The NX300h just looks and feels distinctive and “modern” while at the same time not being “showy”

Recently I had the pleasure of test driving the Lexus NX300h hybrid sport utility vehicle and came away liking it a lot.

My blue vortex metallic tester comfortably seats five and is powered by a 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine which is backed up by two electric motors. (A third electric motor comes with the vehicle’s all-wheel drive version.)

The hybrid power plant, which puts out a combined 194 horsepower, was more than adequate for start and stop city driving and for getting on a quick moving freeway.

The NX300 hybrid was first introduced in 2015 and does not feature any major changes for the 2016 model year. That said I found the vehicle generally a pleasure to drive with good,, tight responsive steering..

The continuously variable automatic transmission did a good job of translating engine power when needed to the vehicle’s front-wheel drive. That said it took my tester almost 9 seconds to go from zero to 60 mph — not bad for an SUV but not exactly a speed demon, either.

Outside the NX300h just looks and feels distinctive and “modern” while at the same time not being “showy.”

My tester came with 17-inch alloy wheels and all-season tires which provided good grip on pavement and dirt roads. While most certainly an SUV in all respects, the NX300 might not be your first choice for trekking the high Sierras. The vehicle is tough but it’s obvious that it prefers the suburban jungle over the real one.

Inside the cabin my tester came standard with a 7-inch navigation-entertainment screen which was operated by a joystick controller. The satellite radio featured 8 speakers and produced great sound.

The upholstered leather seating was very comfortable front and back and could be heated or ventilated at a flick of a switch.

The NX300h’s fuel economy is solid. My tester got a combined 33 mpg city and highway and 25 mpg in the city (common for hybrids with regenerative braking systems.)

Finally, the MSRP on my Lexus tester came in — as trimmed out with all the goodies you’ll no doubt like — at $48,945.

My Recommendation: Always shop around for the best price but I suspect you’ll have trouble finding something you’ll like better.