2022 Lexus NX 350h | Review & Road Test
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This compact premium crossover seats five and this version that I’m testing is the hybrid AWD. Lexus also has a base 250, the 350 without the hybrid as well as a 450+, which is a plug-in hybrid and a first for the high-end Toyota cousin.
Up front I’m comfortable, no issues here with leg or head room. My elbows are pleased with the position of the arm rests because I’ve got a lot of the extras on this car. When I get into the back, I’m still okay for my dangerously average lady height, but the middle seat isn’t somewhere I’d like to sit for an extended period of time. Head room is good, even with the sloped roofline and overall the comfort back here very satisfactory.
Speaking of some of those extras, let’s dig into the stuff in the interior. Standard on all NX models you’ll find push button start, dual zone climate control, power adjustable heated front seats and a leather trimmed steering wheel.
A 9.8-inch touchscreen as well as wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto and the Lexus Safety System that includes adaptive cruise control with a curve speed management feature as well as blind spot monitoring and emergency braking assist.
It also gets a fair amount of cargo space for a vehicle this compact (46.9 cu-ft/22.7 cu-ft). That’s less than the RDX but about in line with the XT4.
The base 250 gets a 2.5L 4-cylinder engine (203 hp/184 lb-ft torque). That 250 comes with either front or AWD. Move up to the 350 AWD and you’ll get a boost in power with a turbo (275 hp/317 lb ft torque). The 450h+ AWD gets an electric drive motor with the 2.5L that gets you a cumulative 304 horsepower.
I’m driving one that’s in between those, which is the 350h, the hybrid that’s not a plug in. This one gets that base 2.5-liter 4-cylinder engine, but I also get the hybrid electric drive. That gets me from 0-60 in 7.2 seconds. In the scheme of things, that’s not super quick, but it’s improved over the previous NX model.
The hybrid powertrains all get the same 14.9 gallon gas tank but thanks to that hybrid motor you’re going to see greatly improved fuel economy numbers. (NX 250 26 city/33 hwy; NX 350h 41 city/37 hwy). If you get the more powerful 350 you will take a hit at the gas pump. (22 city/25 hwy) But the plug-in 450+ will really change things up (84 eMPG combined)
It’s paired to a CVT that’s effective, but painfully loud. It has stopped conversations and someone I was on the phone with me asked what that noise was. CVTs are getting better, but this one is not one of those quite yet. It’s still obtrusive and droning and for a premium car, I expect more.
I get paddles if I want to change the gears myself, but the non-hybrid versions have 8-speed transmissions and those should perform better for you.
Brakes are good but bite at the top of the pedal. Would like something more smooth and progressive. Shifter feels unintuitive and backward. D should be forward and R back.
The NX now rides on the global TNGA-K platform that underpins the Camry, Highlander and RAV4 as well as the Lexus ES. The suspension under the NX is a MacPherson strut set up in the front and a trailing arm double wishbone in the rear, but it’s not cutting the mustard for me.
It’s not as smooth or compliant as I think a car in a premium segment should be.
It handles okay around turns, but there is definitely torque steer and if you do manage to take a turn too quickly the NX feels as though it reaches its limit quickly.
To me, the Acura RDX handles corners with more composure and is a better overall driving experience. I will say that the steering feels good and the size of the steering wheel in my hand is just right.
Pricing on the Lexus NX starts on the 250 at $39,025, (Add AWD for: $1600) that doesn’t include taxes, license or destination fees. The 350h starts at $42,125, and the plug-in 450+ starts much higher at around $56,800.
There are so many options when it comes to a premium crossover and not just brands anymore, but hybrid and electric choices. The Lexus NX comes with great powertrain options, and excellent standard feature set and improved interior design over the previous model. If you’re in the market don’t envy you, you have your work cut out for you.
00:00 2022 Lexus NX
5:26 Engine Options
5:55 Driving Impressions