2023 Lexus NX 450h Luxury

The NX stays the same for 2023, featuring a sleek and edgy design with a near-vertical grille and slender LED headlights. Its uncomplicated side profile highlights intricate surface details, while the rear displays a futuristic look with a wide light bar. Inside the cabin, the NX maintains its distinctive and stylish appeal.

In the realm of powertrain options, the NX 250 embraces frugality over sheer excitement by employing a 2.5-liter inline-4 that delivers 203 horsepower. On the other hand, the NX 350, equipped with a 2.4-liter turbo-4, offers a more remarkable 275 horsepower, complemented by standard all-wheel drive. Both gasoline models come with an 8-speed automatic transmission.

Boasting an impressive combined rating of 39 mpg, the NX 350h aims to minimize the need for frequent trips to refuel. Additionally, it delivers a respectable power output of 238 hp. Taking the lead in the lineup is the NX 450h+ plug-in hybrid, which served as our test vehicle. This model features an expanded battery pack, allowing for an impressive electric-only range of 37 miles before the gas engine kicks in.

With a widely accessible F Sport package, 20-inch wheels are introduced as an option. Although these wheels have the potential to make the ride feel less smooth, the inclusion of adaptive dampers helps to mitigate this effect. While the NX may not be particularly sporty in any configuration, it does offer a well-balanced and composed ride.

Emphasizing refinement over spaciousness, the interior of the NX prioritizes a quiet and well-appointed ambiance. However, it is worth noting that both the back seat and cargo area are relatively compact in size. Lexus equips the NX with an abundance of crash-avoidance technology, going beyond the offerings of many competitors.

Notably, the NX is equipped with adaptive cruise control, further enhancing its safety features. Recognized as a Top Safety Pick+ by the IIHS, the NX demonstrates its commitment to providing top-notch safety standards.

DESIGN

The design of this vehicle exudes an air of intrigue from every angle. At the forefront, a commanding grille takes center stage, enhanced by generous intakes situated just below its intricate headlights. While the side profile may seem conventional at first glance, Lexus has skillfully incorporated captivating contours and angles, adding to its overall allure.

With its captivating Cadmium Orange exterior color, the hybrid model instantly catches the eye, further enhanced by its striking 20-inch dark gray metallic wheels that add to its overall appeal. As you step into the NX, you’ll be greeted by a spacious 14-inch touchscreen display thoughtfully placed within reach for both drivers and passengers to enjoy.

While Lexus primarily utilizes molded plastics as materials, they compensate for it by offering a wide range of vibrant colors to enhance the overall visual appeal. It’s worth mentioning that Lexus exclusively provides synthetic alternatives since genuine leather is not available. Moreover, this second-smallest SUV from Lexus boasts a stylish and modern interior design, further adding to its allure.

Characterized by ample support and standard power adjustment features, the front seats offer a comfortable experience. In contrast, taller passengers may encounter some confinement in the rear seat, which poses a challenge when accommodating three adults side by side.

With the second row in place, the NX offers a convenient 22.6 cubic feet of cargo space. Extending the capacity to 46.9 cubic feet is achieved by folding down the rear seat. Although this surpasses the cargo space of a sedan, it leans towards the smaller side for an SUV of this magnitude. However, an advantageous aspect is that the presence of hybrid batteries does not obstruct the cargo area.

In the NX, a consistent presence of soft-touch materials enhances the tactile experience, offering a delightful touch. The synthetic leather upholstery deserves recognition for its impressive imitation of genuine leather, delivering a comparable feel. Additionally, those who prefer genuine leather can also opt for this choice.

PERFORMANCE

Among the assortment of trims offered for the NX, the NX 450h+ plug-in hybrid emerges as the most appealing choice for a powertrain. This specific variant boasts a 2.5-liter plug-in hybrid electric engine that delivers a seamless and commanding performance. Generating a combined output of 304 horsepower, the electric motor provides the anticipated smooth and effortless acceleration commonly associated with plug-in hybrid vehicles (PHEVs).

Additionally, according to EPA estimates, the electric-only range of the NX 450h+ spans approximately 37 miles. Demonstrating exceptional fuel efficiency, this plug-in hybrid electric vehicle (PHEV) attains an impressive rating of 84 MPG-e, measured in miles-per-gallon equivalent. Moreover, the NX comes equipped with a tow package, granting it the capability to haul loads of up to 2,000 pounds.

With a substantial powertrain overhaul, the NX has undergone a notable shift in dynamics, transforming from being one of the less powerful compact crossovers to emerging as one of the most formidable on paper. Nevertheless, it is crucial to acknowledge that its primary focus is not centered around performance. The 450h+ plug-in hybrid iteration merges power with considerable weight, whereas the softly suspended NX places a higher emphasis on delivering a comfortable ride.

Lacking feedback, the steering in the NX fails to deliver a sense of connection, while Sport mode only intensifies effort without enhancing engagement, resulting in an ineffective experience. Nevertheless, the anticipated comfort of the ride prevails, supported by the adaptive suspension system that effectively reduces roughness, notwithstanding occasional impact harshness caused by the larger wheels.

Opting for the Hybrid powertrain demonstrates its superiority, exceeding the previous model in refinement and offering significant advantages in fuel economy, despite its resemblances to other vehicles. Enhancing the overall driving experience, the 450h+ plug-in hybrid stands out with its smooth and instantaneous low-end power, positioning it as the top selection for individuals seeking an ideal blend of performance and fuel efficiency.

VERDICT

Setting itself apart from its counterparts, the NX achieves a fine equilibrium between the features offered by competitors that are neither too large nor too small.

Take, for example, the comparison between the NX and BMW’s X1 and X3 models, where the NX showcases its competitive edge. Similarly, alternatives such as Mercedes-Benz’s GLA and GLC can be considered, yet the NX presents an appealing choice.

While the Infiniti QX50 presents a direct challenge to the NX with its advanced technology, its turbo-4 engine fails to deliver a comparable level of excitement. On the other hand, the Volvo XC40 garners recognition for its striking design and upscale electric vehicle variant, albeit at a higher price point.

Making its entry into the market is the Mazda CX-50, which offers numerous high-quality features reminiscent of Lexus, albeit at a slightly more affordable price. However, it falls short in terms of excessive noise.

Written By
More from Angel Mosqueda
2017 Toyota Tacoma TRD Pro
The Toyota Tacoma has been synonymous with off-roading capabilities, and is already...
Read More
0 replies on “2023 Lexus NX 450h Luxury”