The Lexus NX is the first compact SUV created by the manufacturer. It’s entering the game a bit late and competition such as the BMW X3, the Range Rover Evoque and the Audi Q5, already have a lion’s share of the luxury market. Just because the NX is late to the party it doesn’t mean it should be overlooked if you’re pondering a car from this segment. This SUV is a great looking machine that offers excellent and unique comfort. The 300h that we test drove lets drivers know that hybrids can be fun too.
The Lexus NX 300h, which is the only offering to the Irish market, gives 0-100km/h in just 9.3 seconds. We’re told that the top speed achievable within the vehicle is 180 km/h. This compact SUV is powered by a 2.5 litre petrol engine which on its own offers 155 bhp. When you add that figure to the power from the battery you find that the overall brake horse power on offer is 197.
The Lexus NX comes with an automatic CVT transmission. This can be slightly annoying in that if you do put your foot down on the motorway, you will find that it has a tendency to hold onto gears for too long.
In cities or towns the NX is an incredibly quiet ride, especially when it’s working at very low speeds using just battery power. The steering is direct and responsive, but the suspension is a little bit on the firm side – which means that bumps are felt a bit more than you would like them to be.
This is where the NX completely comes into its own. Firstly, while driving in battery mode the only sound that can be heard is the whirring of the electric engine. This noise may not be to everybody’s taste, but to many it will be a constant reminder of the great hybrid technology within the vehicle. However, the battery only really kicks-in at incredibly slow speeds. While on the motorway and while climbing through the clumsy automatic gears, the noise of the engine is very-much muted. This is on account of a nice clean petrol engine, but the fact that Lexus has done a great job with the sound insulation around the vehicle is another reason for the refinement.
Top marks for Lexus in this category too. The NX is a top quality machine with nothing to offer in terms of cheap plastics. Remember, this is an upper-class Toyota, and while Toyota’s don’t have the most exciting interiors in the world, they’re not famous for their cheap interiors! The infotainment system within the NX has plenty of buttons and the layout looks marvellous, but unfortunately the infotainment system can be a bit complicated. The seats to the front and rear are extremely comfortable.
The Lexus NX scored a full five stars in the Euro NCAP on its release in 2014. The car received 82% for both adult and child occupancy. There are eight airbags within the vehicle and driver aids such as Adaptive Cruise Control and Lane Keeping Assist are also available.
Five adults could be easily fit into this vehicle, but things would be more comfortable at four. Leg room to the front and rear is ample, however head room to the rear suffers a small bit on account of the sloped roof. The boot offers 475 litres and with the back seats down this increases to 1,520 litres.