2017 Lexus NX 300h is Hybrid Luxury Worth Having

2017 Lexus NX 300h

The Lexus NX 300h is the only hybrid compact luxury crossover on the market, but that doesn’t mean that Toyota’s luxury arm has gotten lazy with it. Styling is a key element in the luxury segments and the NX carries that well, along with a top-shelf interior and solid fuel economy.

The manufacturer says

Behind its cutting-edge style, the NX 300h leans on 7th-gen hybrid technology to yield a class-leading combined 31-MPG* estimate. With available Wi-Fi™* and 10.3-inch multimedia screen, this is our most advanced NX ever.

Specs:

  • Manufacturer: Lexus
  • Year, Model: 2017 NX 300h
  • Class, Type: Compact luxury crossover
  • Propulsion system: Gasoline-electric
  • Base Price: $39,720
  • MSRP as tested: $50,433
  • Availability: Now

Overview

The 2017 NX 300h sees a few changes from its previous model year, though design and powerplant remain the same. The most notable changes are that the NX 300h is now all-wheel drive only and a new Scout GPS Link navigation app comes with the vehicle, streaming from a smartphone to work with the in-car infotainment.

The 2017 Lexus NX 300h is otherwise the same excellent compact crossover it’s been since its introduction. It’s chief strengths are in its hybrid, but not boring personality and beautiful interior quality. A quiet, well-done interior is a high point of any Lexus vehicle and the NX definitely carries that forward. Seating is well-done and very comfortable.

The NX 300h comes in one well-equipped trim level with a few package and ala carte options that can be added on. Most of those options are driver assistance technologies (collision mitigation, adaptive cruise control) and in-vehicle navigation (no smartphone required). Some apps are added with the Remote Touch infotainment upgrade.

The 2017 NX 300h is powered by a 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine and three electric motors tied to a nickel-metal hydride (NiMH) battery pack. The engine and motors together produce a total of 194 horsepower in all-wheel drive. The motors are configured to act as an engine-assist for the front axle, power to the rear axle, and one as a starter-generator.

Speed is not the forte of the 2017 Lexus NX 300h, but it’s no slouch and will get up to speed and make the pass without much fuss. Where the NX 300h excels, of course, is in fuel economy. The 2017 model is EPA-rated at 31 mpg combined, with 33 mpg in the city and 30 mpg on the highway. In the real world, we nearly matched that with a 30 mpg overall rating after about 200 miles of driving during our week with the NX 300h. The closest competitors with similar fuel economy are both diesel-powered and more expensive.

Safety and crash testing for the 2017 NX 300h found it to be excellent on that front as well, with a five-star overall rating from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and a top score of “Good” for all tests conducted by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS).

What we like

Excellent fuel economy for the class.

Wonderful interior experience with plenty of comfort and class.

What we don't

Small cargo area can mean less utility.

Not as quick on the draw for speed as some rivals.

Conclusions

The 2017 Lexus NX 300h is an excellent compact crossover for the luxury segment. As the only hybrid option, it has a lot of appeal for its fuel economy and lower price point compared to diesel-powered rivals. An impeccable interior and smart drive quality are also high points. This is a true Lexus that encompasses the hybrid technology Toyota is well known for.

Test Period Length and Limitations
The 2017 Lexus NX 300h was a manufacturer’s press loan for about a week, during which time we put about 200 miles on the vehicle in early fall/winter conditions with varied passenger loads.

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