It seems like 75% of the new vehicles on the road today are crossovers. Get used to it because it's the way of the world. But not all crossovers are created equal, and most of them don't drive particularly well. While they ride higher, at least have optional all-wheel drive, and generally provide more space, many of them suffer from spongy suspensions and vague steering. We've driven two of the better driving small crossovers at two different price points, the Lexus NX 300 F Sport and the refreshed Hyundai Tucson Sport. Here's how they stack up.

lexus nx

The NX is for those buyers who want more visual punch than more conventional crossovers. Lexus took some big risks giving their vehicles polarizing angular style, but at least no one will accuse the NX of looking vanilla inside or out. A huge spindle grille, angular headlights and the kind of body creases a stealth fighter would be jealous of actually look great on the NX, and the F Sport trim levels up the visual drama with a black mesh grille that replaces the horizontal bars, a unique lower bumper, and special wheels to round out the look.

Inside, the F Sport seats improve on Lexus's already great formula for sporty buckets. They get more support, and you can even clad them in stunning red leather. Turbo boost and G-Force gauges, F Sport badges, and aluminum sport pedals are driver-focused touches that help set it apart from the regular NX. You can also opt for the Adaptive Variable Suspension setup that makes the handling of the NX 300 F Sport even more dynamic. And while the NX 300 F Sport isn't as dynamic or as quick as performance-focused crossovers like the BMW X3 M40i xDrive, the Lexus has solid acceleration, steering, and handling that belies a typically ho-hum segment. And for the safety-conscious, the NX get a Top Safety Pick + rating from the IIHS and comes with a great set of standard safety features and accident avoidance tech.

  • Price: $43,600 (AWD) base MSRP
  • Engine: Turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder 
  • Horsepower/Torque: 235 / 258 lb-ft.
  • Transmission: 6-speed automatic with paddle shifters
  • Drivetrain: front-wheel drive or all-wheel drive
  • Performance: 0-60 mph in 6.9 seconds
  • EPA Mileage Rating: 22 mpg city / 27 mpg highway / 24 combined (automatic)

Find Local Discounts on the Lexus NX  300

2019 Hyundai Tucson Sport

hyundai tucson sport

The Tucson was just refreshed, and the difference shows. Not only does it look more upscale, it's also better to drive now that the tepid 1.6-liter turbocharged engine is gone, replaced by a peppy 2.4-liter naturally-aspirated four-cylinder. The result is a car that may not accelerate truly quickly but one that feels linear and smooth. The Tucson's steering is also very good, as is the handling. You'll find in the Sport trim, it's truly a fun vehicle to helm, and the ride is remarkably comfortable over any road surface. What's more, with the Sport's black mesh grille and aggressive 19" alloy wheels, it has the looks to back it up the driving experience.

Inside, the cabin gets more refined. Ergonomics are excellent, and the infotainment system is one of the easier ones to operate from the console or the steering wheel. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are also now standard, as are collision avoidance and lane-keeping assist. The Sport trim benefits from an included Infinity 8-speaker premium audio system, a wireless charging deck, LED head and taillights, as well as a convenient Hands-free smart liftgate. And just like the NX 300, it nails the safety ratings with a Top Safety Pick + from the IIHS. 

  • Price: $30,345 (AWD) base MSRP
  • Engine: 2.4-liter four-cylinder 
  • Horsepower/Torque: 181 / 175 lb-ft.
  • Transmission: 6-speed automatic 
  • Drivetrain: front-wheel drive or all-wheel drive
  • Performance: 0-60 mph in 8.8 seconds
  • EPA Mileage Rating: 21 mpg city / 26 mpg highway / 23 combined (automatic)

Find Local Discounts on the Hyundai Tucson