business-180309818-ep-4-yyyhdnnsivzj.jpg
2018 Lexus NX 300h AWD Hybrid. [Lexus]

Test Drive: 2018 Lexus NX 300h AWD Hybrid

Base Price: $38,355

Price as tested: $47,534

This week, we’re behind the wheel of the 2018 Lexus NX 300h SUV, with all-wheel drive (AWD) a standard feature. The “h” nomenclature refers to a hybrid electric power system while the NX designates it is a member of the impressive family of Lexus Crossovers and SUVs that all use the letter “X” for distinction.

This impressive family of Lexus “X” vehicles starts with the non-hybrid NX 300 turbo at $35,985, mid-size RX at $43,2700, full-size GX at $52,155 up to the mega-size LX beginning at $85,380. Our tester NX 300h AWD hybrid, listed as a small SUV, starts at $38,355. Upcoming is an all-new compact Lexus UX that will start in the $30,000 area and is set for production this year.

Our tester NX 300h hybrid offers a fuel mileage benefit that’s hard to beat in this class. Motivation starts with an Atkinson hybrid power source utilizing electric motivation to work in tandem with the internal combustion engine while cruising. The end result is excellent fuel economy thanks to less engine demand.

New for 2018 are a tweaked exterior and a Navigation media system with a larger 10.25-inch display. Other than these features, it’s pretty much the same as the 2017 Lexus 300h that is still in its first generation.

Digging further into the aforementioned internal combustion finds all Lexus 300h models relying on the proven 2.5-liter, 12.5 to one compression, 150-horsepower inline four that mate to a nickel-metal magnetic battery pack and two electric drive 44-horse motors. This combo delivers a total system output of 194 horsepower with the end-result a 31 MPG combined fuel mileage at 33 city and 31 highway. Expect acceleration of zero to 60 mph in about 9 seconds.

A continuously variable electronically controlled automatic transmission (CVT) hooks to the power plant, making its MPG numbers possible. The CVT is the only transmission available for the hybrid model, but if you choose the turbo 2.0-liter, 235-horse non-hybrid NX300, you’ll receive a six-speed automatic instead of the CVT. The standard full-time all-wheel drive system on the NX 300h receives assistance from a rear electric-drive motor helps deliver excellent traction and enhanced driving abilities in poor weather scenarios.

Known for abundant safety features, including eight airbags and added structural protection features, Lexus NX300 will surely earn Five-Star government safety ratings with superior impact performance in front, side and rollover test evaluations. Well noted is that every Lexus 300NX, be it hybrid or turbo model, comes with the Lexus Safety System Plus and Enform Safety Connect, which your Lexus dealer will explain in detail.

As for consumer magazines and internet auto websites, they all find the Lexus 300 series high in satisfaction and reliability ratings. Additionally, all Lexus brands, from the entry models to the ultra LX, rate at or near the top in every satisfaction survey I’ve checked.

On the road, you’ll enjoy sure footed and nimble driving, with one of the quietest interiors experienced to date. A standard eight-speaker Lexus Display Audio System features 440 watts, HD radio, MP3/USB/iPod/iTunes, Bluetooth, SiriusXM and real time traffic/weather. The Lexus cabin is first class all the way in that it both looks and feels great thanks to the Lexus touch of affluence. Expect a comfortable ride on those long, freeway drives.

The standard Yokohama Geolandar 17-inch tires on alloy wheels are replaced by 18-inch Yokohama tires and wheels as part of a $4,705 Luxury Package that also includes black shadow wood trim interior, leather seating, 10-way lumbar driver seat, heated steering wheel, power litigate, ventilated front seats, premium daytime running lights, enhanced safety, pre-collision features, power moonroof and much more.

If you pass on this option, I still recommend the Yokohama 18-inch tires on five-spoke alloy wheels available for only $420 more as a Lexus tire/wheel upgrade. A rear safety backup camera is standard on all 2018 Lexus cars and SUVs.

A Navigation system with enhanced 10-speaker stereo and larger display adds another $1,800, while a $535 intuitive parking assist is recommended with special clearance rear sonar to assist in parallel parking. A cargo net for $69, power rear door kick sensor for $550, electro inside mirror for $125, and a $400 power reclining rear seat feature pushed the final retail to $47,534 with $995 delivery included.

Important numbers include a wheelbase of 104.7-inches, 14.8-gallon fuel tank, 16.8 cu. ft. of cargo space, 39.8 ft. turning radius and a 4,180-pound curb weight.

Lexus proudly proclaims to prospective consumers that the LX300h offers “the luxury brand’s most desirable features in a compact-luxury-crossover SUV (that is) as efficient as it is fun to drive.”

I agree.

Overall, and sans some of the more expensive options, you can park a brand new Lexus NX 300h in your driveway in the low $40,000-range. Remember, too, that cousin (albeit way less luxurious) Toyota Rav4 Hybrid AWD starts at $29,130.

Either way, you’re in good hands.

Likes: Efficient hybrid system, fuel mileage, Lexus opulence and reliability.

Dislikes: Expensive option packages, somewhat noisy under full acceleration, not much else.

— Greg Zyla writes weekly for More Content Now and other Gatehouse Media publications.

null

null

null

null

Share This Story