Introduced in 2015, the Lexus NX 300h is a gas-sipping compact-luxury crossover that's a worthy addition to the manufacturer's hybrid lineup. It offers exceptional fuel economy for the premium crossover segment, along with a finely crafted cabin and a spacious backseat.
Lexus NX 300h Overview
The Lexus NX 300h made its debut in 2015. Offering seating for five, this hybrid competes in the compact-luxury crossover segment and boasts sheet metal inspired by vehicles dedicated to racing and performance. Its profile is sleek and aerodynamic, and its designers were inspired by the idea of crafting a vehicle that looked like it was created from a single piece of metal. All throughout, there is an emphasis on fluidity. The crossover's stance is low and crouching with swooping lines that end in a sharply raked tailgate, and a Lexus spindle grille proclaims this hybrid's heritage.
The crossover's platform was designed by a team that includes racers, and this results in a level of performance and engagement that’s unusual for the hybrid segment. The battery is split into two separate pods, and this optimizes weight distribution. The transmission features a kick-down switch that ramps up the power when an acceleration boost is needed.
The Lexus NX 300h offers other features that enhance its performance prowess. HV control software gives the feeling of linear acceleration, working to boost engine speed to match changes in the angle of the accelerator pedal. This provides you with an acceleration experience that feels more natural than that offered by most hybrids. Weight damping control keeps the driving experience smooth and steady on uneven road surfaces, and all-wheel drive is available for those who face rough weather.
All models are powered by a 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine teamed with a pair of electric motors. Total output stands at 194 horsepower. The two modules that comprise the nickel-metal hydride battery pack each weigh 44 pounds.
The NX Hybrid’s cabin is a high point for this Lexus. Materials quality is peerless and deluxe, and fit and finish is superb. An abundance of padded, soft-touch surfaces prevent you from painfully banging your elbows and knees on hard plastic, and the second row offers a wealth of space for rear passengers. With the seats raised, cargo capacity is 16.8 cubic feet.
Standard exterior features on this Lexus include automatic LED headlights, rear privacy glass and heated mirrors. Within the cabin, all NX 300h models come with dual-zone automatic climate control, 60/40-split rear seats that fold and recline, a tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel, a rearview camera, Bluetooth, satellite radio and a USB interface.
A host of options are available for upgrading your Lexus NX 300h. Choices include larger wheels, a blind spot warning system, heated and ventilated seats and wireless smartphone charging.
For 2016, Lexus provided a minor upgrade that broadened the NX 300h’s smartphone connectivity.
There are some other candidates to consider in this segment. The Audi Q5 offers similar hybrid frugality, and strong diesel choices include the BMW X3. Other compact luxury crossover picks include the Acura RDX, Cadillac XT5, Infiniti QX50, Range Rover Evoque, Mercedes-Benz GLC, Porsche Macan and Volvo XC60. These are all strong picks, but the Lexus NX 300h is a leader in fuel efficiency, and it's hard to beat if you want a compact crossover that combines luxury with outstanding fuel economy.