Auto review: 2018 Lexus NX 300h loads up on tech, safety, luxuryMay 30th, 2018
Vehicle: 2018 Lexus NX 300h
Best feature: Excellent fuel mileage; safety features, impressive ride quality for a hybrid
Who will want this vehicle?: Those seeking a unique looking and green luxury ride
Small SUVs are all the rage. And being green is also on the minds of many carbuyers.
If you’re in the luxury realm, and both these things are on your wish list, your choices are pretty limited, but Lexus has one impressive offering with its 2018 Lexus NX 300h hybrid.
I recently spent some time in one and here is a full report on what it offers and who might be interested in picking one up.
With Lexus’ signature exterior design style that gets bolder and bolder each year, particularly up front on the grille, the NX will be a head-turner. Not everyone will love its boldness, but many will.
17-inch aluminum wheels with all-season tires are standard on the NX, but you can upgrade to get 18-inch wheels.
Inside, you’ll find what you expect in a luxury vehicle: Luxury.
Among the design features are black shadow wood interior trim, a heated leather steering wheel, heated/ventilated front seats; very comfortable leather seats; helpful rain-sensing wipers; LED daytime running lights; plus power tilt and slide moonroof and folding outside mirrors.
An automatic dual-zone climate control system with rear vents is also featured.
Seating for five is offered. Be aware, though, that this is a compact SUV. It’s not going to be extra comfy in the back seat for adults, especially on longer rides, though it’s probably good enough for kids in that scenario. Also be aware that cargo space is severely limited in the NX 300h.
The 2018 Lexus NX 300h runs on a 2.5-liter 4-cylinder engine paired with electric motors, and features a total of 194 horsepower. It includes an electronically controlled CVT transmission, and comes standard with all-wheel drive.
The big question whenever I test a hybrid is how does it drive — can you tell it’s a hybrid (read: turtle slow) or does it surprise me and drive more like a regular car?
I would say this the NX hybrid falls in the middle of that dichotomy. It’s definitely not a turtle, and I was pleasantly surprised while driving it at my level of enjoyment.
Comparing ride quality to its specific class, well that’s hard because luxury hybrid compact SUVs are pretty much non-existent. I can say that compared to non-luxury hybrid compact SUVs in this size that I’ve tested, the ride is much better in the NX.
It’s also very quiet, of course, as that’s kind of how it goes with hybrids.
Lexus does not skimp on the tech and safety features, and this vehicle is no exception.
The NX 300h features: Eight airbags, a tire pressure monitoring system, anti-lock brakes and the Lexus Safety System + (including pre-collision system with pedestrian detection; all-speed dynamic radar cruise control; lane departure alert with steering assist and intelligent high beam headlamps).
Audiowise, you get an eight-speaker system, HD radio with iTunes tagging and real time traffic and weather, USB connections, and free satellite radio for three months.
While I like the large rectangular screen up front and center in the NX, the biggest tech downside on the NX is the Remote Touch interface, which is overly sensitive as a control system and proved frustrating to use, especially while driving. It’s one area where Lexus could work to improve on future models.
Also offered on the NX are a blind spot monitor with rear cross traffic alert, and a navigation system that also includes a 10-speaker premium sound system.
Official numbers are 33 city/30 highway/31 combined, with a 450+ mile range on a fill-up.
With the lack of competition in this size and price range, it’s not a stretch to say this is the best fuel mileage you can get in this type of vehicle.
The 2018 Lexus NX 300h is very safe, very unique looking, very luxurious, very Lexus. If you can get past the sometimes bothersome tech system, the NX 300h is one way to go green and have a great vehicle in the process.
Matt Myftiu can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org, or on Twitter @MattMyftiu. His past reviews can all be seen online at autotechreviews.com.