Parkers overall rating: 4.1 out of 5 4.1
  • Plug-in offers genuine turn of pace
  • Regular hybrid not slow, but a bit loud
  • Automatic only

Plug-in hybrid engine

The 450h+ uses a 2.5-litre petrol engine and is paired up to electric motors and a large battery pack sitting under the floor.

The engine and one electric motor drive the front wheels, while a separate motor drives the rears – giving the NX an electric four-wheel drive system.

Total system output is a very healthy 309hp and 227Nm of torque. The electric motors make for good get-up-and-go from a standstill, so the NX 450h+ will get from 0-62mph in just 6.3 seconds.

And being a plug-in hybrid, it’ll run as a pure electric vehicle if the batteries are topped up. Lexus claims a 42-mile electric range on mixed roads, or up to 55 miles of purely urban mileage. That’s just slightly better than the Range Rover Evoque PHEV’s 41-mile mixed figure and it’s significantly more than the 34 miles that the BMW X3 xDrive30e can muster.

Charging takes around two hours and 45 minutes using a home wallbox.

Running on electricity can often display refinement issues – with no engine to drown out wind and road noise it becomes more prominent. That’s no issue with the NX, which remains impressively silent whether the engine’s off or on. Even switching into Sport mode doesn’t make things too raucous.

Hybrid engine

The 350h uses the same 2.5-litre petrol engine, except it’s not paired with an electric motor that can drive up to 42 miles on its own. It can only do about a mile or so, but you of course don’t need to plug it in.

Output is 241hp and 0-62mph is dealt with in 7.7 seconds for the four-wheel drive model and 8.7 for the front-wheel drive car.

Without the big battery this model is a lot louder, especially under harsh acceleration. This is mostly due to the kind of gearbox it deploys. When pushed hard the revs don’t have a natural eb and flow and it sounds like it constantly needs to change gear.

In town driving you don’t notice it, but it is grating when accelerating onto a motorway.

What’s it like to drive?

  • Easy going
  • Firm and supportive ride
  • Peppy performance

All NX models come with an automatic gearbox. This in some way highlights that this car is made for ease.

It succeeds too. Slip it into Drive and waft away in pure silence thanks to the electric power.

The gearbox takes some getting used to as it doesn’t have traditional gears. But there are paddles connected to the steering wheel that you can use to mimic gear changes. They do an ok job but it’s probably best to just the gearbox do its own thing.

Don’t let those paddles make you think the Lexus NX is a sporty SUV, though. Its focus – even in models covered in ‘F Sport’ branding – is on comfort and ease of driving.

The handling reflects this, as it’s tidy and precise but far from engaging. The Lexus feels bigger and heavier on a b-road than a BMW X3 for example.

Ride quality is worth noting. F-Sport cars have adaptive dampers which can change how firm the car is. The harder the suspension, the tidier it handles. The softer it is, the better it deals with potholes. Even in its hardest setting it handles everything smoothly.

Cars without this system also deal with Britain’s awful roads well, but large bumps do cause vibrations to creep into the cabin.