What is it?
The NX300h petrol-electric hybrid is the first Lexus NX you’ll be able to get your hands on in the UK when it reaches these shores in October.
Expected to account for 90 per cent of total NX sales, the NX300h uses the hybrid drivetrain adapted from the IS300h and GS300h.
That means a 2.5-litre four-cylinder Atkinson cycle petrol engine combined with an electric motor to drive the front wheels.
A new addition to the drivetrain in the NX is an electric motor for the rear axle, making the NX300h four-wheel drive, in all versions from SE up – so SE, Luxury, F Sport and Premier variants.
Only the base S model is offered in front-wheel drive configuration.
What's it like?
On paper the NX300h is a very appealing car. As with the NX200t, it looks great inside and out and has plenty of kit, plus its real selling point of 55.4mpg combined economy and 117g/km CO2 emissions, very impressive for a car of its size.
However, as with this drivetrain’s application in other Lexus models, it’s just not much fun to drive. Even the smallest of throttle inputs is accompanied by a drone from the powertrain, which quickly grates.
Performance isn’t that strong either, with throttle response remaining lazy even in the sharper Sport and Sport + modes offered through the Lexus' Drive Mode Select system.
The NX200t doesn’t ride well, but the NX300h actually rides worse, perhaps owing to its extra weight.
However, there is a glimmer of hope here – we also briefly tried an NX300h devoid of F Sport trim, so it didn't feature the firmer dampers. The ride was consequently softened to a more bearable level.
A further case of less being more when coming to specifying cars.
Should I buy one?
The Lexus NX300h has even more going for it than the NX200t thanks to its low running costs, but the way it drives makes it such a difficult car to recommend.
There’s a very good car somewhere in the NX, but with its launch powertrain options and overly firm chassis set-up we’re yet to find it.
We appreciate Lexus’s hybrid sentiments and desire to be sporty, but can we not just have a four-cylinder diesel model and a comfort chassis option?
Lexus NX300h F Sport
Price £36,995; 0-62mph 9.2sec; Top speed 112mph; Economy 55.4mpg; CO2 117g/km; Kerbweight 1785kg; Engine type, cc 4cyls, 2494cc, petrol, plus two electric motors; Power 194bhp combined; Torque 152lb ft combined; Gearbox CVT