2016 Lexus NX 300h is eye-catching and efficient

2016 Lexus NX 300h (Aaron)

The NX series of compact crossovers entered the market last year as a promising new take on the segment. That’s paid off as this passenger-oriented crossover has won hearts and with the hybrid option, it’s become the most fuel-efficient in the class as well.

The manufacturer says

As efficient as it is stylish, the NX Hybrid offers a class-leading 31-MPG* rating, an innovative active damping control system for exceptional ride comfort, and evocative available Premium Triple-Beam LED headlamps to provide the best of all worlds.

Specs:

  • Manufacturer: Lexus
  • Year, Model: 2016 NX 300h
  • Class, Type: Luxury compact crossover
  • Propulsion system: 2.5L four and electric motors
  • Base Price: $39,720
  • MSRP as tested: $47,818
  • Availability: Now

Overview

The 2016 NX 300h is a five-seat compact luxury crossover with a hybrid powertrain that boasts the best fuel economy in its class. The non-hybrid model is the NX 200t, which features a new turbocharged engine.

The NX 300h is a well-heeled luxury crossover with a lot of excellence in its interior. The premium-quality design and comfort of a Lexus are definitely in place with this model, which features keyless ignition and entry, dual-zone climate, eight-way power front seating, premium vinyl upholstery, and a 7-inch central display screen. All as standard equipment. Several upgrade packages are available to add to this, including adding navigation with the Remote Touch interface.

Sadly, the infotainment is the greatest weak spot for the Lexus line, where the upgrade option actually makes it more difficult to use. Otherwise, this is a very well-outfitted luxury machine.

The hybrid powertrain consists of a 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine paired to two electric motors and a nickel-metal hydride battery pack. This system gives a total output of 194 horsepower in either front-wheel or all-wheel drive. The AWD upgrade adds a third motor that operates the rear axle with the same setup as the new RAV4 Hybrid.

Fuel economy ratings for this hybrid system in the 2016 Lexus NX 300h are 33 mpg combined, with 35 mpg in the city and 31 mpg on the highway. The AWD option drops those numbers by a point to 32 mpg combined, 33 city and 30 highway. In the real world, our AWD 300h was close to those numbers at 30.5 mpg after a week of driving.

On the road, the NX 300h is a smooth, well-done machine. It won’t hurry to get going, but it definitely isn’t a slouch either. Steering is responsive, the ride is smooth, and highway noise is almost non-existent. Around town, its all-electric mode is phenomenal for its quietness and smooth movement.

What we like

Excellent fuel economy and daily use qualities.

A great look with a high amount of passenger comfort.

What we don't

Lackluster infotainment.

Cargo space is smaller than many competitors.

Conclusions

The 2016 Lexus NX 300h is an excellent hybrid entry into the compact luxury crossover segment. It’s enjoyable to drive, comfortable, and gets high fuel economy. All of the things buyers in this segment should be asking for.

Test Period Length and Limitations
The NX 300h was a manufacturer’s press loan for about a week.

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