2016 Lexus NX Hybrid

Starting MSRP: $39,720 - $39,720

Estimated MPG: 35 city / 31 hwy

2016 Lexus NX Hybrid Review

The 2016 Lexus NX 300h is a unique choice within the luxury compact SUV segment, offering hybrid power at a competitive price. Its compact footprint is bolstered by great fuel economy, a refined powertrain and a spacious cabin with high-quality materials.

By Jim Sharifi
Last Updated 09/09/2016

The Lexus NX 300h is a hybrid luxury compact SUV that was first introduced for the 2015 model year. It seats five and shares its platform with the non-hybrid Lexus NX 200t. A four-cylinder engine and two electric motors are paired with a continuously variable transmission (CVT). Front-wheel drive is standard and all-wheel drive is available.

Lexus offers the NX 300h in one well-equipped trim level. It’s basically unchanged for 2016, though new Lexus Enform services offer improved smartphone connectivity when compared with last year’s model.

Exterior

Exterior
8

With the exception of a couple of small “Hybrid” badges, there’s very little on the outside that differentiates the 2016 NX 300h from the non-hybrid model. Both NX crossovers are immediately recognizable as Lexus products, thanks in part to the spindle grille that’s shared with the larger Lexus RX 350 and RX 450h. Still, some details are unique to the NX, such as L-shaped daytime running lights that sit just below the headlight assemblies.

From the sides, aggressive character lines contribute to a sense of forward motion, while a liftgate spoiler provides some visual flair at the rear.

The base NX 300h comes standard with 17-inch wheels, heated sideview mirrors and rear privacy glass. LED headlights, brake lights, fog lights and daytime running lights are also included. Our test vehicle included exterior upgrades like 18-inch wheels and a power liftgate.

Interior

Interior
8

Premium materials and impeccable fit and finish are hallmarks of the 2016 NX 300h’s interior. The driver and front passenger are separated by a tall center console, and our test SUV’s tan leatherette (NuLuxe) upholstery offered a look and feel that was just as nice as high-quality leather.

The NX 300h’s driver’s seat could offer better lumbar support, but passenger space is quite good with plenty of headroom and legroom in both rows. Cargo space is useful, but not class-leading. There’s 16.8 cubic feet behind the second row, which can be folded to open up a maximum of 53.7 cubic feet. Some non-hybrid competitors, such as the 2016 Acura RDX, offer significantly more space.

Every Lexus NX Hybrid comes standard with interior features that include power-adjustable front seats, dual-zone automatic climate control and a power tilt-and-telescopic steering column. Comfort-enhancing options like heated and ventilated front seats, a heated steering wheel and power-folding rear seats are available.

Performance

Performance
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The 2016 NX 300h comes with a 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine that’s paired with two electric motors for a total output of 194 horsepower. Front-wheel drive and a continuously variable transmission (CVT) are standard. All-wheel-drive models get a third electric motor that provides power to the rear wheels.

The EPA reports that the 2016 NX 300h gets 35/31 mpg city/highway, which is exceptional for a compact SUV. Opting for all-wheel drive results in slightly lower estimates of 33/30 mpg.

Lexus has done a commendable job of creating a refined driving experience with its smallest hybrid SUV. There’s no surplus of passing power, but the NX 300h is an agreeable companion in normal driving situations. It gets up to speed in an acceptable manner, and transitions between gas and electric power are completely imperceptible. While it doesn’t feel as quick as its non-hybrid sibling, the NX 300h’s powertrain does feel a bit more polished overall.

The ride is quiet and composed, but the NX Hybrid’s handling falls short of being sporty. While it’s generally controlled, some body lean is evident if you push the NX 300h hard through turns. Still, this is a vehicle that’s been engineered for great fuel economy, not thrilling driving dynamics, and it delivers the comfort and efficiency we’d expect of a hybrid in this class.

Technology

Technology
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The NX 300h’s standard technology features include Bluetooth and USB connectivity, satellite radio, an eight-speaker audio system and a 7-inch display.

Our test vehicle included a navigation package that upgrades the audio system to 10 speakers and adds an app suite to provide integration with smartphone apps like Yelp, Pandora and iHeartRadio. Lexus’ Remote Touch interface was also included, which allows access to infotainment settings through a touch pad on the center console.

The touch pad provides mouselike functionality that’s similar to what you’ll find with a laptop computer, allowing you to make on-screen selections at the press of a fingertip. However, we found that Remote Touch requires a little too much attention to use while driving. Thankfully, there are dedicated buttons for climate settings and most primary audio functions.

Safety

Safety
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The 2016 NX 300h comes standard with a rearview camera and the Lexus Enform Safety Connect telematics system. The latter provides emergency assistance, automatic crash notification and a stolen vehicle locator. Available driver-assistance features include adaptive cruise control, blind spot monitoring with rear cross-traffic alert and forward collision warning with automatic braking.

The NX 300h earned a top five-star rating for its overall performance in crash tests conducted by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).

The hybrid version hasn't been tested, but the gas-only Lexus NX performed well in crash tests conducted by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), earning top scores of Good in all crashworthiness categories. When equipped with a forward collision warning system, the NX also received an Advanced rating for front crash prevention. As a result, the 2016 Lexus NX received an IIHS Top Safety Pick+ award.

Cost-Effectiveness

Cost-Effectiveness
8

The 2016 Lexus NX 300h starts at $39,720 plus a $975 destination charge. Add all-wheel drive and the base MSRP climbs to $41,310. That base price is higher than you’ll find with a number of non-hybrid competitors, including the 2016 Volvo XC60, Acura RDX and Mercedes-Benz GLC. Still, the NX 300h includes a strong list of standard features and occupies a unique space as one of the few hybrid crossovers on the market.

Our test Lexus NX Hybrid was a fully loaded all-wheel-drive model that included options like a Qi wireless smartphone charger ($220), auto-dimming rearview mirror and HomeLink garage door opener ($125), auto-dimming sideview mirrors with blind spot monitoring ($660), a power liftgate ($400) and parallel park assist with rear parking sensors ($500). The Navigation package ($1,875) and a Premium package ($2,670) that brought in 18-inch wheels, heated and ventilated front seats, a moonroof and LED daytime running lights were also included. After destination, our NX 300h carried a suggested price of $48,160.

Overall

Overall
8

There isn’t an abundance of hybrid choices in the compact luxury segment, but shoppers who prioritize efficiency and luxury should find a lot to like about the 2016 Lexus NX 300h. While it isn’t particularly exciting to drive, this compact hybrid crossover from Lexus offers a spacious and luxuriously appointed cabin, as well as a competitive list of standard features. Great fuel economy, stellar crash test ratings and Lexus’ exceptional reputation for reliability make it a practical choice, too.