The second era of the Lexus NX, the brand’s compact luxury SUV, would not look a entire lot completely different than the primary, however there are substantive adjustments beneath the sheetmetal. Nowhere is that more true than with the brand new NX450h+ plug-in-hybrid variant.

The reworked NX exterior is not fairly the riot of creased sheetmetal that its predecessor’s was, though it nonetheless eschews the smooth minimalism of, say, the Volvo XC60. The NX once more presents a pinched face to the world, with its double-angled grille and checkmark-shaped operating lights.

The inside is barely roomier than earlier than, though small home windows diminish that impression. Typical of Lexus, all inside touchpoints, beginning with the steering-wheel leather-based, have a high quality really feel. Speaking of touchpoints, each the outside and inside door handles are digital, popping open with a mild press (identical to a Corvette!); the within handles are also routinely disabled if a car or bicycle owner is approaching on that facet. Like so many Toyota hybrids, the NX450h+ has a stubby digital shifter with an uncommon double-J shift sample, though an proprietor would seemingly develop accustomed to that oddity.

Lexus is lastly transferring away from its distant touchpad infotainment interface, and the brand new NX has a touchscreen as an alternative. Grandly sized at 14.0 inches (a 9.8-inch model seems in lesser trims), the show seems to be nice, however regardless of all that actual property, it might present two features without delay solely when smartphone mirroring. Both Android Auto and Apple CarPlay are wi-fi, and Apple Music and Amazon Music are built-in throughout the system. Wireless smartphone charging is an choice and is paired with digital-key performance. As is typical, the interface would profit from a few extra bodily controls past merely a tiny quantity knob and two knobs for cabin temperature. And there’s nowhere to relaxation your hand when making an attempt to hit the proper touchpoints on the massive display screen (for audio tuning, say, or adjusting the fan velocity). Nor are we followers of the steering wheel’s multimode four-way buttons, which have two units of features, which means there’s a 50 p.c probability they are not in the mode you want.

HIGHS: Easily outhustles the opposite NX variants, genuinely helpful EV vary, 36 mpg general.

The massive information with this era, nonetheless, is beneath the floor with that new plug-in-hybrid powertrain, which joins the naturally aspirated base engine, turbocharged uplevel engine, and common hybrid. All are four-cylinders. With 302 horsepower, the plug-in NX450h+ is the clear alpha canine amongst its siblings.

The powertrain is basically lifted from the Toyota RAV4 Prime (the 2 automobiles share a platform). It makes use of the identical 2.5-liter naturally aspirated 4 as in the bottom NX250 and the usual hybrid, the NX350h. (The nonhybrid NX350 has a turbocharged 2.4-liter 4.) Electric motors help the gasoline engine and are the only real motive supply for the rear wheels, offering all-wheel-drive functionality.

An 18.1-kWh lithium-ion battery pack feeds the motors. That substantial battery affords a hefty 37 miles of EV vary, per the EPA—or 33 miles on the freeway in our testing (identical because the RAV4 Prime). The solely different plug-in hybrids in this class are the XC60 T8 Recharge, the Lincoln Corsair Grand Touring, and the Audi Q5 55 TFSI e. The Volvo got a larger battery pack for 2022 that upped its vary to 35 miles, however the Lincoln is nice for less than 28 miles and the Audi simply 23.

Our tester was fitted with the non-obligatory 6.6-kW onboard charger, which drops full recharge time from 4.5 to simply 2.5 hours utilizing a 240-volt energy supply. On paper, it is an $800 choice, however Lexus tells us that each NX450h+ bought in the U.S. will likely be geared up with this worthwhile characteristic as an alternative of the three.3-kW tools commonplace in different world markets.

Even when it isn’t operating as an electrical, the NX450h+ is a fuel miser at an EPA-estimated 36 mpg general. We obtained 35 mpg in our 75-mph freeway fuel-economy check (precisely matching the determine for the common NX hybrid).

Just as with the RAV4 Prime, the NX450h+ simply outhustles its siblings. Whereas the common NX350h plods to 60 mph in 7.6 seconds, and the turbo-four NX350 takes 6.6 seconds, the NX450h+ wants simply 5.6 seconds. (We have not examined the bottom NX250, however that model’s 203 horsepower is the weakest in the group.) The plug-in hybrid equally stands tall after we have a look at passing instances, zipping from 50 to 70 mph in 3.8 seconds, in opposition to 5.0 for the common hybrid and 4.5 for the NX350. This can be one plug-in hybrid that, when switched into EV mode, would not wake the fuel engine once you flooring the accelerator. In truth, it is fairly perky as an EV when squirting round city, though its 9.4-second time to 60 mph beneath battery energy would not be thought of fast.

LOWS: Not materially faster than rivals’ turbo fours, whopping worth premium over different NX fashions.

Look exterior the home windows of the Lexus dealership, although, and the NX450h+’s muscular picture fades a bit. Its 60-mph time, for example, is simply 0.1 second forward of the 228-hp BMW X1. And the Lexus trails its mainstream-badged cousin, the Toyota RAV4 Prime, which rips to 60 mph in 5.4 seconds. The plug-in-hybrid Audi Q5, which bristles with 362 horsepower, is considerably faster, storming to 60 in 4.5 seconds. The Lexus simply walks away from the Corsair, however, which needs 7.0 seconds to finish that run.

As you would possibly count on, the journey is posh, with some head toss the one aftereffect of an encounter with patchy pavement. Even with the 20-inch wheels which might be commonplace right here, the 235/50R-20 tires have beneficiant sidewalls, serving to to cushion sharp-edged bumps regardless of being run-flat tires. Those tires held on to the tune of 0.81 g on the skidpad, however the NX450h+ F Sport has little curiosity in brisk cornering. Tire squeal units in early, as does physique roll and understeer. This class is hardly rife with fun-to-drive choices, however the Acura RDX, the BMW X1, and even the Mazda CX-5 are all extra partaking than this Lexus.

That’s seemingly not a lot of a concern for NX consumers. The larger subject for them is whether or not the plug-in hybrid is the precise alternative. At a beginning worth of $57,300, the NX450h+ prices $14,600 greater than the NX350h and a comparable $14,200 greater than the nonhybrid NX350. (Add one other $1250 if you’d like the 450h+ F Sport trim discovered on our check pattern.) If gas economic system is the driving concern, higher to save lots of that $14K and go along with the equally economical NX350h. For these searching for high efficiency, the NX450h+ is your best option, though it might not be sporty sufficient to fulfill. The purchaser who’s going to be diligent about plugging in would be the one who actually makes the many of the NX450h+, given its lengthy EV driving vary. Factor the battery-powered miles into the combination, and gas economic system will exceed the common hybrid’s, with the way more strong acceleration a good bonus. As you in all probability may have guessed, Lexus’s first plug-in solely realizes its potential and manages to be a plus in case you truly plug it in.

Specifications

Specifications

2022 Lexus NX450h+ F Sport

Vehicle Type: front-engine, front- and rear-motor, all-wheel-drive, 5-passenger, 4-door wagon

PRICE

Base/As Tested: $58,550/$64,105

Options: Vision package deal – panoramic view monitor, lane change help, entrance cross site visitors alert, $1070; triple-beam headlights w/washers and cornering lamps, $850; 6.6-kW on-board charger, $800; illuminated door and cargo sills, $760; Ultra White premium paint, $595; smartphone comfort package deal – digital key, wi-fi cellphone charging, $450; exercise mount – receiver for bike mounts, and so forth. (not for towing), $390; rear and facet puddle lamps, $325; carpet cargo mat $110; rear seat common pill holder, $110; wheel locks, $95

POWERTRAIN

DOHC 16-valve 2.5-liter Atkinson-cycle inline-4, 181 hp, 165 lb-ft + 3 AC motors, entrance: 179 hp, 199 lb-ft; rear: 53 hp, 89 lb-ft (mixed output: 302 hp; 18.1-kWh lithium-ion battery pack; 6.6-kW onboard charger)

Transmission: constantly variable computerized

CHASSIS

Suspension, F/R: struts/multilink

Brakes, F/R: 12.9-in vented disc/12.5-in vented disc

Tires: Bridgestone Alenza A/S 02 RFT

235/50R-20 100V M+S

DIMENSIONS

Wheelbase: 105.9 in

Length: 183.5 in

Width: 73.4 in

Height: 65.8 in

Passenger Volume: 92 ft3

Cargo Volume: 23 ft3

Curb Weight: 4487 lb

C/D TEST RESULTS

60 mph: 5.6 sec

1/4-Mile: 14.1 sec @ 99 mph

100 mph: 14.4 sec

130 mph: 33.9 sec

Results above omit 1-ft rollout of 0.3 sec.

Rolling Start, 5–60 mph: 6.0 sec

Top Gear, 30–50 mph: 2.9 sec

Top Gear, 50–70 mph: 3.8 sec

Top Speed (gov): 130 mph

Braking, 70–0 mph: 179 ft

Roadholding, 300-ft Skidpad: 0.81 g

C/D FUEL ECONOMY

Observed: 38 MPGe

75-mph Highway Driving, EV/Hybrid Mode: 78 MPGe/35 mpg

75-mph Highway Range, EV/Hybrid mode: 33/500 mi

EPA FUEL ECONOMY

Combined/City/Highway: 36/38/33 mpg

Combined Gasoline + Electricity: 84 MPGe

EV Range: 37 mi

C/D TESTING EXPLAINED


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