Although the 2023 Lexus NX is more than just a revamped Toyota RAV4 (its lookalike), it doesn’t live up to the same standards as the European crossovers it competes with.
To give the NX the broadest possible appeal, Lexus offers it with no less than four different powertrains, including a plug-in hybrid that makes 302 horsepower.
The problem is that none of the Lexus models are as fun to drive as rivals such as the BMW X1, which has more weight than practicality or fuel efficiency. For everyone else, the NX will no doubt serve dutifully on road trips, daily commutes, and weekend errands.
The 2023 NX has four powertrain options. The base NX250 model comes with a 203-hp 2.5-liter four-cylinder while the NX350 is powered by a 275-hp turbocharged 2.4-liter.
Both come with an eight-speed automatic, but while the NX250 can be had with either front- or all-wheel drive, the NX350 has all-wheel drive standard.
Two different hybrid options are on the menu, starting with the NX350h, which pairs two electric motors with the 2.5-liter four-cylinder for 239 horsepower. The more exciting option is the NX450h+, which borrows its 302-hp plug-in hybrid powertrain from the RAV4 Prime.
The F Sport trim comes with an adaptive suspension system that firms up the ride and delivers a bit more poise, but even so, the NX isn’t on the same footing as the BMW X1 when attacking twisty tarmac.
According to the EPA, the most fuel-efficient NX model is the hybrid NX350h, which earned ratings of 41 mpg city and 37 mpg highway. The entry-level NX250 is rated as high as 26 mpg city and 33 mpg highway and the turbocharged NX350’s highest ratings are 22 mpg city and 29 mpg highway.
The plug-in hybrid NX450h+ is rated for 38 mpg city and 33 mpg highway, and the EPA estimates its battery pack holds enough electrons to provide up to 37 miles of electric-only driving range before needing to be recharged. On a 75-mph highway fuel-economy test route, an all-wheel drive NX350 delivered 28 mpg but a hybrid NX350h returned only 34 mpg.
Cabin design takes a big leap forward in this generation of NX, with a modern look and classy materials. The NX offers one of the more spacious cabins in the luxury-subcompact crossover segment. Also, there’s slightly more passenger room in the rear seat and more cargo space with the rear seats folded than many of its rivals.
Optional features include a panoramic sunroof, heated rear seats, an ambient interior lighting system with 64 different color choices, and black open-pore wood trim.
Lexus offers a host of standard driver-assistance features in the NX. Shoppers can expect to find automated emergency braking, lane-keeping assist, and adaptive cruise control on all models.
Other safety features include; standard automated emergency braking with pedestrian detection, lane-departure warning with lane-keeping assist, and standard adaptive cruise control.
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