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In-depth reviews

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

Engines, performance and drive Rating

4.3 out of 5

Price
£44,410 to £65,630
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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 plug-in hybrid 450h+ adding two electric motors to deliver a total of 302bhp and the benefits of four-wheel-drive.

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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's sharper than its Audi Q5 rival, and also rate the driving experience above that of the Mazda CX-60 and Volvo XC60.

0-62mph 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.

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Which Is Best

Cheapest

  • Name
    350h 2.5 5dr E-CVT 2WD
  • Gearbox type
    Auto
  • Price
    £43,349

Most Economical

  • Name
    350h 2.5 5dr E-CVT
  • Gearbox type
    Auto
  • Price
    £44,309

Fastest

  • Name
    450h+ 2.5 5dr E-CVT [Premium Pack]
  • Gearbox type
    Auto
  • Price
    £54,069
News reporter

As our news reporter, Ellis is responsible for covering everything new and exciting in the motoring world, from quirky quadricycles to luxury MPVs. He was previously the content editor for DrivingElectric and won the Newspress Automotive Journalist Rising Star award in 2022.

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