Lexus NX review - Engines, performance and drive

The NX’s hybrid setup works well, providing decent pace and able to transition smoothly between electric and petrol power

Overall Auto Express Rating

4.0 out of 5

Lexus NX review - Engines, performance and drive Rating

4.3 out of 5

Price
£37,299 to £60,419
  • Efficient hybrid technology
  • Modern infotainment system
  • Ride comfort
  • Expensive plug-in hybrid model
  • CVT auto transmission
  • Some pricey optional kit

The second-generation NX sits on the same TNGA-K platform as the Toyota RAV4, which means the premium SUV is now offered with a plug-in hybrid powertrain – a first for Lexus. All models feature a 2.5-litre, four-cylinder petrol engine, with the 450h+ PHEV version adding two electric motors to deliver a total of 302bhp and the benefits of four-wheel-drive. You’ll still find the familiar self-charging hybrid model, now badged 350h, on the price list. It’s available with either front- or all-wheel-drive, but is down on power compared with its plug-in sibling, producing 241bhp. 

All NX’s use a CVT automatic transmission which we’ve previously levelled much criticism at for its rather noisy character, particularly when accelerating hard. We found it a better match for the 450h+, where the plug-in version can draw on its electric power to help reduce engine drone. 

The dual-motor setup also offers plenty of torque in all-electric mode; quick off the mark from a standing start and easily able to deliver zero emissions driving at motorway speeds. You won’t find the petrol engine cutting in if you stamp on the throttle, either, although a quick press of the hybrid button on the centre console allows for pretty seamless switches between fossil fuel and battery power.

For a premium hybrid SUV that has a focus on comfort and luxury, the NX handles well enough; able to take on faster bends without losing its composure and secure at higher speeds. It’s not as fun to drive as a BMW X3, but we think it provides a sharper drive than its Audi Q5 rival.

Engines, 0-60 acceleration and top speed

If you’re after the quickest NX, then the 302bhp 450h+ plug-in hybrid model is the one to go for. 0-62mph is taken care of in 6.3 seconds with a 112mph maximum, which should be brisk enough for most tastes. The 350h self-charging hybrid version is down on power to the tune of 61bhp, which results in slightly slower sprint times – the front-wheel-drive car managing 0-62mph in 8.7 seconds, and the four-wheel-drive variant taking 7.7 seconds.

Next Steps

Which Is Best

Cheapest

  • Name
    350h 2.5 5dr E-CVT 2WD
  • Gearbox type
    Auto
  • Price
    £37,299

Most Economical

  • Name
    350h 2.5 5dr E-CVT
  • Gearbox type
    Auto
  • Price
    £38,259

Fastest

  • Name
    350h 2.5 5dr E-CVT 2WD
  • Gearbox type
    Auto
  • Price
    £37,299

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