The 2015 Lexus NX300h is an all-new model this year, sharing much of its underlying architecture and size with the ever popular Toyota RAV4. It competes in the market with also new entries like the Audi Q3, BMW X1, and Mercedes Benz GLA.
It’s style is bold for Lexus, as the brand continues to shed the stodgy image it had only a few years ago. Sharp lines, creased contours, and jutting trim elements can be found all around with a healthy dose of satin finish chrome.
Standard LED headlamps and fog lights bring a detailed upscale look to the front end which gets Lexus now trademark spindle grille. At the rear, the NX300h hybrid has LED tail lights and decorative grilles in the rear fascia instead of large exhaust tips.
Our tester here was optioned with the Luxury Package which on the exterior brings larger 18” alloy wheels, rain sensing wipers, power moonroof and premium LED daytime running lights.
Heading inside, that package adds power adjustable, heated and ventilated front seats, leather upholstery, genuine wood trim, and a heated steering wheel. Ours also came with the 10-speaker Lexus Premium Audio System and navigation.
The design echoes the same bold themes you see on the outside, with high levels of detail in the forms, creases, and layout of the dash. Ergonomics is excellent behind the wheel here despite all of the artful ovations in form.
Front seat comfort and driving position are just right to me, giving you a safe and secure feel with a high belt line around you. The dash spans a good distance out in front of you, giving a nice sense of space.
Optioned here was the Qi wireless cell phone charger which resides just inside the center console. It’s a nice feature, but tends to be in the way of routine access to the storage area, having to be lifted out of the way.
The rear seats do offer power fold down capability to enjoy a full cargo hold, a nice feature in this class which really reduces effort. The luxury package also includes a power rear lift-gate which opens to a sizable cargo hold even with the rear seats up.
Under the hood is the latest generation Hybrid powertrain from Lexus, comprised of a 2.5 liter Atkinson Cycle gasoline engine, multiple electric motors and a constantly variable transmission. It offers up 194 total system horsepower.
Our tester is a front-wheel drive model, but you can option all-wheel drive which gets a separate electric drive motor at the rear axle. The NX300h has its Nickel Metal Hydride battery pack located under the rear passenger seat.
The natural feel of the powertrain comes thanks to the latest tuning which offers a kick-down effect and careful rpm management which gives the feeling of a more traditional transmission with shift points.
Power itself is adequate considering the NX300h weighs in at 4,055 lbs. And keeping that weight well managed is a fully independent suspension with a sportier tune than Lexus models have been given in the past.