2020 Lexus NX Hybrid | Test Drive Review

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By |2020-05-22T13:20:41-04:00May 22, 2020 - 01:20PM|Car Research|
2020 Lexus NX Hybrid / Photo Credit: Lexus

2020 Lexus NX Hybrid / Photo Credit: Lexus

  • Trim Tested: NX 300h Luxury
  • Price as Tested: $52,084 (including destination charge)
  • Likes: Comfortable, premium cabin
  • Dislikes: Too expensive; feels slow; infotainment system can be frustrating to use
  • Changes for 2020: Gets lane centering and a standard electronic tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel. Android Auto is now standard on models made after Oct. 1, 2019.

The Lexus NX Hybrid has a comfortable, well-made interior, and more passenger space than you’d expect, but it costs a lot for what you get. The hybrid system also saps most of the driving enjoyment out of the vehicle, though you are rewarded with great fuel economy in the city.

We tested the NX Hybrid for a week, and these were our impressions.

Performance


2020 Lexus NX Hybrid / Photo Credit: Lexus

2020 Lexus NX Hybrid / Photo Credit: Lexus

We didn’t expect strong acceleration from a little hybrid like this, and we didn’t get it in the NX 300h. Mash the gas pedal to get up to highway speed, and the continuously variable automatic transmission (CVT) makes the engine buzz loudly. There’s very little sense of connection between the accelerator’s movement and the speed of the vehicle. The non-hybrid NX 300 doesn’t have that issue.

Despite its small size, the NX has a weighty feel. That makes it more luxurious than similarly sized vehicles like the Toyota RAV4, but it also makes it more ponderous in corners. But sportiness is not what hybrid SUVs are about.

The ride is smooth and quiet, apart from the engine noise.

Comfort & Quality


2020 Lexus NX Hybrid / Photo Credit: Lexus

2020 Lexus NX Hybrid / Photo Credit: Lexus

We had no complaints about seating space in this compact SUV, in front or in back. The seats are quite comfortable, with soft leather surfaces. In fact, the whole cabin is coated in soft, premium materials – the leather on the steering wheel is some of the nicest I’ve come across. Everything in the NX Hybrid’s cabin has a solid feel.

Technology & Usability


2020 Lexus NX Hybrid / Photo Credit: Lexus

2020 Lexus NX Hybrid / Photo Credit: Lexus

The NX’s infotainment system is a take-it-or-leave-it affair – test it out before you buy one. It consists of a wide screen that’s out of the driver’s reach. To control it, you use a touchpad, such as one found on a laptop. I’ve gotten used to the system (it’s on every Lexus), but many people dislike it, and that’s understandable. It takes more of the driver’s attention than is ideal. There are physical controls, like a volume knob and temperature switches, but the buttons are small. The graphics on the screen are dated, to boot. The NX has Apple CarPlay, which makes the graphics nicer. Android Auto is available on models made after October 1, 2019.

Safety features include forward collision warning and lane keeping assist. Blind spot monitoring and automatic emergency braking are optional. Competitors have more standard safety features.

Not ready for a new vehicle? Find a Used Lexus NX or a different Used SUV

Carfax vehicle overviews let shoppers compare a vehicle’s specs against its competitors. However, some aspects of a vehicle – performance, comfort, usability – can only be evaluated through actual driving. That’s why we evaluate as many vehicles as we can, so you’ll know what to expect.

If you have questions about this story, please contact us at Editors@carfax.com

About the Author:

I have been covering the automotive industry since my days at the University of Michigan. I’ve worked at Car & Driver, Michigan Radio and U.S. News & World Report, where I was Senior Editor for automotive coverage. As Carfax Managing Editor, I work every day to make buying and owning cars easier for our readers. In my free time, you can find me biking, attending Cars and Coffee and catching the latest movies. My personal cars tend to be ‘90s Japanese sedans with manual transmissions. I serve as Vice President of the Washington Automotive Press Association and live in the Washington D.C. area.