- Very comfortable with impressive ride quality
- Generously equipped across the range
- Likely to be very reliable and cheap to run
- Plug-in hybrid Lexus NX 450h+ is pricey
- Still very new so few deals available
- Giant 14-inch media system won't be to everyone's taste
As you'll read in our full Lexus NX review, this model is set to build on the surprising success of its predecessor. It's grown in dimensions, of course, while the big news is the addition of a plug-in hybrid model – a first for Lexus.
Set to rival the likes of the Mercedes GLC, BMW X3, Audi Q5, Jaguar F-Pace, Volvo XC60 and stave off fresh competition in the form of the Genesis GV70, the new Lexus NX has retained its rather conservative image. That's bad news if you're buying a premium SUV because you want to be noticed, but if you're happy to go about your business in quiet comfort, the Lexus NX could be the SUV for you.
The changes are a bit more obvious inside. At the centre of the dashboard of our Lexus NX F Sport test car is a huge 14-inch tablet-like infotainment system. That's a bold move when we still hear from Lexus owners appreciating their in-built CD players, but you needn't be too worried. It's really easy to operate, while Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are both standard meaning you can peruse your Spotify playlists while you're out and about.
Despite the mega touchscreen display, the cabin of the Lexus NX has retained its functionality. There are still a comforting amount of buttons dotted about, including knobs for adjusting the temperature of the climate control. The wide, supportive seats will keep you feeling fresh on the longest of journeys, while the high seating position provides a good view of your surroundings.
There are three core models available: Lexus NX, F Sport and Takumi. All are well equipped, while there are also optional Premium and Premium Plus Packs available. The latter makes the Lexus NX feel particularly opulent, with features like heated and ventilated seats, smooth leather upholstery and customisable ambient lighting with no fewer than 64 colours.
As you'd expect for one of the original ambassadors of hybrid tech, you can't buy the Lexus NX with a diesel engine. The options are the Lexus NX 350h 'self-charging' hybrid or – as we touched on above – a Lexus NX 450h+ plug-in hybrid. Both use a 2.5-litre petrol engine combined with a pair of electric motors to provide four-wheel drive and low running costs.
A hefty price premium for the plug-in hybrid means the majority of private buyers are likely to opt for the Lexus NX 350h in the first instance (at least until the NX 450h+ trickles down onto the used market). It's a 'self-charging' hybrid, so you don't have to plug it in to extract the best from it. It juggles its two power sources very impressively, with the NX 350h able to creep away in silence before the 2.5-litre petrol engine kicks in.
If you want to travel further on electric power, you'll need to look at the Lexus NX 450h+ plug-in hybrid. Its electric range of up to 47 miles is quite impressive, and more than enough for covering a short commute or the school run. It's pretty quick, too, with enough power on hand to make for easy, relaxing progress. Emphasis on 'relaxing' – that's what the Lexus NX is all about. It's the kinda car that isolates you from the outside world and won't stress you when it comes to servicing and maintenance, either. It's appropriate, then, that it comes with the brand's Relax warranty, which means you're covered for up to 10 years/100,000 miles if you have the car serviced at Lexus dealerships.
While any premium SUV is an extravagant purchase to an extent, the Lexus NX is a relatively sensible choice. Sure, you could save money and buy a Toyota RAV4, but the NX feels special enough that you can't tell it shares mechanical bits with the Toyota. Prices are no higher than competitors (although the plug-in hybrid NX 450h+ commands a painful premium) but, if you're on a budget, we'd recommend waiting until you can pick up a used Lexus NX.
Looking for a used car for sale? We've got 100s of Lexus Approved Used Cars for Sale for you to choose from, including a wide range of Lexus NX cars for sale. Looking for the old Lexus NX? You'll need our Lexus NX (2014-2022) review.
Is the Lexus NX right for you?
If you're looking for a slightly left-field competitor to the best SUVs around, the Lexus NX is an excellent choice. You don't really lose out in terms of standard equipment or interior quality (it feels just as upmarket as competitors) and it also has the advantage of two very efficient hybrid engines. Sure, it's quite expensive (but so are rivals) and you'll get more space if you're willing to compromise on the premium badge. It's cheap to run, though and Lexus has a legendary reliability record.
What’s the best Lexus NX model/engine to choose?
Deciding between the Lexus NX 350h and NX 450h+ depends on your requirements. If you're looking for hassle-free motoring, without the need to plug the car in, go for the Lexus NX 350h. It's a very efficient choice with little effort and also has a significant price advantage over the NX 450h+ plug-in hybrid.
If you cover a lot of short journeys, have the ability (and desire) to charge a car at home and the idea of silent running appeals, push the budget for the NX 450h+. It's also quicker than the NX 350h, if that matters.
In terms of trim levels, again, it probably comes down to your personal desires. We've only sampled the Lexus NX F Sport but we suspect it'll be at its best in a more comfort-minded trim. The NX Takumi is the most desirable model, in our eyes, but it's not cheap...
What other cars are similar to the Lexus NX?
While Lexus might have been the original hybrid premium brand, there's now no shortage of very impressive electrified competitors. The Volvo XC60, BMW X3, Audi Q5, Jaguar F-Pace and Mercedes GLC are all available with some sort of hybrid power.
You may also want to look at the new Genesis GV70 (if you're in the market for an SUV that'll stand out from the crowd), while, if you're not fussed about a premium badge, there are some excellent mainstream competitors. These include the Hyundai Santa Fe, the excellent Kia Sorento and even the NX's close relation, the Toyota RAV4.
It's a very chunky cabin. By that, we mean the dashboard is a big, upright affair (it has to be to accommodate the huge infotainment screen – we'll come onto that in a moment). There are enough tactile buttons to ensure you don't have to operate everything via the touchscreen display, while a wide centre console means there won't be any awkward arm bashing between the driver and front-seat passenger.
You'll no doubt find it very comfortable, too. We found the leather seats of our Lexus NX F Sport test car to be very supportive, with no hint of an ache or pain after an extended period behind the wheel.
You sit high up, which adds to the feeling of invincibility you get in the NX's cabin, while the level of seat adjustment depends on which specification you go for. The most basic Lexus NX 'makes do' with six-way manually adjustable front seats, while the F Sport and Takumi trims feature eight-way power adjustment. The F Sport gets two-way power-adjustable lumbar support, while the Takumi gets four.
One feature we particularly like is the LED ambient lighting. Standard on the Lexus NX F Sport and Takumi, it comes with a choice of 64 colours, allowing you to customise the interior as you fancy. Another highlight – standard only on Takumi models (optional on the NX F Sport) – is the digital rear-view mirror. This is very useful for seeing what's going on behind you when your view would ordinarily be blocked by passengers in the back or flat-pack boxes.
Quality and finish
If you're splashing £50,000 (or more) on a premium SUV, you want it to feel a bit special. And the new Lexus NX certainly ticks that box.
Standard NX models come with artificial leather seats, while pricier trim levels come with actual cow skin. A leather gear shift lever is standard across the range, while spec-dependent inlays brighten up the dash.
Everything feels well finished and there isn't a flimsy finish to be found in the cab of the NX. Going by older Lexus models, we have no doubt that it will still be feeling fresh years down the line – the brand's reputation for dependability extends to the quality of its cabins.
Infotainment: Touchscreen, USB, nav and stereo in the Lexus NX
If you want evidence that the Lexus NX has moved on significantly compared to its predecessor, look no further than the infotainment.
High-spec models come with Lexus Link Pro, a huge 14-inch HD touchscreen navigation system. If you prefer a TomTom stuck on the dash and a CD player providing your tunes, you'll hate it, but it's actually one of the more intuitive systems we've used. It's quick, too, while you can shout 'hey Lexus' at it when it would be too distracting to scroll through menus on the move.
Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are standard which means you can mirror apps from your phone onto the car's in-built display. On lower-spec Lexus NX models, you'll find a smaller (but not actually that small) 9.8-inch display which we're yet to sample.
Space and practicality: Lexus NX boot space
The Lexus NX is slightly bigger than its predecessor at 4660mm long, 1865mm wide (with the mirrors folded) and 1670mm tall, so, unsurprisingly, it's a bit more spacious inside.
The boot can handle 545 litres of luggage, which is pretty standard for a premium SUV of this size (the BMW X3, Mercedes GLC and Audi Q5 can all take 550 litres). Lexus knows its market, saying that the NX's boot is big enough for three golf bags or two large suitcases. If you need a bit more space, you might be better looking at a mainstream alternative like the Kia Sorento.
Front-seat passengers aren't going to have any gripes with the space on offer in the Lexus NX. You sit high up (not something that can be taken for granted in all SUVs), while there's a wide centre console separating the driver and passenger. There's a decent amount of storage under the centre armrest, while two chunky cup holders will prevent any awkward spillages.
There's a reasonable amount of room in the rear, while the seatbacks can be reclined for extra comfort. That's a bit of a novelty in this class.