From £30,2146
The petrol-electric hybrid Lexus NX300h is a superior ownership proposition to the NX200t, but no better to drive

Our Verdict

Lexus NX

The hybrid-only mid-sized Lexus NX is challenging the likes of the new Volvo XC60, Range Rover Velar and Audi Q5 among others, but is it up to the task?

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

Join the debate

Comments
10

21 July 2014
The only luxury car, I'd consider is a Lexus.

www.KOOOLcr.com

 

rxl

21 July 2014
why does Autocar only reviews this car NX on F Sport Trim? in the 200t it may be acceptable, but in the 300h which makes more sense of being a every day regular drive car it should be tested with regular Trim. and i think a car with this power train it isn't intended to be fun to drive, but more like comfortable and easy to drive.

why every car now must be fun to drive? to that we have hot-hatches and sport cars!! sometimes we only need a comfortable car that goes from A to B without breaking down. and Lexus know how to do that (ok maybe not in this trim LOL!).

it is silly how on every review, on every car journalists look for "fun" factor of the car as the central piece. tell me if you review a ford Transit you will loo for that too??

21 July 2014
rxl wrote:

why does Autocar only reviews this car NX on F Sport Trim?

I guess because that is what Toyota/Lexus have supplied them with, as that what they think should be the headline trim for the magazines to write about

21 July 2014
The lowest emissions in class. I think the second best is the BMW X3 that falls in the D VED Band while the Audi Q5 trails by several miles.

21 July 2014
This car seems to have some similarity to the new RAV4 which of course comes as a Turbo Diesel and not a Hybrid! I'd like to see the two compared as between them there ought to be a decent SUV...

21 July 2014
The Toyota/Lexus hybrid drive train has been shown to be reliable and smooth. People buying this car are not interested in maximum driver enjoyment so surely the solution is a bit more sound insulation to just mute the noise of the engine - and perhaps noise cancelling through the speakers. Then fit passive dampers and higher profile tyres to sort the ride. Unfortunately the styling will have to wait for the facelift. The basic design is actually quite nice, but the designers clearly didn't know when to stop drawing.

22 July 2014
Will86 wrote:

The basic design is actually quite nice, but the designers clearly didn't know when to stop drawing.

Don't you mean hacking rather than drawing? lol

22 July 2014
superstevie wrote:
Will86 wrote:

The basic design is actually quite nice, but the designers clearly didn't know when to stop drawing.

Don't you mean hacking rather than drawing? lol

Lol. Actually some of the surfaces do make me wonder if the original design was hewn with a chisel from a solid lump of ice...

rxl

22 July 2014
Will86 wrote:

The basic design is actually quite nice, but the designers clearly didn't know when to stop drawing.

well, if Lexus have done it in the line of the RX SUV people will called it boring, so because competition is firmly implemented (BMW , Audi), they need to step up. and i don't think they over designed, it is just a bold design but it look really good. I bet if this have a BMW grill on it , suddenly everything would be right...

22 July 2014
I think Lexus have always struggled to find a 'look', and now they're just trying far too hard. Judging by the Yaris facelift, though, I think the company must have just struck a good deal on a load of naff looking black plastic. Their designers should try and relax.......

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