Wednesday, 17 August 2022

2021 Lexus NX 300h is an attractive, fun luxury hybrid Featured

Posted On Wednesday, 30 June 2021 04:04 Written by
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The 2021 Lexus NX 300h offers a comfortable drive and strong fuel mileage. The 2021 Lexus NX 300h offers a comfortable drive and strong fuel mileage. Photo courtesy of Lexus

 

When the word hybrid comes up, it’s generally associated with efficiency and strong fuel mileage, but rarely is paired with the word fun.

One vehicle trying to change that is the Lexus NX 300h, a luxurious compact crossover hybrid that has the rare combination of being a ride you can enjoy driving while also appreciating its looks and green credentials.

A brand new redesign is coming for 2022, but for now I tested the 2021 model of the NX 300h, and I’m back with a full report.


LOOKS

The NX 300h’s exterior is sharp, but in recent years Lexus has added bolder grille designs that have polarized buyers, turning away some more traditional buyers but attracting younger and more adventurous ones. You’ll either love it or hate it, but I found the NX 300h to be a very attractive vehicle overall on the exterior design.

Inside the vehicle, as expected in a luxury ride, you will find a classy Lexus design that matches the brand’s reputation, and seating that is quite comfortable even on longer rides. There’s also a very sharp moonroof.

One fault I would give the NX 300h is that the inside seating is a bit tight for the rear passengers, especially with taller folks up front. Some people might want to upgrade to Lexus’ very popular RX mid-size crossover if they feel cramped in this model. Cargo space is good but not great for the segment.

Among highlights of the interior are: Power Adjustable Front Seats. Manual Reclining & Folding 60/40 Split Rear Seat, Leather-trimmed Steering Wheel and Shift Knob, and Dual-zone Automatic Climate Control.

The version I drove was an F SPORT Black Line special edition that featured: Heated Steering Wheel, Front Fog & Cornering Lamps, Premium LED Daytime Running Lights, Black Headliner/Exterior Mirrors, Active Sound Control, Aluminum Pedals, Black 18' F 18-inch SPORT Wheels, Color-Keyed Overfenders, Blue Interior Stitching, and more.

HOW’S THE RIDE?

The 2021 Lexus NX 300h features a 2.5-liter hybrid engine with a grand total of 194 horsepower and 258 lb.-ft. of torque, paired with an electronically controlled Continuously Variable Transmission.

The NX hybrid comes with All Wheel Drive (non-hybrid NX models are also offered in FWD), , and the F Sport Black Line edition I tested featured a sport-tuned suspension. Drive modes offered are EV, Eco, Normal and Sport.

While not a rocket, It’s a rather quick ride that beats what you get from many hybrid competitors. It’s smooth, responsive in curves, and features strong braking capability. The F Sport suspension is quite evident in the way the vehicle drives, offering an experience you’ll look forward to.

A quiet ride is offered, even at higher speeds. One note of caution: The vehicle is so quiet that I almost forgot to turn off the ignition a couple times before getting out. Thankfully, it does make a loud noise when you back up so people can hear your vehicle and know you are moving in their vicinity.

 
TECHNOLOGY, SAFETY

As usual, a boatload of safety features with this Lexus offering.

For starters, there are nearly perfect government safety ratings (5 stars overall; 4 and 5 star individual ratings).

The vehicle features the Lexus Safety System+ 2.0, which boasts the following helpful safety features; Lane Tracing Assist, Road Sign Assist, Pre-Collision System with Pedestrian Detection, All-Speed Dynamic Radar Cruise Control, Lane Departure Alert with Steering Assist.

You also get Blind Spot Monitoring with Rear Cross Traffic Alert, a total of eight airbags, Brake Assist with Smart Stop Technology, keyless entry, push button start, and a sharp backup camera w/ dynamic gridlines.

Now we get to the Lexus Multimedia System on the NX 300h, which is a mixed bag. On one hand, voice commands are effective with this system, but at the same time the mouse-like control pad remains difficult to use if you are trying to use the physical controls.

Thankfully, there is light at the end of this tunnel, which Lexus has needed to exit for years. Starting with the 2022 model, this system will be updated on the Lexus NX (and later other Lexus vehicles), ridding the lineup of its most polarizing feature. It’s a big enough positive change that some folks might be willing to wait a bit until the 2022 models show up to purchase the NX or NX hybrid.

There are separate climate controls that are a bit unique in design, but still well-placed and easy to use. Another positive is Android Auto and Apple CarPlay compatibility for phone mirroring.

For those who love music, a Lexus 8-speaker Premium sound system offers a full and impressive sound for both bass and high end.


MPG

The official fuel mileage numbers on the NX hybrid are 33 city/30 highway/31 combined, and I averaged 30 mpg during my time in the vehicle. These are strong numbers for a vehicle in this class.
 

PRICE

The 2021 Lexus NX 300h that I tested was priced just under $49K, and its base price starts about $40K. These are prices that are quite affordable and very competitive vs. other luxury hybrids on the market right now.

BOTTOM LINE

The Lexus NX 300h is a fun-to-drive luxury hybrid that doesn’t feel slow like many hybrids can. If you like Lexus’ bold styling, safety and reliability, and are in the hybrid market, this is a strong SUV option, though you may want to wait for 2022 model that looks even more promising with the updated tech setup.

 

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Matt Myftiu can be found on Twitter @MattMyftiu.



Additional Info

  • Vehicle: Lexus NX 300h
  • Price as tested: $48,745 (starts around $40K)
  • Best feature: Sharp styling, safety features, fuel mileage, enjoyable drive for a hybrid
  • Rating: 4 out of five stars 
  • Who will want this vehicle?: Hybrid crossover buyers seeking a responsive, smooth and high-end ride
Matt M. Myftiu

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

This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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