Lexus NX 300h Hybrid Brings Personality to Efficiency
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Lexus NX300h Hybrid
The NX is a very popular compact SUV in the Lexus lineup. Last month, I drove the non-hybrid version with its 235 horsepower engine and found performance to be more than acceptable. Gas mileage was listed as 22/28 mpg. So when the opportunity to test out the 300h hybrid version rated at 33/30 mpg presented itself, I had to jump on it.
While the hybrid engine has less horsepower at 194 HP, acceleration doesn't suffer in city traffic. This is because of the massive torque output at low speeds thanks to the electric motor/battery equipment. At speeds under 40 mph, this SUV has excellent acceleration. At highway speeds, the hybrid power isn't as pronounced and consistent, but you can get a temporary burst of acceleration when needed.
All New Platform
Those who say the Lexus NX is just a Toyota RAV4 with a different body couldn't be more wrong. The basic platform is there, but make no mistake, this is a Lexus through and through. The difference is obvious in daily commuting, where the ride quality shines. The body structure is very solid as well. This SUV wasn't made to be driven fast, but it is happy to do so, whether you get the hybrid or standard version. In cornering, the tires do a good job of sticking to the road.
A Quality Interior
The cabin is a nice place to be. All materials and workmanship are first-rate. The seats are very comfortable. There is a knob for ECO, Normal, or SPORT mode for those in a hurry. All of my driving was done in the Normal setting. The paddle shifters are located on the steering wheel give the car an even more sporty feel.
The navigation and other items in the infotainment system are controlled by a joystick in most Lexus models. In the NX, the stick is replaced by a finger touchpad. It works well when sitting still, but when the vehicle is moving, it takes some attention to get the setting you want. Practice will make perfect!
One interesting (and important) detail you will find as you open the rear hatch is the existence of a real spare tire under the floor board. Most hybrid vehicles seem to be missing this important item to save weight, but it ends up being a bad idea if you get a flat. Lexus has you covered here.
High Quality Hybrid
The base price of the 300h starts about $38K. The car I drove was loaded up with all the goodies, so had a tab just over $48K. But all things considered, considering the amazing quality of the NX, its capability, as well as its youthful characteristics make the NX 300h a wonderful economical choice for anyone in the market for a do-it-all SUV that doesn't sacrifice personality.
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