The 2023 Lexus NX 350h Luxury is pretty much everything you want in a medium size SUV. A petrol-electric hybrid that will upset most others with its excellent mileage and efficiency, it’s got the space and class you’d expect from the Japanese car maker.
Tested here in its all-wheel drive and Graphite Black form. That’s coincidentally the same colour as the 2023 Lexus NX 250 we recently reviewed, and just like it, this one shares the same aggressive and sharp styling cues inside and out.
Likewise, the same signature tick-LED running lights and tail-gate-wide LED are here too. It’s priced at $84,500 drive away, when you include the enhancement pack (tilt-and-slide moonroof, kick sensors for the tailgate and wireless phone charging), as ours did.
From the outside, its excellent appearance catches you off-guard, with sharp lines starting from the large, but not overly in-your-face signature Lexus grille, all the way to the rounded and more subtle rear facade.
Offered in a total of eight colours, including Sonic Quartz, Titanium, Sonic Chrome, Onyx, Caliente, Khaki Metal and Celestial Blue, it’s trimmed inside in a combination of Dark Rose and Black Prism leather. It’s a combination that makes the space feel larger than it is.
The spacious and darkened interior gives a truly luxurious vibe, so much so that we feel right at home in it; perhaps a little too much. You see, we might have had a few naps in it during our lunch breaks, it’s that comfortable.
But the NX 350h is not without its quirks. The E-Latch push button interior door handles take some getting used to, and the overbearing safety systems are downright painful. On the plus side, it has a 14.0-inch infotainment system, with sat nav and DAB+ digital radio.
It also scores Android Auto and Apple CarPlay, albeit wired. Bluetooth connectivity works seamlessly though. The high roofline ensures plenty of headroom, even for taller folks, and a good amount of legroom in the second row.
Our toddler, in his forward facing outboard seat had plenty of room. The boot offers a decent 520-litres with the seats up, or 1,141-litres with the second row stowed. Two cup holders can be found in the centre console, and there’s room for a bottle in each door.
The fold-down centre arm rest in the rear seats has space for two more cups and there’s also a nice little centre cubby up front, which opens in either driver or passenger’s direction for easy access.
The real showstopper here though is the powertrain, with a 2.5-litre inline 4-cylinder petrol engine outputting 140kW of power and 239Nm of torque to all four wheels. That’s paired with an electric motor that’s good for 134kW and 270Nm.
An 8-speed CVT automatic transmission maximises delivery in what can only be described as flawless operation. to make the most out of the hybrid setup. Lexus claims 5.0-litres/100km for combined fuel economy, and we managed 5.4-litres in real world testing.
The NX 350h is, needless to say, also very quiet on the road, and if you drive it frugally, the only sound you’ll notice is the quiet buzzing drone of the electric motor. It’s only when you plant your foot that things change.
Do that, and the engine comes to life, ensuring rev-hang,. Thanks to the CVT transmission, that also creates unnecessary noise. While it will bother most, if anything, this will promote a greener drive because you’ll want to go back to the quietness.
Electric power steering makes the 350h a dream on the road too, with light handling that feels capable, but a little soulless. The latter makes for a bit of an odd disconnect, even when driving spiritedly down twisty, winding roads.
Bumps and grooves are non-existent thanks to the 18-inch alloys and solid suspension tune as well. The Lexus NX 350h carries a 5-star ANCAP safety rating and features autonomous emergency braking, lane depart warning, lane tracing and lane keep assist.
There’s rear cross traffic alerts, adaptive cruise control, and a total of 10 airbags. While most of the tech works great, lane keep assist definitely doesn’t like it when you try to dodge potholes. For peace of mind, it comes with a 5-year unlimited kilometre warranty.
Capped price servicing is available for the first three years of ownership. Overall, it’s an impressive medium sized SUV, and we honestly loved it. Sharing the same chassis as the RAV4, it offers substantially more luxurious punch.
Our 2023 Lexus NX 350h Luxury was supplied by Lexus Australia. To find out more, contact your local Lexus dealer. Pictures courtesy of J_Hui Design / Photography.