There’s a new entrant to the ever-expanding range of executive SUVs for Irish motorists to add to their shortlist, with the arrival of the Lexus NX 300h. It’s fair to say the designers have excelled at Lexus in styling the all-new NX 300h, it’s attractive from any angle. Our test car is the F Sport variant, its sporty looks are accentuated with a large spindle grille design, front spoiler and 18-inch alloy wheels.
The NX’s first-class looks are carried over to the interior too, it’s the highlight of the car for us. The driving position is central with excellent visibility all-round, the steering wheel is chunky and a delight to hold. Through the steering wheel the instrument cluster is clear, with all the key information within close proximity. When you select Sport mode the dial changes from an Eco driving meter to a rev counter. The F Sport model is treated to leather upholstered sports seats that offer maximum comfort for all occupants. The fit and finish of the cabin is first-rate, it has a more premium feel to it then its closest competitors, the Audi Q5, BMW X3 and Range Rover Evoque, with the Evoque being closest. There is an 8-inch fixed colour screen in the centre of the dash, displaying all the key information such as climate and infotainment features, it also functions as a monitor for the rear-view camera when reversing.
The standard level of equipment on the NX 300h is adequate, with a host of safety features including active brake lights, ABS, EBD, EPS, VSC, hill-start control and tyre pressure warning system. Our F-Sport variant benefits from adaptive cruise control, active sound control, G sensor, carbon inlays, F Sport steering wheel with paddle shifts, performance dampers and an electrically operated tailgate.
The NX 300h is powered by a 2.5-litre petrol engine and an electric motor, power is a sufficient 197hp and 210Nm of torque. The entry-level models are front-wheel-drive with the Executive, F Sport and Premium models benefit from all-wheel-drive. On the road the NX remains composed on all surfaces, feedback is good through the steering wheel, it’s surefooted and confident when tackling a twisty section of road. The engine is refined, although when you push the accelerator down hard the CVT automatic transmission can send the engine into a flurry of revs. Once you get used to the transmission smooth acceleration is possible with a light touch of the throttle. The overall driving experience is one of sumptuousness, spending hours in the NX is a joy not a chore.
Lexus has produced a commendable executive SUV with the NX 300h, it’s a credible alternative to its German and British rivals. The choice for Irish motorists has just got tougher.
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