2024 Lexus NX 350h Luxury – Review by David Colman +VIDEO
More comfort than speed, but there's nothing wrong with more comfort!
Special Correspondent to THE AUTO CHANNEL
Lexus revamped their NX luxury compact SUV 2 years ago. The model range currently starts with the price leading $40,305 NX 250, a front wheel drive model powered by a 2.5 liter, 203hp, 4-cylinder gasoline engine. Moving up the cost ladder to $44,065 buys you the NX 350 which uses a gas fed 2.4 liter, 275hp turbo motor. If you seek better mileage and traction, Lexus offers two different all- wheel-drive hybrids. The NX 350h Luxury - which we tested - pairs the 2.5 liter A25A-FXS gas engine with a pair of electric motors to produce 239hp. Base price of our test Lexus was $48,795, but a slew of useful options raised the final ticket to $55,280. If you're after more performance than the NX 350h can provide, then step up to the 302hp NX 450h, a plug-in hybrid which carries base price of $59,405.
The NX 350h clocks 7.6 seconds in the 0-60mph sprint, while the NX 450h drops the elapsed time to just 5.6 seconds. Finishing between the two hybrids is the non-hybrid NX 350 which takes 6.6 seconds to reach sixty miles per hour from a standing start. When you drop the hammer in the NX 350h, drivetrain response feels slow to build. As a result, we'd opt for either the NX 350 or the NX 450h over the NX 350h. But do bear in mind that the NX 350h is the economy champion of the entire NX line. It posts EPA figures of 41MPG City and 37MPG Highway, with a Combined Fuel Economy rating of 37MPG. The EPA predicts it will save you $1,500 in fuel costs over 5 years "compared to the average new vehicle."
The interior furnishings of the baseline NX 250 will have you wondering whether you're driving a Lexus or the Toyota Rav4 or Venza upon which the NX is based. Such is not the problem when you climb into an NX 350h equipped with the Luxury package. For 2024, Lexus has upgraded the front seats with ventilation, heating, and handsomely quilted leather surfaces. The driver's seat provides two memory positions, the fat-rimmed leather steering wheel's rake and reach angle are electrically controlled, the windshield wipers trigger automatically when it rains, and the rear hatchback door includes a kick sensor to assist you when your hands are full. The Luxury pack also increases the size of the cloud-connected infotainment display to 14 inches, provides a power moonroof as well as "thematic ambient illumination" for the interior. All said, there's no mistaking the core brand Lexus ideology when you're ensconced in the Luxury-equipped NX.
A couple of niggling problems did surface in the revised dash layout, however. The central faceplate located below the infotainment screen contains a pair of large round knobs which control interior temperature for driver and passenger. The trouble arises from the fact that Lexus has positioned the Start/Stop engine switch at the top of the same panel that houses the identically sized temp controls. As a result, I constantly found myself wavering between buttons whenever I wanted to Start/Stop the car, or change the temperature setting. This ergonomic shortcoming can and should be easily rectified with a knob redesign. In a similar vein, the digital swipe control for the fan setting is hard to modulate while driving and is a candidate for replacement with a simple knob.
You will buy this baby-sized Lexus for its luxury and level of finish. But you won't be buying it because of its sporting pedigree. Everything about the NX 350h stresses comfort over speed. While this NX offers a "Sport" setting from its drive mode menu, the difference between Normal and Sport is hardly perceptible. That's because the NX rides rather high at 66 inches, and statically offers abundant ground clearance. While those characteristics may make for improved off-road/ high water potential, they do little for aggressive twisty road outings. Consequently, the NX feels rather top-heavy when you push it near the limit, though the all-season run-flat Bridgestone Alenza A/S 02 radials (235/50R20; TW 400)) issue nary a squeak in protest.
Included on the comprehensive options list were a couple of standout items you would want to select. While $1,030 may seem like a lot to pay for "Power Folding Heated Rear Seats," I would not order my NX without them. This option provides wonderful convenience, with lift/fold buttons located not only inside the hatchback, but also on the outer surfaces of the 40/60 split bench seats themselves. Another expensive extra is $!,020 for the "Mark Levinson Premium Audio," but again, this special sound system provides the kind of listening experience the NX's stellar interior deserves.
2024 LEXUS NX 350h LUXURY
ENGINE: 2.5 liter inline-4, DOHC, 16-valve, VVT-i + 2 electric motors (134kW + 40kW)
HORSEPOWER: 240hp (Combined)
FUEL CONSUMPTION: 41 City/37 Highway
PRICE AS TESTED: $56,430
HYPES: Mileage Champ of the NX Fleet
GRIPES: Confusing New Dash Layout
STAR RATING: 8.5 Stars out of 10
©2023 David E Colman