Lexus cars have a particular way of being themselves and this is known as the “Lexus experience”. And if you want to get your hands on a Lexus SUV, your most accessible option is the Lexus NX300h. Does it cut any corners on the Lexus experience that it is expected to deliver? And what is it exactly that you are getting for the money that you are spending on this car? Let’s get to the answers.
Let’s start with the design. The Lexus NX has a lot of it! There’s so much going on all around the car with sharp lines, cuts and creases and there’s such an intense interplay of reflections and shadows but still, the NX pulls it off and looks fantastic. With design elements like the massive front grille, you can spot an NX from miles away and that’s a good thing for those who like to stand out of the crowd, a crowd of German SUVs to be specific.
Once you are inside, you may not be immediately impressed with the interiors. This is because the NX has been around for quite some time now and it has started to show its age. While other cars have moved on to touch-based controls for almost everything, the NX still sticks to the good-old analogue controls. But, if you’re like me and you like having physical buttons, well, grab the NX while you can.Lexus NX300h. (Photo: Manav Sinha/News18.com)
There’s no holding back in terms of quality, though, as the NX feels properly premium. It even has a clock in the dash and that never goes out of style, does it?Lexus NX300h. (Photo: Manav Sinha/News18.com)
However, if you spend some time in the cabin, you realise that the NX is loaded to the brim with features.
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The seats, as well as the steering wheel of the NX, can be electrically adjustable and you also get features like a Heads-Up Display (HUD), cooled and heated seats for both the front passengers, wireless charging, a heated functionality for the steering wheel, 8 airbags, and you also get a powered tailgate which can be customized to the height that it opens to.
This brings us to the boot space and it’s not very practical due to the full-size spare wheel that it has. You can pop down the rear seats for more space, and the process of folding the seats down can be done through buttons which makes it convenient. What makes it even more convenient is that the buttons for this are located in the boot, on the sides of the rear seat which means it is accessible to rear-seat passengers, and it is there next to the steering wheel too which means it can be done by the driver as well. It’s the little things like these that I love about Lexus cars.
What also stands out is the Mark Levinson audio system which, in short, is absolutely fantastic.
What’s not so fantastic is the fact that it gets a 10.3-inch infotainment display but this is not a touchscreen unit. In order to use it and go through the menu controls, you have to use a trackpad. Now, this has excellent haptic and touch response and is adjustable for sensitivity as well and is of very high quality, but one might still find it outdated in the sea of brilliant touchscreens that are out there right now.Lexus NX300h. (Photo: Manav Sinha/News18.com)
The instrument cluster is customizable, but is again, showing its age. The small 4.2-inch MID along with the steering wheel buttons and the overall cockpit design as a whole is in need of a refresh, to be honest. The car even has a CD player in this day and age and whether you find that cool or not, is something you have to decide. For me, I find it very cool.
At the back, the first thing that is evident is that you sit quite high in the NX300h and that gives you great visibility out in the front. There’s a lot of light that comes into the cabin and the large panoramic glass roof helps with that too. And while the seating is comfortable for sure, people taller than 6 feet will not like to be in there for long as the headroom will simply be not enough for them.
What the NX does makeup with and does so rather splendidly is with the way it drives. Yes, it’s got the magic carpet ride quality which Lexus cars are known for. It doesn’t matter if you are experiencing it from the front seats or the rear seats, the NX feels like it glides over everything. And again, it’s the little things that take the experience to the next level, things like just how well insulated the cabin is from outside noises and how surprisingly quick the auto headlamp sensors are to respond which you notice when you enter places like an underpass. Little things.Lexus NX300h. (Photo: Manav Sinha/News18.com)
The driving experience can be customized to a great extent as you can choose from five driving modes, including a custom setup, which alters the engine, gearbox, suspension and even how the AC performs. And don’t forget, the NX is a hybrid – that is what the ‘H’ in its name stands for. And the car can drive only on electric motors at low speeds as well.Lexus NX300h. (Photo: Manav Sinha/News18.com)
Powering the NX is a massive 2.5-litre, 4-cylinder engine, which combined with the motors, has a combined output of 195 hp and 210 Nm of torque. And while the NX is best driven with a light foot, if you do want to get sporty with it, you’ll love just how good the suspension and the chassis work together in almost all conditions.
So to sum it all up, the Lexus NX300h is not the most practical of the bunch and is meant for those who like to drive their own cars rather than being driven around in. Even better for those who drive and stick to city driving conditions, not really go off-road that much, and want a premium SUV experience in a not so oversized package. If these are the criteria that you are fulfilling with your next car, then you will find that the NX300h is a great option. The fact that it has the butter smooth Lexus ride quality that Lexus cars are known for and is loaded to the brim with features, is an added bonus. I think this is one of the best-looking cars in the segment as well. Yes, the price tag might come across as a little bit expensive at first but it justifies its value pretty well..
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