Lexus finally has a compact crossover of its own this year, the stylish NX 200t. Arriving at the same time is the hybrid variant, dubbed 300h, which promises class-leading efficiency along with the luxurious appeal of larger Lexus models.
What's New for 2015
The NX 300h is an all-new addition to the roster.
Choosing Your Lexus NX 300h
The NX 300h looks very much like the younger, hipper brother of the brand's midsize RX. Its angular lines and tasteful bulges effectively distinguish the NX from the crowd of non-luxury crossovers of similar size. Inside, you'll find plenty of high-quality materials and an impressive amount of rear legroom for this class.
Power comes from a 2.5-liter four cylinder engine and a pair electric motors that together produce 194 horsepower. Front-drive models achieve 33 mpg in combined driving, which makes the 300h the most fuel-efficient luxury crossover you can buy. All-wheel drive models receive a third electric motor that delivers power to the rear wheels. The extra traction reduces efficiency by a negligible 1 mpg. A continuous variable automatic transmission (CVT) is standard across the board. A selectable driving mode system and 17-inch alloy wheels complete the mechanical setup.
The NX 200h starts out with a NuLuxe (premium vinyl) interior with power front seats and a split-folding reclining rear seat. Standard amenities include keyless ignition, Bluetooth phone and audio, numerous integrated smartphone apps, and an eight-speaker sound system with HD and satellite radio. The headlamps, foglamps and running lights are all LED.
The available Comfort package adds a power-adjustable steering wheel and driver memory functions. The Premium package includes those features, plus 18-inch wheels, auto-dimming exterior mirrors, heated and ventilated front seats and a sunroof. The Luxury package tops off the NX with leather upholstery, wood interior trim, a heated steering wheel, a power liftgate, automatic wipers, a tow package and an optional power-folding rear seat. Some of these contents are available as individual options.
The Navigation package includes a navigation system, two additional speakers, an upgraded infotainment control interface and an expanded suite of smartphone apps. Available safety technology includes front and rear parking sensors, lane departure warning, blind spot monitoring and adaptive cruise control with automatic braking.
Because its' a Lexus, the NX 300h doesn't feel complete without the leather and wood interior offered in the Luxury package. We rate it as the most essential upgrade.