Driven: New Plug-In Hybrid Lexus NX 450h Compact SUV – Forbes
Lexus NX450h PHEV
The last time I experienced the Lexus NX was in February 2020, moments before the pandemic altered our world. We were on a family vacation in the Lake District, driving and hiking this glorious part of the country where the English Romantics wrote their most delicate prose and where Beatrix Potter imagined the imaginative characters for her timeless children’s novels, blissfully unaware of what was about to happen.
Two and a half years on, and as the world begins to find a certain balance, I’ve been loaned the latest iteration of the NX — the Japanese marque’s medium-sized lux SUV. The model sent to me is the 450h+ PHEV Takumi, the latter being something Lexus is keen to expand on, but more on this later.
The NX is now in its second generation, having been re-engineered and restyled to meet today’s … [+]
The NX is now in its second generation, having been re-engineered and restyled to meet today’s needs. Much like our drive in the Lakes, this plug-in hybrid electric hasn’t needed much refueling. In fact, despite using the car daily for our commutes, shopping and family visits outside the city, we have only refueled once.
Lexus says as much as 95% of the vehicle’s parts are new, including the electrified powertrain. And the figures are impressive: 305bhp, combined CO2 emissions between 20 and 26g/km and 43 to 47 miles EV combined driving range — rising to 55 to 61 miles in the urban cycle.
The spindle grille is central to the design theme, a distinctive feature to identify the NX as a Lexus in what is otherwise a cookie-cutter SUV market. This car sees the grille receive a new mesh pattern with U-shaped blocks that create a more robust three-dimensional look. On my model, the same U-motif can be seen in the design of the Takumi grade alloy wheel.
The characteristic spindle grille helps identify the NX as a Lexus in what is otherwise a … [+]
The higher grade NX cars, like this Takumi model, receive four-projector LED headlights with adaptive high-beam tech, a superior technology for driving in the dark, especially in country lanes. Meanwhile, at the rear, a new L-shaped light cluster and the marque’s signature blade lighting spanning the vehicle’s width help distinguish the NX from behind. A final touch sees the emblem on the tailgate be replaced with the name Lexus in capital letters. It’s meant to strengthen brand identity, but I’m not convinced it’s necessary to spell things out so literally.
There are lots of lovely little touches as you step inside the car. The cabin sees the most notable design revisions to be a much calmer and less cluttered space. I’m particularly drawn to the smooth, simple door handles inspired by the Japanese home’s traditional shoji sliding room dividers. This NX also debuts a new easy-to-navigate multimedia platform — an aspect that was slightly flawed in previous Lexus cars. And it benefits from the company’s latest active safety features, which significantly help navigate London’s chaotic roads.
The Lexus NX cabin is a fine space to occupy</…….