What happens when you combine two of the most potent real-world concepts in one contemporary vehicle? The 2015 Lexus NX 300h is exactly that – a hybrid compact crossover SUV. The crossover market has seen tremendous growth the world over, and there are a considerable percentage of people switching from long sedans and massive SUVs to vehicles which are not just more efficient, but also more compact and practical for everyday use. The latest offering from Lexus, is the NX, then, having gone on sale only at the start of this year. The NX, or Nimble Crossover, combines everyday practicality and high efficiency with a refined driveline which delivers as much performance as it does economy. Let’s see what makes it tick.
From the moment you lay your eyes on the 2015 Lexus NX 300h, it’s evident that it is every bit a Lexus. There’s a fine line between over-styling and sharp design, and Lexus probably invented that line. The sharp, angular lines point to generous proportions, even for a compact crossover, and give it a very desirable appearance. From the high window line and sloping roof, with minimal window profiles also make it look compact, but in an attractive way. However, there is enough car for every application. The available narrow-eyed full LED lights are captivating and lend the NX 300h a futuristic appearance from the get-go, especially when flanking the large front grille. The bulbous bonnet houses a hybrid driveline, while the cabin dimensions make for comfortable seating for five, with decent cargo room too. And, when you think it’s done, your gaze goes on to the Transformers-like tail-lamp cluster which, quite honestly, wouldn’t look out of place on a supercar 10 years from now.
Step inside into the 2015 Lexus NX 300h and you’re greeted with a very modern interior with every element designed to complement the exterior of the car just as well as the rest of the interior. The leatherette seats, with 8-way power adjust modes for the front, are joined by a touchpad, with a voice-command system and Bluetooth connectivity adding to the convenience factor. A pop-up full-color TFT-screen doles out additional information from the available satellite navigation system, or provides the feed from the reverse camera. The steering wheel is packed with controls and makes controlling every car system on the move quite a breeze.
The rear brings reclining seats as well, and together with the rear air vents, makes for a rather nice place to be in. However, if flexibility is high priority, the 2015 Lexus NX300h will not disappoint. The 16.7 cu ft boot volume is ample, but if it still isn’t enough and you need more room for cargo, the rear seats can be split-folded down as required. There’s also a powered option on the equipment list to make life even easier.
The 2015 Lexus NX 300h, like every Lexus, comes with a plethora of safety features to ensure that you and your loved ones are always in a safe zone when on the move. The NX 300h benefits from all four-wheel power-assisted disc brakes with Electronically Controlled Braking (ECB). The anti-lock braking system (ABS) with electronic brakeforce distribution (EBD) and Brake Assist ensure that speed is shed in as quick and stable a manner as possible. The hybrid also has brake energy regeneration. Additional preventive safety features include a blind-spot monitor with rear cross-traffic alert as well as a lane departure alert system. The radar cruise control with all-speed tracking makes easy work of driving on freeways. The available pre-collision system with dynamic radar cruise control further enhances automated safety on the go, and at all speeds. The full complement of airbags at the front, side and curtains comprise the best in protective safety.
Powertrain, Drivetrain & Performance
Bringing the power in the 2015 Lexus NX 300h is a 2.5L four-cylinder Atkinson-cycle gasoline engine paired to a high-torque electric motor. The twin-cam, 16-valve, dual VVT-i in-line four together with the electric motor makes 194 total system horsepower, and an undisclosed torque, which feels like something in the 230-250 lb-ft range given the rate of acceleration it delivers. The E-CVT handles the power delivery very well indeed and the acceleration, though not relentless, is constant and very linear making it easy to drive, as well as overtake on the open highway.
With selectable drive modes, the 2015 Lexus NX 300h can be set up to feel just like you would want it to. Driving pleasure is a given, then. Furthermore, the hybrid driveline also delivers on the efficiency front in a big way. The 14.8-gallon tank will allow for a realistic 500-mile travel range.
If more capability is what you seek, then the 2015 Lexus NX 300h AWD option is your best bet. The price difference is $1,590, but for that, you get all four wheels powered, and the added stability in bad weather and touch surfaces.
For complete peace of mind, the 2015 Lexus NX 300h is offered with a standard 4-year/50,000 mile basic warranty, together with a 6-year/70,000 mile powertrain warranty and 5-year/unlimited mile rust and perforation warranty. The hybrid models also have an 8-year/100,000 mile hybrid system warranty for added security.
So, the 2015 Lexus NX 300h, to sum up, is a good all-rounder; the hybrid compact crossover you choose for its abilities in general, rather than just its hybrid efficiency. That said, when you choose a hybrid, there’s a very good reason. You don’t want explosive power delivery characteristics and to attack the corners on a race track on the weekends. Rather, you would probably want to take it out of town on weekends. You would want it to handle well, take on all weather conditions, and keep everyone travelling with you safe and sound inside while doing so. If that’s your checklist, the NX 300h will surely tick all the right boxes.
Specific Make/Model & Trim Package: 2015 Lexus NX 300h
Base Price for this model: $39,720 ($41,310 for AWD)
Body style: Five-door, crossover SUV
Engine & Torque: 2.5L in-line four, 194 hp @ 5,700 rpm net peak output
Transmission: Electronically-controlled CVT automatic, FWD
Curb weight: 4,055 lbs
Wheels & Tires sizes/specs: 17”, 225/65 R17 all-season tires
Warranty: 4-year/50,000 mile basic; 6-year/70,000 mile powertrain; 8-year/100,000 mile hybrid system; 5-year/unlimited mile rust and perforation
Towing Capacity: 1,500 lbs
Fuel economy EPA: City/Hwy MPG: 35 City / 31 Hway / 33 Combined
0-60 MPH, Quarter Mile: 9.1 seconds, 16.5 seconds
Top Speed: 112 mph