2020 Lexus NX 300h Review

5/5

Overview

The Lexus NX 300h is pushing to be the best of an increasingly crowded mid-sized SUV market segment. It is well equipped (even at entry level) and is a full-hybrid or ‘self-charging hybrid’ that does not need to be plugged in as the small battery pack is recharged by the brake regeneration system and the 2.5 litre petrol engine itself, allowing the Lexus to slip into full-electric mode fairly often around town. It is a tantalising choice for business users and a refreshing alternative to the likes of the Volvo XC60, Audi Q5 or Mercedes GLC. All versions get an automatic gearbox while all apart from the entry-level SE model have four-wheel drive.

Pros
  • Extensive list of standard equipment
  • Futuristic exterior design
  • Typical Lexus pedigree and reliability
  • Grippy handling
  • Easy-to-use infotainment system
Cons
  • Too much road and wind noise at high speeds

Exterior

The NX 300h is 4.6m long and 1.85m wide. However, Lexus has disguised somewhat both dimensions with intelligent chaffing around the car’s corners, making it appear more agile and tawt than it truly is. It has a silken urban demeanour and is one of the most individual designs on offer in the current market. The NX features a bold spindle grille with stylish smoked chrome details and sporty LED headlights. The design is an absolute riot of contrasting angles with lines and details all competing for attention, an interesting smorgasbord that probably should not work but just does. 

Interior

For a car that looks quite futuristic on the outside, the interior is remarkably sedate but in a classy, minimalistic way with high-quality materials and a great driving position. There are typically Lexus levels of equipment too with heated leather upholstery, climate control, LED headlights and adaptive cruise control coming as standard. All NX models get a 10.3inch screen, with CD player, digital radio, USB and Bluetooth and sat-nav. Higher end models come with additional features such as a power tailgate, keyless entry and sunroof. It has a great driving position thanks to the multiple levels of adjustment in the drivers seat and steering wheel. 

Performance

The petrol-electric engine has a combined output of 195 bhp and is mated to a CVT automatic gearbox. When driven in a relaxed manner around town, the hybrid engine has enough electric power for smooth acceleration (0 – 100 kmh in 9.2 seconds) and it is nippy enough to skip out into fast-moving traffic. It is more of a compromise on the open road, however, the CVT automatic gearbox sends the revs sky-rocketing, pushing the car onto motorway speeds with relative ease.

Reliability

All cars come with a three-year / 100,000 kilometre warranty and – so far- have an excellent reliability record.  

Running Costs

Just like other Lexus’s there is a premium price tag to be had but this is offset by decent economy. The 2.5 litre four cylinder hybrid engine is capable of 40 miles per gallon when used in urban environments (where the electric powertrain regularly takes over) and approximately 35 miles per gallon when used in more regular environments. Lexus claim a combined cycle fuel economy figure of 6 litres per 100 kilometres. 

Handling

The new Lexus feels secure and planted on the road with Base SE models getting front-wheel drive but all other models get an active four-wheel-drive system that drives the front wheels until it senses them slipping, at which point an electric motor on the rear axle steps in. Not bad, for a call that weighs almost two tonnes.

Safety

The 2020 Lexus NX 300h was awarded a five-star NCAP safety rating and it’s not hard to see why with an extensive list of all the latest safety equipment and features as standard. 

Summary

Exterior
80%
Interior
90%
Performance
80%
Reliability
90%
Running Costs
90%
Handling
90%
Safety
100%

The Lexus NX 300h is pushing to be the best of an increasingly crowded mid-sized SUV market segment. It is well equipped (even at entry level) and is a full-hybrid or ‘self-charging hybrid’ that does not need to be plugged in as the small battery pack is recharged by the brake regeneration system and the 2.5 litre petrol engine itself, allowing the Lexus to slip into full-electric mode fairly often around town. It is a tantalising choice for business users and a refreshing alternative to the likes of the Volvo XC60, Audi Q5 or Mercedes GLC. All versions get an automatic gearbox while all apart from the entry-level SE model have four-wheel drive.