Like its NX 200t sibling, the NX 300h looks very much like a younger, more contemporary brother of the brand's midsize RX crossover. Angular lines, prominent bulges, and a sharply raked tailgate distinguish either NX from the crowd of similar-size, non-luxury crossovers. Inside are plenty of high-quality materials, as well as an impressive amount of rear legroom for this class.
Power comes from the combination of a 2.5-liter 154-horsepower four-cylinder gasoline engine, mated with a pair of electric motors. Together, they produce 194 horsepower. A third electric motor delivers power to the rear wheels. Fuel economy is estimated at 31 mpg in combined driving: 33 mpg in the city and 30 mpg on the highway.
The continuously variable transmission (CVT) incorporates a “kickdown” feature to provide maximum power when needed to accelerate. Drive Mode Select provides three settings: Eco, Normal, and Sport (for use when shifting manually). An EV button sits next to the selection dial.
In base form, the NX 300h has NuLuxe (premium vinyl) upholstery with power front seats, power driver’s lumbar support, and a 60/40 split-folding reclining rear seat. Standard amenities include SmartAccess key, Bluetooth phone and audio, numerous integrated smartphone apps, a rearview camera, power tilt/telescopic steering column, dual-zone automatic climate control, 7-inch display screen, and an eight-speaker sound system with HD and satellite radio. Standard wheels are 17-inch. Taillamps and foglamps are LED. Triple-beam LED headlights are an option.
Now offered only with all-wheel drive, the NX 300h has a list price of $40,695 (destination charge included). Option packages can add even more features. For only $345, the Comfort package adds heated outside mirrors with reverse tilt and memory, as well as a driver’s seat memory. Considerably more costly at $2,710, the Premium package includes those features plus 18-inch wheels, heated and ventilated front seats, and a moonroof.
More expensive yet at $4,545, the Luxury package tops off the NX with perforated leather seat upholstery, wood interior trim, a heated steering wheel, a power liftgate, and rain-sensing wipers. Some of these items are available as individual options.
The $1,815 Navigation package includes a navigation system, two additional speakers, Remote Touchpad infotainment control interface, and an expanded suite of smartphone apps. Available safety technology includes parking sensors, lane departure warning, blind-spot monitoring with rear cross-traffic alert, and a Pre-Collision system with adaptive cruise control.
Tipping the scale at over two tons, the NX 300h is no lightweight. Therefore, 31 mpg (combined) is something of an achievement, even in this era of 40-mpg cars. In fact, the NX 300h has qualified as the most fuel-efficient luxury crossover. The gas-only NX manages only 24 mpg combined.
Simply because it's a Lexus, the NX 300h doesn't feel quite complete without the leather and wood interior offered in the Luxury package. We rate it as an especially desirable, if pricey, upgrade. The available advanced-safety technology would indisputably be a prudent addition.
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