2020 Lexus NX Series vs. 2020 Tesla Model X

Detailed Review, Specifications & Comparison

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Safety

© 1999 - 2020 Advanta-STAR Automotive Research. All rights reserved. This vehicle comparison and all of the content in it are provided only by license from Advanta-STAR Automotive Research Corporation of America. If you are not a legally licensed user of this vehicle comparison, it is against federal law to access it, copy it, forward it or use it in any manner whatsoever. Any unauthorized use of this vehicle comparison is a violation of U.S. and international law and is punishable criminally and civilly. 6IUEX-0KENZ 45.55.47.189 2020/08/14

The NX Series’ optional pre-crash front seatbelts will tighten automatically in the event the vehicle detects an impending crash, improving protection against injury significantly. The Model X doesn’t offer pre-crash pretensioners.

The NX Series has standard Whiplash Injury Lessening Seats, which use a specially designed headrest to protect the driver and front passenger from whiplash. During a rear-end collision, the Whiplash Injury Lessening Seats system moves the headrests forward to prevent neck and spine injuries. The Model X doesn’t offer a whiplash protection system.

Over 200 people are killed each year when backed over by motor vehicles. The NX Series offers an optional Intuitive Parking Assist with Automatic Braking that use rear sensors to monitor and automatically apply the brakes to prevent a rear collision. The Model X doesn’t offer backup collision prevention brakes.

The NX Series offers an optional Panoramic View Camera to allow the driver to see objects all around the vehicle on a screen. The Model X only offers a rear monitor and front and rear parking sensors that beep or flash a light. That doesn’t help with obstacles to the sides.

To help make backing safer, the NX Series’ optional cross-path warning system uses wide-angle radar in the rear bumper to alert the driver to vehicles approaching from the side, helping the driver avoid collisions. The Model X doesn’t offer a cross-path warning system.

The NX Series’ driver alert monitor detects an inattentive driver then sounds a warning and suggests a break. According to the NHTSA, drivers who fall asleep cause about 100,000 crashes and 1500 deaths a year. The Model X doesn’t offer a driver alert monitor.

The NX Series has standard Safety Connect®, which uses a global positioning satellite (GPS) receiver and a cellular system to help track down your vehicle if it’s stolen or send emergency personnel to the scene if any airbags deploy. The Model X doesn’t offer a GPS response system, only a navigation computer with no live response for emergencies, so if you’re involved in an accident and you’re incapacitated help may not come as quickly.

Both the NX Series and the Model X have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, front side-impact airbags, driver knee airbags, side-impact head airbags, front seatbelt pretensioners, height adjustable front shoulder belts, four-wheel antilock brakes, traction control, electronic stability systems to prevent skidding, crash mitigating brakes, daytime running lights, lane departure warning systems, rearview cameras, available all-wheel drive and blind spot warning systems.

For its top level performance in IIHS driver and passenger-side small overlap frontal, moderate overlap frontal, side impact, roof strength and head restraint tests, its standard vehicle-to-vehicle front crash prevention system, its standard vehicle-to-pedestrian front crash prevention system, and its standard headlight’s “Good” rating, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety grants the NX Series its highest rating: “Top Pick Plus” for 2020, a rating granted to only 30 vehicles tested by the IIHS. The Model X has not been tested, yet.

Warranty

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The NX Series’ corrosion warranty is 2 years and unlimited miles longer than the Model X’s (6/unlimited vs. 4/50,000).

There are over 74 percent more Lexus dealers than there are Tesla dealers, which makes it much easier should you ever need service under the NX Series’ warranty.

Reliability

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A reliable vehicle saves its owner time, money and trouble. Nobody wants to be stranded or have to be without a vehicle while it’s being repaired. Consumer Reports rates the NX Series’ reliability 74 points higher than the Model X.

From surveys of all its subscribers, Consumer Reports’ December 2019 Auto Issue reports that Lexus vehicles are more reliable than Tesla vehicles. Consumer Reports ranks Lexus first in reliability. Tesla is ranked 23rd.

Fuel Economy and Range

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The NX 300h’s maximum EPA estimated driving range on a full tank of fuel is 488.4 miles, after which it can be refueled at any gas station in minutes. The Model X’s range is only 328 miles, after which the minimum recharge time is 30 minutes for only a 54% charge at a specially configured quick charge station not available in most areas. A full recharge at a conventional charging station can take up to 82 hours and 53 minutes.

Brakes and Stopping

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In an emergency stopping situation, many drivers don’t press the brakes with enough force to stop the vehicle in the shortest distance. The NX Series has a standard brake assist system to detect emergency braking situations (by how hard and how quickly the brake pedal is pressed) and then automatically apply maximum braking immediately in order to help prevent a collision. The Model X doesn’t offer a brake assist feature.

Tires and Wheels

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The NX Series has a standard space-saver spare tire so you can replace a flat tire and drive to have the flat repaired or replaced. A spare tire isn’t available on the Model X; it requires you to depend on roadside assistance and your vehicle will have to be towed.

Suspension and Handling

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The NX Series has standard front and rear gas-charged shocks for better control over choppy roads. The Model X’s suspension doesn’t offer gas-charged shocks.

For better maneuverability, the NX Series’ turning circle is 3.4 feet tighter than the Model X’s (37.4 feet vs. 40.8 feet).

Chassis

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The Lexus NX Series may be more efficient, handle and accelerate better because it weighs about 1350 to 1500 pounds less than the Tesla Model X.

The NX Series is 1 foot, 3.6 inches shorter than the Model X, making the NX Series easier to handle, maneuver and park in tight spaces.

The NX Series is 5.1 inches narrower than the Model X, making the NX Series easier to handle and maneuver in traffic.

As tested by Car and Driver while at idle, the interior of the NX 300 F Sport AWD is quieter than the Model X (37 vs. 44 dB).

Cargo Capacity

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The NX Series’ standard rear seats fold to accommodate long and bulky cargo. The Model X 6-Passenger doesn’t offer folding rear seats.

Pressing a switch automatically lowers or raises the NX Series’ optional rear seats, to make changing between cargo and passengers easier. The Model X doesn’t offer automatic folding seats.

To make loading groceries and cargo easier when your hands are full, the NX Series’ liftgate can be opened and closed just by kicking your foot under the back bumper, leaving your hands completely free. The Model X doesn’t offer a hands-free gesture to open its liftgate, forcing you to put cargo down if your hands are full.

Servicing Ease

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A maintenance reminder system is standard on the NX Series to save the owner time and money by calculating maintenance intervals for oil changes, air filter replacement, tire rotation, radiator flush, brake pad replacement and transmission fluid replacement based on odometer mileage. This takes the guesswork out of keeping your vehicle in top condition and helps it last longer. Tesla doesn’t offer a maintenance reminder on the Model X.

Ergonomics

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If the windows are left open on the NX Series the driver can close them all at the outside door handle. On a hot day the driver can lower the windows at the outside door handle or from a distance using the keyless remote. (This window function must be activated by your Lexus service department.) The driver of the Model X can only operate the windows from inside the vehicle, with the ignition on.

To improve rear visibility by keeping the rear window clear, the NX Series has a standard rear wiper. The Model X doesn’t offer a rear wiper.

The NX Series’ standard side window demisters help clear frost or condensation from the side windows in the winter. The Model X doesn’t even offer side window demisters, so the driver may have to wipe the windows from the outside to gain side vision.

To shield the driver and front passenger’s vision over a larger portion of the windshield and side windows, the NX Series has standard extendable sun visors. The Model X doesn’t offer extendable visors.

Optional air-conditioned seats in the NX Series keep the driver and front passenger comfortable and take the sting out of hot seats in Summer. The Model X doesn’t offer air-conditioned seats.

The NX Series has a standard center folding armrest for the rear passengers. A center armrest helps make rear passengers more comfortable and it can provide a boundary between children. The Model X doesn’t offer a middle row seat center armrest.

Model Availability

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The NX Series is available in both front-wheel drive and four-wheel drive configurations. The Model X doesn’t offer a two-wheel drive configuration.

Economic Advantages

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Insurance will cost less for the NX Series owner. The Car Book by Jack Gillis rates the NX Series with a number “5” insurance rate while the Model X is rated higher at a number “8” rate.

According to The Car Book by Jack Gillis, the NX Series is less expensive to operate than the Model X because typical repairs cost much less on the NX Series than the Model X, including $511 less for a water pump, $72 less for front brake pads, $65 less for front struts and $767 less for a power steering pump.

Recommendations

© 1999 - 2020 Advanta-STAR Automotive Research. All rights reserved. This vehicle comparison and all of the content in it are provided only by license from Advanta-STAR Automotive Research Corporation of America. If you are not a legally licensed user of this vehicle comparison, it is against federal law to access it, copy it, forward it or use it in any manner whatsoever. Any unauthorized use of this vehicle comparison is a violation of U.S. and international law and is punishable criminally and civilly. 6IUEX-0KENZ 45.55.47.189 2020/08/14

Consumer Reports® recommends the Lexus NX Series, based on reliability, safety and performance.

The Lexus NX Series outsold the Tesla Model X by almost three to one during 2019.

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