Crossover & Midsize

Can the 2021 Lexus NX Really Go Toe-to-Toe With a Porsche?

Porsche is one of the biggest names in the luxury segment, but the 2021 Lexus NX may be giving the Porsche Macan a run for its money. Consumer Reports gives the NX an overall rating of 82 — slightly higher than the Macan’s 76. So how exactly do these two SUVs compare?

What should you expect from the Lexus NX?

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Consumer Reports ranks the 2021 Lexus NX number one on its list of 24 luxury compact SUVs, giving this vehicle an edge right off the bat. Starting at $37,610, the NX features a 2.0-liter turbocharged inline-four engine making 235 hp. 

The base-model NX gets 22 mpg in the city and 28 mpg on the highway for a combined fuel economy of 25 mpg. Consumer Reports notes the hybrid powertrain boasts a combined 29 mpg, impressive for this segment.

The NX earned 5 out of 5 for predicted reliability and a 74 out of 100 on its road test. CR’s drivers praised its agility and acceleration, particularly the excellent handling. The NX also won points for its luxurious cabin, featuring a significant amount of tech and high-quality materials. 

However, the NX falls short in some areas. Its predicted owner satisfaction is only 2/5, and Consumer Reports found the seating slightly cramped. While the standard version has a fairly quiet cabin, the hybrid version is somewhat noisy, particularly when accelerating. It also struggled to brake rapidly in wet conditions.

How the Porsche Macan compares

The 2021 Porsche Macan lags slightly behind the Lexus NX in Consumer Reports‘ rankings. It earned an overall score of 76, coming in third of 24 luxury compact SUVs.

With a $52,100 starting MSRP, the Macan offers a 2.0-liter turbocharged inline-four engine producing 248 hp, slightly more powerful than the NX. However, the Macan can’t quite match the NX’s impressive fuel economy. It gets 19 mpg in the city, 23 mpg on the highway, and 21 mpg combined.

The Porsche also trails the NX’s perfect reliability rating, with a score of just 3/5. But in predicted owner satisfaction, the Macan is the clear winner, earning 4/5. It also performed better on its road test, receiving a score of 84/100.

Consumer Reports praises the Macan’s “impeccable” fit and finish. Test drivers also note the Porsche offers agile, sporty handling and incredibly comfortable seats.

Where the Macan struggles is its price and fuel economy, particularly compared to the NX’s impressive numbers. Consumer Reports also observes that the Macan’s controls can be somewhat challenging to adjust to, and the interior feels somewhat cramped.

Does the NX come out on top?

Whether you prefer the Lexus NX or Porsche Macan will ultimately come down to how much you value prestige. For some, the Porsche badge is reason enough to justify the higher price.

But even the most ardent Porsche fan has to admire the Lexus NX’s performance. Its high overall rating speaks for itself: The NX excels in a competitive segment. It offers incredible fuel efficiency and a ride experience similar to the Macan’s. Add to this the fact that the NX costs nearly $15,000 less than the Macan, and it becomes clear why the Lexus nabbed the top spot in CR’s rankings.