The 2021 Lexus NX 300h slots between the UX and RX hybrids, but is it “just right?”
Before we dive into the pros and cons of the 2021 Lexus NX 300h, we have to address one point: this vehicle IS partially based on the Toyota RAV4. The Toyota MC platform, and many components are indeed shared with the Toyota RAV4. Both vehicles perform and feel completely different. Oddly, the Toyota is more athletic, efficient and utilitarian.
In terms of comfort and luxury, the 2021 Lexus NX 300h is vastly superior. Not only that, it has a fairly unique design that shares no body panels with the RAV4. Most importantly, it feels like a Lexus. That’s a good thing considering its reasonable entry price of $40,160. You get a lot of class for the buck.
This crossover comes with a 2.5-liter gas engine, combined with two electric motors. One assists the engine, while the other powers the rear wheels when additional traction is needed. This is not a serious 4×4, the electric all-wheel drive (AWD) system is an asset for stabilization and traction. Still, it is a unique package that Toyota/Lexus has added to several of their vehicles.
Combining the gas engine and the electric power nets you 194 horsepower and 152 lbs-feet of torque. That power is managed via an electronically controlled continuously variable transmission (eCVT). Overall, you will average 31 mpg – which is impressive for a 4,200 lbs all-wheel drive vehicle. Oddly, Lexus added paddle shifters – which is pretty much useless when paired to a CVT.
Engine noise is an issue. You can hear the engine whirl away even when parked. Some people will overlook this, as it is common for hybrids, but some may find it irritating.
The 2021 Lexus NX 300h’s interior is outstanding
Comfort, fit and finish are remarkable for a vehicle that starts in the low $40,000 zone. Sure, there are a few issues that I found to be unwelcome. The 10.3-inch infotainment screen is well placed and clear, but it is not a touch-screen. You have to use a pad for the cursor – and it’s not that great to use on the highway. Fortunately, other buttons and knobs can do a lot of what the pad does.
The seats and components are up to Lexus standards, on a level that easily exceeds its price-tag. I was especially pleased with the seat comfort, overall layout and steering wheel build. Backseat room is pretty good; I am able to sit fairly comfortably in the back despite having the front seat pulled all the way back. I’m a large, 6’1″ guy, so having rear space is nice in a vehicle this size. Rear cargo is a little less cavernous than the non-hybrid version. At 16.8 cubic feet, it’s acceptable, but not class leading.
Speaking of class, the 2021 Lexus NX 300h is somewhat in its own league. Sure, it competes against its Toyota RAV4 hybrid sibling, but not in terms of packaging. Other hybrid luxury crossovers are either higher-end, PHEVs or larger. Perhaps that’s its strongest point.
We hear that the Lexus NX will get a serious update soon. Check out this video and tell us what you think!