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

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.

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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

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catnip 22 July 2014

I think Lexus have always

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.......
Will86 21 July 2014

Sound deadening

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.
superstevie 22 July 2014

Will86 wrote: The basic

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

Will86 22 July 2014

superstevie wrote:Will86

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

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...

spencsj 21 July 2014

What about the RAV4 vs. NX300h

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...

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