2021 Lexus NX 300h
Recently, more consumers of premium/luxury compact SUVs chose the Lexus NX over its competitors. This is a great accomplishment for a segment that usually selects a German product over anyone else.
There are many reasons why the Lexus NX sells so well. One of them lies underneath its hood – the Hybrid driveline. It is one of the few electrified offerings in its class. However, this Lexus does not require a plug for the batteries to recharge.
There is more to this luxury compact SUV than its battery pack and hybrid driveline. That is why we got a very unique version to review here. Let us explain further…
The basic design of the Lexus NX starts with an integration of the brand’s spindle grille into the front clip. This design establishes the shape of the entire vehicle. The creases and folds spreads rearward, including a fastback-like roofline. The rear end is a Lexus signature with a sharp taillamp design that juts out from the body.
When you select the F Sport, the lower front fascia drops lower with the mesh grille dominating from the hood opening downward. It gives it the illusion of a lower stance, even though it maintains the same ground clearance of the other NX models.
Our tester is actually a rare addition to the NX lineup. This NX 300h F Sport is known as the Black Line special edition. With only 1,000 units available, the special edition adds distinctive 18-inch wheels, the body color painted on the over fenders, and black side mirror caps. Our tester came in an exclusive Grecian Water paint color.
This NX 300h F Sport offers a more driver-focused cabin with heavily bolstered front seats that are heated and cooled. You do get a balance of support and comfort for most bodies. Rear seat room is best for two adults, with a compliant rear seat that fits most bodies.
Instrumentation and the center display are typical Lexus fare with clear readouts, including the information screen in-between the two large dials. The clean and high-positioned center stack also works for easier access to HVAC switches, while maintaining a good hand/arm position for the infotainment system’s touchpad. Both the shifter and the shifter and the drive mode knob appear to be further back for some drivers to reach.
Cargo space is actually quite good with great coverage using the removable parcel shelf and cargo net. All told, that equals to 16.8 cubic feet behind the rear seats. Those seats fold flat for greater space behind the front seats, expanding cargo volume to 53.7 cubic feet.
A 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine powers the NX 300h, along with two electric motors and a battery pack. Total system horsepower is rated at 194. An electronic continuously variable transmission sends power to all four wheels – and the second electric motor – on our tester. This hybrid NX turned a fuel consumption average of 25.1 MPG. This figure was due to the cold weather it was tested in. Normally, you should expect at least 32 MPG from an NX 300h.
The NX delivers a smooth and absorbent ride, even with a set of 18-inch Yokohama Geolandar tires. Handling had a tighter feel, thanks to the upgrades for the F Sport trim. There is minimal roll and lean at the curves.
Steering is an easier and more manageable task, thanks to a smaller steering wheel. Action and response are fine. We felt that the electric power steering system should be dialed in a bit better. On-center feel was on point at the wheel. Brakes are pretty good with normal and panic stops exhibit solid behavior without the hesitation from the regeneration system. Pedal feel is strong and sure.
The NX lineup starts with the 2.0-liter turbocharged engine NX 300 model with front-wheel-drive. Pricing starts from $37,610. Hybrid models start from $40,160. Our special edition Black Line model with a sticker price of $47,835.
As we mentioned before, the luxury/premium compact SUV segment is highly competitive. The NX is often compared to the BMW X3, Mercedes-Benz GLC, Audi Q5, Jaguar E-Pace, Alfa Romeo Stelvio, Volvo XC60, Infiniti QX50, Acura RDX, Cadillac XT4, Buick Envision, GMC Terrain, and Lincoln Corsair.
When you are looking for something unique in this class, consider the Lexus NX. Rather, consider the NX 300h and its hybrid driveline. You will enjoy something that is sharp looking, efficient, and great for highway driving with you and at least three of your friends.
Story Credits: CarSoup Editors