In 2005, Lexus ended up being the very first high-end carmaker to provide a hybrid to market. The RX 400 h was a four-wheel drive 3.3-liter V6 with a set of electrical motors, one for each vehicle. Lexus had the high-end hybrid market to itself for a number of years, so if you desired a high-end trip with a side of green, it was the only video game in the area. At the cusp of the 2019 design year, nevertheless, there are now a lot of alternatives to pick from– consisting of some appealing EVs from the similarity Jaguar and Audi. However Lexus– the second-most-popular high-end badge in the United States– is still in the video game, with 5 designs at various cost points.

Beginning at $38,535, the NX 300 h sits at the low end of the luxury-SUV cost spectrum. Marketed by Lexus as a compact SUV, the NX 300 h steps 182.3″ (4,632 cm), which is simply a number of inches much shorter than an Audi Q5, Alfa Romeo Stelvio, or BMW X3. The NX 300 h got a transformation at the start of 2018, including a bigger infotainment display screen, improved security functions, modest style tweaks, and a bigger touchpad on the center console. While the NX 300 (previously the NX200 t) has a 2.0-liter inline four-cylinder engine, the NX 300 h has a bigger 2.5-liter inline 4 paired with a set of electrical motors that charge through the internal combustion engine and regenerative braking. Integrated, the hybrid power plant can 194 hp (1447 kW) and 152 lb-ft (2061 Nm) of torque. It’s no speed devil, getting you from absolutely no to 60 miles per hour in 9.1 seconds.

The NX 300 h has full-time four-wheel drive, with a digitally managed constantly variable transmission. It weighs in at a large 4,180 pound (1,896 kg), about 200 pounds (91 kg) more than the non-hybrid variation.

While the base cost of simply under $39,000 is sensible, getting the specifications similar to the competitors will need you to dig much deeper into your wallet. The design we drove consisted of a $4,705 high-end bundle, which included 18- inch wheels with all-season tires, heated and aerated front seats, rain-sensing wipers, and other niceties. Include $1,800 for a navigation bundle that consists of “premium” noise, another $500 for a power liftgate with kick sensing unit, and a number of other various bits, and our design was available in at $47,158 That’s a couple of grand shy of a comparably specced Q5.

Much better a trackpad than a mouse

Do you like cladding and angular style? Lexus sure does. The NX 300 h is packed with angles and edges, with sinister-looking headlights and taillights. It likewise sports the unbelievably big front grille that becomes part of Lexus’ existing identity that advises of the cowcatchers discovered on old engines. If you’re a fan of the Lexus style language, you’ll like how the NX 300 h looks.

The interior is a variety. The seats are comfy (although the traveler seat does not have back assistance), and the reclining rear seats use enough legroom for a set of grownups to sit conveniently. You can even stick somebody in the middle without excessive discomfort, as the flooring of the automobile is just somewhat raised. There are no USB ports in the back, which will dissatisfy teens wanting to charge their phones en route to soccer practice. The NX 300 h uses a modest 16.8 cubic feet of freight location, 53.7 cubic feet with the rear seats folded down (although they do not fold flat). That’s more than, state, an Alfa Romeo Stelvio however a number of cubic feet shy of a Q5 or X3.

As an NX 300 h chauffeur, the sensation resembles being confined in a cockpit. The impressive center console forms a separation in between you and your travelers. Sight lines are good, about requirement for a smaller sized SUV-slash-crossover, however I didn’t feel as high above the roadway as I carry out in other SUVs. Whether that’s an excellent or bad thing depends upon your tastes.

Now, about that center console. It’s substantial, and it’s a mess. Let’s begin with the worst bit: the trackpad. Reality be informed, I am a huge trackpad fan, having actually utilized one with my desktop for well over 8 years. Please do not make me utilize one while I’m driving– or while I’m parked. Possibly recognizing the constraints of this input format, Lexus did increase the size of the trackpad for the 2018 design year, however that resembles slapping a number of additional cherubim and curlicues on an overstuffed chesterfield– when it’s all stated and done, you have actually still got a gauche rococo couch in your living-room. When you move the cursor over a menu product or icon, there is haptic feedback to assist you out, however it can be inaccurate. I discovered myself overshooting my target on celebration, regardless of the quiet buzz of the trackpad.

The 10.3- inch display screen is good and sharp, however the Lexus infotainment UI looks dated with its black-and-blue gradients. Likewise, the display screen is located further back on the control panel than any other vehicle, which might cause legibility concerns for some chauffeurs.

The remainder of the center console is a confusion of brushed metal knobs, buttons, and changes. There’s no obvious unifying style style here, besides “here are all the possible methods to engage with your vehicle.” Most awful of all, the console is cut with a matte chrome surface, which tosses up a reflection in the windscreen. I hate control panel mess in big part since I dislike seeing a reflection of a parking pass in the windscreen, so the chrome trim is a huge non-starter for me.

The instrument cluster has 2 analog dials and a little screen in the center to reveal the normal things, in this case battery status, journey details, radio station, and chauffeur help mode. In typical or economy mode, the left analog dial– which is really an HD display screen– reveals whether the vehicle is charging or utilizing the battery. In sport mode, the display screen modifications to reveal an analog tachometer.