The second era of the Lexus NX, the brand’s compact luxury SUV, would not look a complete lot totally different than the primary, however there are substantive modifications beneath the sheetmetal. Nowhere is that more true than with the brand new NX450h+ plug-in-hybrid variant.
The reworked NX exterior is not fairly the riot of creased sheetmetal that its predecessor’s was, though it nonetheless eschews the smooth minimalism of, say, the Volvo XC60. The NX once more presents a pinched face to the world, with its double-angled grille and checkmark-shaped operating lights.
The inside is barely roomier than earlier than, though small home windows diminish that impression. Typical of Lexus, all inside touchpoints, beginning with the steering-wheel leather-based, have a top quality really feel. Talking of touchpoints, each the outside and inside door handles are digital, popping open with a mild press (similar to a Corvette!); the within handles are also routinely disabled if a car or bike owner is approaching on that facet. Like so many Toyota hybrids, the NX450h+ has a stubby digital shifter with an uncommon double-J shift sample, though an proprietor would doubtless develop accustomed to that oddity.
Lexus is lastly transferring away from its distant touchpad infotainment interface, and the brand new NX has a touchscreen as an alternative. Grandly sized at 14.0 inches (a 9.8-inch model seems in lesser trims), the show seems to be nice, however regardless of all that actual property, it might present two features directly solely when smartphone mirroring. Each Android Auto and Apple CarPlay are wi-fi, and Apple Music and Amazon Music are built-in throughout the system. Wi-fi smartphone charging is an choice and is paired with digital-key performance. As is typical, the interface would profit from just a few extra bodily controls past merely a tiny quantity knob and two knobs for cabin temperature. And there is nowhere to relaxation your hand when making an attempt to hit the right touchpoints on the big display screen (for audio tuning, say, or adjusting the fan pace). Nor are we followers of the steering wheel’s multimode four-way buttons, which have two units of features, which means there is a 50 p.c probability they don’t seem to be within the mode you want.
HIGHS: Simply outhustles the opposite NX variants, genuinely helpful EV vary, 36 mpg general.
The large information with this era, nevertheless, is beneath the floor with that new plug-in-hybrid powertrain, which joins the naturally aspirated base engine, turbocharged uplevel engine, and common hybrid. All are four-cylinders. With 302 horsepower, the plug-in NX450h+ is the clear alpha canine amongst its siblings.
The powertrain is actually lifted from the Toyota RAV4 Prime (the 2 vehicles share a platform). It makes use of the identical 2.5-liter naturally aspirated 4 as within the base NX250 and the usual hybrid, the NX350h. (The nonhybrid NX350 has a turbocharged 2.4-liter 4.) Electrical motors help the gasoline engine and are the only motive supply for the rear wheels, offering all-wheel-drive functionality.
An 18.1-kWh lithium-ion battery pack feeds the motors. That substantial battery affords a hefty 37 miles of EV vary, per the EPA—or 33 miles on the freeway in our testing (similar because the RAV4 Prime). The one different plug-in hybrids on this class are the XC60 T8 Recharge, the Lincoln Corsair Grand Touring, and the Audi Q5 55 TFSI e. The Volvo got a larger battery pack for 2022 that upped its vary to 35 miles, however the Lincoln is sweet for less than 28 miles and the Audi simply 23.
Our tester was fitted with the non-compulsory 6.6-kW onboard charger, which drops full recharge time from 4.5 to simply 2.5 hours utilizing a 240-volt energy supply. On paper, it is an $800 choice, however Lexus tells us that each NX450h+ offered within the U.S. might be geared up with this worthwhile characteristic as an alternative of the three.3-kW gear customary in different world markets.
Even when it isn’t operating as an electrical, the NX450h+ is a gasoline miser at an EPA-estimated 36 mpg general. We received 35 mpg in our 75-mph freeway fuel-economy take a look at (precisely matching the determine for the common NX hybrid).
Simply as with the RAV4 Prime, the NX450h+ simply outhustles its siblings. Whereas the common NX350h plods to 60 mph in 7.6 seconds, and the turbo-four NX350 takes 6.6 seconds, the NX450h+ wants simply 5.6 seconds. (We have not examined the bottom NX250, however that model’s 203 horsepower is the weakest within the group.) The plug-in hybrid equally stands tall once we have a look at passing occasions, zipping from 50 to 70 mph in 3.8 seconds, towards 5.0 for the common hybrid and 4.5 for the NX350. That is additionally one plug-in hybrid that, when switched into EV mode, would not wake the gasoline engine if you flooring the accelerator. The truth is, it is moderately perky as an EV when squirting round city, though its 9.4-second time to 60 mph beneath battery energy would not be thought of fast.
LOWS: Not materially faster than rivals’ turbo fours, whopping value premium over different NX fashions.
Look exterior the home windows of the Lexus dealership, although, and the NX450h+’s muscular picture fades a bit. Its 60-mph time, as an illustration, is simply 0.1 second forward of the 228-hp BMW X1. And the Lexus trails its mainstream-badged cousin, the Toyota RAV4 Prime, which rips to 60 mph in 5.4 seconds. The plug-in-hybrid Audi Q5, which bristles with 362 horsepower, is considerably faster, storming to 60 in 4.5 seconds. The Lexus simply walks away from the Corsair, however, which needs 7.0 seconds to finish that run.
As you may anticipate, the journey is posh, with some head toss the one aftereffect of an encounter with patchy pavement. Even with the 20-inch wheels which are customary right here, the 235/50R-20 tires have beneficiant sidewalls, serving to to cushion sharp-edged bumps regardless of being run-flat tires. These tires held on to the tune of 0.81 g on the skidpad, however the NX450h+ F Sport has little curiosity in brisk cornering. Tire squeal units in early, as does physique roll and understeer. This class is hardly rife with fun-to-drive choices, however the Acura RDX, the BMW X1, and even the Mazda CX-5 are all extra participating than this Lexus.
That is doubtless not a lot of a priority for NX buyers. The larger difficulty for them is whether or not the plug-in hybrid is the best alternative. At a beginning value of $57,300, the NX450h+ prices $14,600 greater than the NX350h and the same $14,200 greater than the nonhybrid NX350. (Add one other $1250 if you’d like the 450h+ F Sport trim discovered on our take a look at pattern.) If gasoline financial system is the driving concern, higher to avoid wasting that $14K and go along with the equally economical NX350h. For these searching for prime efficiency, the NX450h+ is the only option, though it might not be sporty sufficient to fulfill. The customer who’s going to be diligent about plugging in would be the one who actually makes the many of the NX450h+, given its lengthy EV driving vary. Issue the battery-powered miles into the combination, and gasoline financial system will exceed the common hybrid’s, with the much more strong acceleration a pleasant bonus. As you in all probability may have guessed, Lexus’s first plug-in solely realizes its potential and manages to be a plus should you really plug it in.
2022 Lexus NX450h+ F Sport
Car Kind: front-engine, front- and rear-motor, all-wheel-drive, 5-passenger, 4-door wagon
Base/As Examined: $58,550/$64,105
Choices: Imaginative and prescient package deal – panoramic view monitor, lane change help, entrance cross site visitors alert, $1070; triple-beam headlights w/washers and cornering lamps, $850; 6.6-kW on-board charger, $800; illuminated door and cargo sills, $760; Extremely White premium paint, $595; smartphone comfort package deal – digital key, wi-fi telephone charging, $450; exercise mount – receiver for bike mounts, and so forth. (not for towing), $390; rear and facet puddle lamps, $325; carpet cargo mat $110; rear seat common pill holder, $110; wheel locks, $95
DOHC 16-valve 2.5-liter Atkinson-cycle inline-4, 181 hp, 165 lb-ft + 3 AC motors, entrance: 179 hp, 199 lb-ft; rear: 53 hp, 89 lb-ft (mixed output: 302 hp; 18.1-kWh lithium-ion battery pack; 6.6-kW onboard charger)
Transmission: constantly variable automated
Suspension, F/R: struts/multilink
Brakes, F/R: 12.9-in vented disc/12.5-in vented disc
Tires: Bridgestone Alenza A/S 02 RFT
235/50R-20 100V M+S
Wheelbase: 105.9 in
Size: 183.5 in
Width: 73.4 in
Peak: 65.8 in
Passenger Quantity: 92 ft3
Cargo Quantity: 23 ft3
Curb Weight: 4487 lb
C/D TEST RESULTS
60 mph: 5.6 sec
1/4-Mile: 14.1 sec @ 99 mph
100 mph: 14.4 sec
130 mph: 33.9 sec
Outcomes above omit 1-ft rollout of 0.3 sec.
Rolling Begin, 5–60 mph: 6.0 sec
High Gear, 30–50 mph: 2.9 sec
High Gear, 50–70 mph: 3.8 sec
High Pace (gov): 130 mph
Braking, 70–0 mph: 179 ft
Roadholding, 300-ft Skidpad: 0.81 g
C/D FUEL ECONOMY
Noticed: 38 MPGe
75-mph Freeway Driving, EV/Hybrid Mode: 78 MPGe/35 mpg
75-mph Freeway Vary, EV/Hybrid mode: 33/500 mi
EPA FUEL ECONOMY
Mixed/Metropolis/Freeway: 36/38/33 mpg
Mixed Gasoline + Electrical energy: 84 MPGe
EV Vary: 37 mi
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