moolah.
Coming standard is a 10.3-inch display with sat nav and 360-degree camera, 10-speaker stereo with digital radio and CD player. There’s also a wireless phone charger, 10-way power adjustable seats (heated and cooled), paddle shifters, power tailgate and proximity unlocking.
The mouse pad-style controller for the screen is so hard to use I avoided it whenever possible, it’s something Lexus must change… please.
But please don't change the little valet kit which is stored in the boot - see the images.
Our test car was fitted with the Enhancement Pack 2 which costs $6000 and adds a moonroof, 14-speaker Mark Levinson audio, and head-up display. The premium paint (Sonic Quartz) costs $1500.
As for how the features and price compares with its rivals, well there aren’t any other hybrid mid-sized luxury SUV competitors to list, only combustion-engine ones such as the $70,900 Mercedes-Benz GLC 220d, the BMW X3 xDrive 20d for $68,900, an Audi Q5 2.0TDI for $65,900 or the Volvo XC60 D4 Momentum for $59,990. Notice how I chose diesels - there are petrol equivalents of those, too. But if you've got 50 per cent more budget, you could look at the pricey Volvo XC60 T8 plug-in hybrid.
At the time of writing Lexus was offering a driveaway price of $64,673 on the NX300h 2WD.
There’s a Jaguar F-Pace for every budget as long as your budget is somewhere in between $80K and $150K. That’s quite a large range in price.
Now, I’m about to take you through the grade names and I need to warn you that it’s going to be messy and confusing a little bit like white water rafting, but not as wet. Life jacket on?
There are four grades: the S, SE, HSE and top-of-the-range SVR.
They all come standard with the R-Dynamic pack.
There are four engines: the P250, D300, P400 and P550. I’ll explain what this means in the engine section down below, but all you need to know is 'D' stands for diesel and 'P' for petrol and the higher the number the more grunt it has.
The S grade only comes with the P250. The SE comes with a choice of P250, D300 or P400. The HSE only comes with the P400 and the SVR has exclusive rights to the P550.
Following all this? Great.
So, the entry grade is officially called the R-Dynamic S P250 and it lists for $76,244 (all prices listed are MSRP - before on-road costs). Above this is the R-Dynamic SE P250 and it lists for $80,854, then there’s the R-Dynamic SE D300 for $96,194 and the R-Dynamic SE P400 for $98,654.
Almost there, you’re doing super.
The R-Dynamic HSE P400 lists for $110,404 and at the top is King F-Pace – the SVR with the P550 listing for $142,294.
There you are, wasn’t so bad was it?
Coming standard from the base grade up is the new 11.4-inch touchscreen, sat nav, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, there’s keyless entry, push-button start, dual-zone climate, power adjustable front seats, leather upholstery, LED headlights and tail-lights, and an auto tailgate.
The entry-level S and the SE above it come with a six-speaker stereo, but as you step into the HSE and SVR more standard features appear such as a 13-speaker Meridian sound system, plus heated and ventilated front seats. A fully digital instrument cluster is standard on all grades apart from the entry S.
The options list is extensive and includes a head-up display ($1960), wireless charging ($455), and an Activity Key ($403) which looks like an iWatch that locks and unlocks the F-Pace.
Paint prices? Narvik Black and Fuji White are standard at no extra cost for the S, SE and HSE. The SVR has its own standard palette and includes Santorini Black, Yulonhg White, Firenze Red, Bluefire Blue and Hakuba Silver. If you don’t have the SVR but want these colours it’ll be $1890, thank you.
Engine & trans
The NX300h F-Sport is a petrol-electric hybrid, but not the plug-in kind – there’s no charging port, just batteries which are recharging through regenerative braking.
The engine is a 2.5-litre four-cylinder petrol which makes 114kW and 147Nm. The electric motor is a 105kW/270Nm unit.
Let’s not forget we are reviewing the front-wheel drive version of the NX300h F-Sport. There’s an AWD version, too.
The transmission is an automatic - a continuously variable transmission (CVT), and I’m not a fan of them - but the Toyota/Lexus versions seem to be the better ones.
Jaguar’s engine names sound like forms you have to fill in when you apply for a home loan.
The P250 is a 2.0-litre four-cylinder turbo petrol engine making 184kW and 365Nm; the D300 is a 3.0-litre six-cylinder turbo diesel producing 221kW and 650Nm; while the P400 is a 3.0-litre six-cylinder turbo petrol with outputs of 294kW and 550Nm.
The P550 is a supercharged 5.0-litre V8 producing a colossal 405kW and 700Nm.
The SE grade gives you the choice of the P250, D300 and P400, while the S only comes with the P250 and the SVR of course is powered only by the P550.
The D300 and D400 are new engines, both are straight sixes and replace the V6 engines in the old F-Pace. Superb engines, they are also found in the Defender and Range Rover.
Jaguar calls the D300 and P400 mild hybrids, but don’t be misled by the terminology. These engines are not hybrids in the sense that an electric motor is working to drive the wheels along with a combustion engine. Instead, a mild hybrid uses a 48-volt electrical system to help take the load off the engine by helping it start and running the electronics such as climate control. And yes, it does help save fuel, but not stacks.
There’s plenty of grunt from all these engines no matter which you choose, they all have eight-speed automatics and all-wheel drive.
You are also very likely looking at the last combustion engines to go into an F-Pace. See Jaguar has announced that it will only sell electric vehicles beyond 2025.
Four years and that’s it. Choose wisely.
Lexus will tell you the NX300h F Sport will only use 5.6L/100km after a combination of urban and open roads, but my mileage according to the trip computer was 8.7L/100km which considering most of that was city driving is very impressive. Also pleasing is that despite this being a prestige car it’ll run on 91 RON, an X3, Q5 or GLC will turn it’s nose up at that stuff. Snobs.
This is the biggest drawcard for buying the hybrid. The fuel saving isn’t huge in the way a plug-in hybrid can be, but you’ll save money if you drive conservatively.
It doesn’t make sense that Jaguar has announced that it will be going all electric by 2025 yet doesn’t offer a plug-in hybrid in its Australian line-up, especially when there is one available overseas.
Jaguar says it doesn’t make sense either, but by that they mean business sense, in bringing one to Australia.
So, for fuel economy I’m marking the F-Pace down. Yes, the D300 and P400 use clever mild-hybrid tech, but it doesn’t go far enough to reducing fuel use.
So the fuel consumptions, then. The official fuel consumption for the petrol P250 is 7.8L/100km, the diesel D300 will use 7.0L/100km, the P400 is stated to sip 8.7L/100km and the P550 V8 petrol will drink 11.7L/100km. Those figures are "combined cycle" numbers, after a combination of open and urban driving.
Lexus has made improvements to the suspension set up of the NX300h, but it seems the changes haven’t gone far enough, and the ride comfort and handling is lacking compared to other mid-sized premium SUVs.
A CVT transmission is awesomely fuel-efficient but even with six steps ‘built’ into it, it doesn’t forcefully engage drive to the wheels the way a torque converter transmission, manual gearbox or dual-clutch auto does. The result is disappointing acceleration and an engine which sounds like its revving too hard.
Heavier-than-it-should-be steering, a steering wheel which I find flat and uncomfortable to hold, poor visibility through the rear window and a not the best pedal feel under my feet topped off a unimpressive driving experience.
There are some saving graces though – the well-insulated cabin is tranquil, the brake response is excellent, and there’s something special about travelling in bumper to bumper traffic just on silent electricity alone.
My two test cars at the Australian launch of the new F-Pace were the R-Dynamic SE P400 and the R-Dynamic S P250. Both were fitted with the road noise cancellation system which comes with the optional $1560 Meridian stereo and reduces the level of road noise coming into the cabin.
Which would I rather? Look, I’d be fibbing if I didn’t say the SE P400 with its smooth inline six that has seemingly endless shove, but it’s $20K more than the S P250 and neither engine is low on grunt and both handle and ride almost identically.
That ride has been improved in this new F-Pace with the rear suspension being retuned so that it’s not so firm.
Steering is still on the sharp side, but body control feels better and more composed in this updated F-Pace.
On the twisty and quick country roads I tested the S P250 and SE 400, both performed superbly, with responsive engines, great handling, and serene cabins (thanks to the help of the noise cancelling tech).
The second part of the test was driving both in city traffic for the best part of an hour each which isn’t pleasant in any car. The now wider F-Pace seats were comfortable and supportive, however, the transmission seamlessly swapped gears and even rolling on 22-inch wheels in the SE and 20-inch alloys in the S the ride was excellent.
The October 2017 update of the NX300h also saw an upgrade in its safety equipment and that meant it achieved the maximum five-star ANCAP rating. The F Sport grade never used to have AEB, but the update added it across the range, plus it was improved to include pedestrian detection.
All grades now come with blind-spot warning, rear cross-traffic alert and the F Sport has been given adaptive high beams with 11 independent LEDs.
For child seats you’ll find three top tethers across the rear row (two in the outboard seat-backs and one mounted on the roof), along with two ISOFIX points.
You’ll find a space saver spare under the boot floor.
The F-Pace scored the maximum five-star ANCAP rating when it was tested in 2017. Coming standard is advanced safety tech such as forward auto emergency braking (AEB), blind-spot assist, lane keeping assistance and rear cross-traffic alert.
This tech is great, but in the five years since the F-Pace first arrived safety equipment has moved on even further. So, while the AEB can detect pedestrians, it’s not designed to work for cyclists, there’s no reverse AEB, nor evasive manoeuvre systems, nor a centre airbag. All are items which weren’t common in 2017 but are now on most 2021 five-star rated cars.
The NX300h F Sport is covered by Lexus’ four-year, unlimited-kilometre warranty. Servicing is recommended every 12 months or 15,000km. There’s no capped-price servicing program but Lexus says you can expect to pay nothing for the first service, $720.85 for the second, $592.37 for the third and $718 for the fourth.
At the launch of the new F-Pace Jaguar announced that all of its vehicles would be covered by a five-year unlimited/kilometre warranty, a step up from the three-year coverage it used to offer.
Service intervals? What are they? The F-Pace will tell you when it needs maintenance. But you should sign up for a five-year service plan which costs $1950 for the P250 engine, $2650 for the D300, $2250 for the P400 and $3750 for the P550.