2020 Lexus NX 300h sets a strong standard for luxury hybrids  Featured

Posted On Saturday, 18 January 2020 23:21 Written by
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The 2020 Lexus NX 300h is aimed at luxury buyers seeking green alternatives The 2020 Lexus NX 300h is aimed at luxury buyers seeking green alternatives Photo courtesy of Lexus

While the end game will be fully electric cars and automated vehicles for the masses, in the meantime most of the American public are likely to take baby steps in terms of the technological and planet-friendly changes that are coming to our daily driver vehicles.

Therefore, hybrids continue to have their place in the market, including on the luxury level, where many folks are seeking green credentials in addition to luxury, comfort and high-tech features.

For that crowd, enter Exhibit A: The 2020 Lexus NX 300h, a compact hybrid SUV that brings a lot to the table.


Hybrids aren’t usually associated with stylish looks (they tend to be more about the fuel mileage, period, with design as an afterthought). But with the bold signature Lexus grille, and a creased side silhouette that stands out from the competition, the NX 300h delivers in terms of looks.

A Lexus should deliver a premium, luxury feel from the moment you set foot inside, and that’s the case here. Inside the NX 300h, you’ll get a leather heated steering wheel, extra comfy seats, soft touches everywhere. Nothing feels cheap or pedestrian.

Controls were well-placed on both the steering wheel and the large, clear three-sector center screen. The fronts seats are cozy and roomy, but rear seating is tight (like all vehicles in the class). Don’t put the big folks in back. 

The rear seats also recline, and fold down with a 60/40 split for increased storage options.

Also featured inside are a leather-trimmed steering wheel and shift knob, and dual-zone automatic climate control.

For a $3,000 option, the Premium Package raises the stakes with 18-inch wheels with all-season tires, heated and ventilated front seats; Premium LED daytime running lights; power moonroof; memory mirrors and driver seat, Including lumbar support; plus blind spot monitor with rear cross traffic alert for increased safety.

The vehicle and seats heat up well and quickly, a good feature in wintry locations. You also get a power back door with kick sensor.


The 2020 NX 300h features a 2.5-liter hybrid engine claiming 194 total system horsepower. It is only available in All-Wheel Drive.

As with most hybrids, the acceleration and power is nothing to shout about. Driving in Eco mode was very limiting and I would not recommend doing it often unless you are a very patient person. 

Standard mode was decent, and respectable for everyday use. Sport mode is actually quite impressive for a hybrid and gets you moving quicker than you realize. 0 to 60 numbers are close to 9 seconds.

If you are shopping hybrids, you are probably aware you’re not going to get a hot rod, but I suggest giving the NX 300h a whirl and seeing if it’s got enough oomph for you before picking it up — as each person will have their own level of expectations.

Beyond the power, the 300h does handle and brake well, and of course offers a very quiet ride.

Safety features are an impressive aspect of the NX 300h, as per usual with Lexus vehicles. More features come standard with the 2020 model, and you get all 4-star and 5-star government ratings.

One nice touch is that the lighting controls up top in the front seats are touch controlled, with no buttons to be found, and work quite well. Audiowise, an 8-speaker premium sound system is standard, and you can upgrade to a more powerful system with 14 speakers that boasts 835 watts. Apple CarPlay is included for phone mirroring.

The downfall on the tech side of things in this vehicle is Lexus’ mousepad-like controller for the infotainment system, which is not ideal. It is overly sensitive, distracting, and difficult to use compared to systems in rival luxury brands. Voice controls, thankfully, work well enough that you can mostly avoid the mousepad.

Getting back to safety, the Panoramic View Back-up Monitor is extremely helpful, and other helpful features include Intuitive Parking Assist with Auto Braking.

The Lexus Safety System+ 2.0 is highlighted by features such as Lane Tracing Assist, Road Sign Assist, Pre-Collision System with Pedestrian Detection, All-Speed Dynamic Radar Cruise Control, Lane Departure Alert with Steering Assist, and more. 

Unless you go out of your way to make the opposite happen, this vehicle will do everything you can imagine to keep you safe.

Also included are 8 airbags, Brake Assist w/ Smart Stop Technology, SmartAccess Entry System, push-button start, and LED Headlamps / Daytime Running Lights.

The fuel mileage on the NX 300h is officially 31 combined/30 highway/33 city mpg officially.

In a rare occurrence, I actually averaged better than the listed fuel economy while driving the vehicle — ending up at 35 mpg, which was impressive, and a strong number compared to the limited number of luxury SUV competitors directly competing with the NX 300h.

My test vehicle was priced at $50,555, and the base price starts about $40K. Pricing is a bit unique in the luxury hybrid segment, as the NX 300h is competing both against higher-level vehicles such as the Porsche Cayenne hybrid (which runs at least $80K), and some that start even lower (Acura MDX hybrid is $35K). For the size and level of luxury it offers, the NX300h seems slightly overpriced to me, but is not outrageous, especially when considering Lexus’ reputation for longevity and reliability.

The 2020 Lexus NX 300h is well-designed, great on fuel mileage, filled with strong safety systems, and remains one of the leading green luxury SUVs and crossovers. Those who love Lexus vehicles and being eco-friendly will be wise to give one a test drive.


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Matt Myftiu can be found on Twitter @MattMyftiu.

Additional Info

  • Vehicle: 2020 Lexus NX 300h 
  • Price as tested: $50,555 (starts about $40K)   
  • Best feature: Strong fuel mileage, luxurious interior
  • Rating: 3.5 out of five stars   
  • Who will want this vehicle?: Luxury buyers seeking a green alternative  
Matt M. Myftiu

Matt Myftiu has been a journalist for two decades with a focus on technology, NASCAR and autos.

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