2018 Lexus NX 300h - Hybrid SUV Review By John Heilig
THE AUTO PAGE
By John Heilig
Senior Editor and Bureau Chief
The Auto Channel
REVIEWED MODEL: 2018 Lexus NX 300h
ENGINE: 2.5-liter Hybrid 4
TRANSMISSION: Electronic CVT
HORSEPOWER/TORQUE: 194 combined hp/152 lb.-ft. @ 4,400 rpm
WHEELBASE: 104.7 in.
LENGTH X WIDTH X HEIGHT: 182.3 x 73.6 x 64.8 in.
CARGO CAPACITY: 16.8/53.7 cu. ft. (rear seats up/down)
ECONOMY: 33 mpg city/30 mpg highway/32.9 mpg test
FUEL TANK: 14.8 gal.
CURB WEIGHT: 4,180 lbs.
TOWING CAPACITY: 1,500 lbs.
COMPETITIVE CLASS: Nissan Rogue Hybrid, Toyota Highlander Hybrid, Infiniti QX60 Hybrid
STICKER: $46,389 (includes $995 delivery, $5,059 options)
BOTTOM LINE: If it’s from the Toyota family, it’s a capable hybrid. Therefore, the Lexus NX 300h is small for a Lexus, but big on economy.
“Back in the day” the Lexus NX 300h was known as the 200t. No matter what you call it, the NX is still an NX, and as such it’s a small SUV in name, but it’s more of a compact to mid-size sedan. Okay, it does have some of the practicality of an SUV, but it’s not one I’d want to take off road.
I did like taking it on road, though.
I found the NX to be quiet overall in operation, but there is significant tire noise intruding onto the cabin. It’s worse on poorer roads, like concrete.
The dash is dominated by a larger rectangular infotainment screen in the center of the dash. Navigating the screen is a touch pad-type controller (like a laptop mouse pad) on the center console that is not intuitive. Basically, you swipe across it to move the highlighted portion on the info screen. Sometimes. Personally, I prefer the mouse-like controller used on other Lexus models.
The default screen for the infotainment is a map. You can get an audio listing. I figured that out.
There’s decent power from the 2.5-liter hybrid power plant. Handling is equally good. We had a few “instances” on one commute and the NX allowed us to escape unscathed.
Facing the driver is a clear instrument panel with an eco gauge on the left and speedometer on the right. Instruments are white-on-black, my preferred combination.
Between the front passengers is a comfortable large arm rest/console. Next to the two cupholders is a pad to rest your hand when you’re trying to finagle the controller, and also a small hand mirror that has many uses besides checking makeup (not mine). Next to the shifter is a knob to shift among eco, normal and sport performance modes
Among the many safety assist features is a lane keeping assist that vibrates the wheel gently when you go off line. There’s a blind spot mentor and rear cross traffic alert as well. These are part of the $1,270 Premium Package.
Rearward vision is restricted somewhat by large rear seat head restraints. This handicap is worse for shorter drivers.
All the controls on the center stack are intuitive. Also, the radio/sound system is a simple two-button affair, one for on/off/volume and one for tuning.
Heated and cooled front seats are comfortable with some side support. Rear seat legroom is good for a small vehicle, even though the seats themselves aren’t overly comfortable. The flat rear floor makes it better for center passengers back there.
SUVs of all sizes are defined by their cargo capacity. The NX’s cargo area is a practical size (16.8 cubic feet with the rear seat backs up, 53.7 cubic feet with them down). There’s a rubber mat on the cargo floor (part of the $190 all-weather floor mat package) that is very useful.
There is a power tailgate with a kick sensor to open it. I could only get it to work once.
Overall, the NX 300h is pretty good. It has some nice features and others I found to be totally vexing...but no matter what it is a Lexus.
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