Lexus: 2015 NX300h F Sport Hybrid review

Lexus: 2015 NX300h F Sport Hybrid review

There’s a small gaggle of compact luxury SUVs vying for the attention of the moderately well-heeled, and the Lexus NX300h is waving a green flag. The hybrid is boldly styled with the angular front design featuring a strong grille and deep recesses.

Lexus NX300h 2015 front seatsThe NX range is also available in 2-litre turbo form – a combination that is two seconds quicker to 100kph, but more than 2 litres per 100km less economical than this 2.5-litre 145kW hybrid, which comes in at 5.6l/100km (official figures). We achieved 6.9l/100km which is quite acceptable for an SUV.

Lexus says the NX is like a raised sports car. There’s no doubt that it feels very car-like, but not quite sports car-like. The Adaptive Variable Suspension, which has four modes (comfort, normal, sport and sport+), does provide a good range of Lexus NX300h 2015 front interiordriving attitudes, and you can chuck the NX around, but you’ll feel its high centre of gravity, and there’s the definite propensity to understeer heavily.

Where the NX excels is cruising in comfort mode. On the motorway there’s just the faint roar of the tyres on the road and virtually no wind noise. The seats, with their Dark Rose leather, feature integrated foaming technology that helps brace against lateral movement. Even the rear seats are excellent, which you can’t say about many cars or SUVs.

Lexus NX300h 2015 grilleLexus has crammed a lot of technology into the NX. Starting at the front you’ll notice a camera on the grille which is helpful for seeing each way up a street if you’re pulling out of an intersection with limited visibility.

Along with two fisheye lens cameras under the wing mirrors and one on the boot, the parking system can generate a simulated 360-degree view of the car while manoeuvring – useful seeing as rear visibility is limited.

A sensor in the front grille detects obstructions ahead and will apply the brakes if it Lexus NX300h 2015 side cameradetects a crash is imminent.

When you turn the steering wheel, auxiliary headlamps light up the road in the direction you are turning. This makes it easier to turn into dark driveways and also when you are on unlit twisting country roads at night.

A head-up display projects your speed and other metrics and information onto the windscreen so you can keep your eyes on the road.

The wing mirrors contain blind spot monitor warning lights.

In the cabin there’s a wireless charging pad for smartphones Lexus NX300h 2015 phone chargerand mobile devices that support it – this is the first one I’ve seen in a car. It sits just behind the touchpad that you control the car’s entertainment system and settings with. This touchpad has haptic feedback (it vibrates slightly when you are in the right place on the screen, allowing you to spend less time looking at the screen and more time on the road). This system works slightly better than Lexus’s old joystick-based system, but you should probably spend time familiarising yourself with it before you use it on the road.

And finally, at the back there’s a motorised tailgate which can be operated from the driver’s seat.

Whenever I get a car I try to guess the price before I look at it. The good news for the NX300h is that I was way out. My guess was around $120,000, but in reality it’s $95,900 for the F Sport. This means that my perception was that it was worth more money. That perception is that there’s such a lot of features, such a lot of leather and such an absence of noise when driving it.

What makes the NX so quiet is that if you are prepared to drive it carefully, it will sit in EV (electric mode) a lot of the time. It only kicks the petrol engine into life once the power needle reaches half way around the dial. The maximum speed I got out of it in EV mode was 71kph.

And therefore it makes the right noises in the right circles: the right noise being almost no noise. It’s a conversation piece as much as anything. It’s got an elevated level of detail (you need to check out the removable mirror in the central console), a prestige badge, and if you are concerned about your ecological footprint, it gives you a point of difference among the Audi Q5 and BMW X3 owners.

Price: $95,900

Pros

  • Priced well for the features
  • Quiet and comfortable
  • Lots of safety technology

Cons

  • Boot isn’t that big
  • Slow acceleration for this price


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