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2020 NX 300h: Lexus Luxury Hybrid SUV

By Arv Voss, November 16th, 2019

Lexus offers several versions of the NX luxury compact utility crossover, including the Lexus NX 300h hybrid.

-- OVERVIEW

Lexus lays claim to pioneering the car-based luxury crossover category with the RX 300 launched back in 1998. The NX is indicative of an evolution in the segment created by the RX 300. NX models are larger, heavier, and quicker, with greater fuel economy than that first midsize RX. The compact NX is also more structurally sound with an increased use of high-tensile steel, screw welding, and adhesives in production.

-- HYBRID PROPULSION

Power for the Lexus NX 300h borrows the 2.5-liter four-cylinder Atkinson-cycle engine from the Lexus ES 300h. Horsepower is 154 at 5,700 rpm with 258 lb.-ft. of torque at 4,400 rpm.

The Lexus Hybrid Power system is a series/parallel system with gas engine, high-voltage battery, and electric motors. Total system horsepower is 194 and energy is transmitted to the full-time all-weather AWD system via an electronically controlled continuously variable transmission.

-- ALLURING STYLE

The 2020 Lexus NX 300h displays a highly emotional overall design with sharp lines and angles in a condensed mass featuring a dramatic diamond-shaped body style that leads off with Lexus' signature grille flanked by sharp, thin geometric headlamps and arrowhead-shaped LED running/directional lights. The windscreen is sharply raked rearward over a rear-slanted roof that ends with an integrated spoiler.

-- AS TESTED

My test 2020 Lexus NX 300h was a front-wheel-drive version and came with a base price of $39,720. The exterior was Blue Vortex metallic finish, while the interior was executed in black with faux carbon fiber trim accents.

-- PERFORMANCE

The 2020 Lexus NX 300h is a stellar entry into the compact luxury crossover camp. The steering wheel was inspired by the Lexus LFA in its shape and feel, and fits the car's demeanor in terms of handling attributes and characteristics, which are spot on, delivering a planted, stable, and comfortable ride quality.

The interior ambience and luxuriousness is its strong suit. Fit and finish are well above entry-level standards, reflecting an old-world craftsmanship quality.

-- COMFORT AND CONVENIENCE

The 7-inch multimedia display features a touchpad located in the center console with haptic adjustable feedback, providing familiar pinch, stretch, pinch, and drag, as well as double-tap functions, similar to a laptop computer. The rear cargo cover may be folded in half, and is able to fit under the rear storage compartment with the spare tire.

A full suite of available active safety feature includes lane departure warning, blind spot warning, rear cross-traffic alert, adaptive cruise control, and pre-collision braking. An enhanced Lexus Enform app allows setting speed or distance limits for a guest driver, and is great for monitoring and controlling teenaged drivers. Another high-tech feature is the wireless charging of Qi-equipped electronic devices. So many features abound in the entire Lexus NX lineup that space prevents listing them all here. Of course, options are available for personalization and enhancement.

-- THE BOTTOM LINE

In the final analysis, the 2020 Lexus NX 300h five-door SUV is suited to play a leading role with its focus on appealing to a more youthful market, and the Lexus team has nailed it. It is exceptionally good-looking, performs well, and represents a good value, while delivering respectable mileage with its hybrid system.

Specifications

Base price $39,070 (as tested: $49,902)
Curb weight 4,180 lbs.
Displacement 2.5-liter
Engine type Atkinson Cycle 4-cyl. + Lexus Hybrid System
Epa mileage rating 35 mpg city, 31 mpg highway
Fuel capacity 14.8 gal.
Horsepower (net) 154 at 5700 rpm
Overall length 182.7 in.
Torque (lb.-ft.) 258 at 4400 rpm
Transmission CVT
Vehicle type 5-passenger FWD CUV
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