2022 Lexus NX 450h+ Road Test: A notch better than good enough
At first look, you could assume the spec sheet and its place in Lexus’ lineup tells the possible purchaser virtually all the pieces they should know concerning the marque’s mid-level crossover. And a brief stint behind the wheel of a heart-of-the-lineup mannequin confirms it: the NX is precisely what it must be to fill a worthwhile gap within the Lexus lineup. However there is a bit extra nuance to the NX nameplate that bears nearer inspection. There’s one model we’d counsel is greatest to easily keep away from, and that is the base-level NX 250 with its meager 203-horsepower engine, which serves adequately for the Toyota RAV4 that shares a lot of its mechanicals with the NX however isn’t befitting of a luxurious badge.
Which brings us to the one actual standout mannequin that we’d advocate above all others. The NX 450h+ (a very clunky naming conference that may come up once more) provides a plug and an additional dose of energy to the NX that pushes this one explicit model throughout the good-enough line and into precise fascinating territory. It’s an awfully good little crossover. And we actually imply little, however extra on that later.
The 2022 Lexus NX 450h+ is comfy, boasts all the trendy expertise you’d anticipate from Toyota’s premium model, and is pleasantly highly effective whereas additionally managing to be environment friendly. With its plug-in powertrain, a full battery ends in an EPA-estimated 37 miles of electrical vary, and we discovered that determine nearly spot on in our personal testing. To our eyes, it seems higher than the final NX, although in a nondescript blobby kind of method in each path aside from straight forward, during which case it’s pinched and spindly identical to each different Lexus you’ve seen within the final decade.
With 304 complete horsepower, the plug-in NX 450h+ is sort of a bit extra highly effective than the 240-horsepower NX 350h hybrid (versus the gasoline-fueled and turbocharged NX 350 minus the lowercase h). That’s energy you possibly can really really feel from behind the wheel. The torquier plug-in powertrain of the 450h+ scoots the ‘ute from 0-60 in in 6.0 seconds flat, in keeping with Lexus. The 350h does the deed in a relatively leisurely 7.2 ticks (in case you’re questioning, Lexus says the non-h 350 scores a 6.6). Mid-range energy from the 450h+ is sort of satisfying as effectively, once more buoyed by the energy of its highly effective electrical motors entrance and rear.
Even with its robust powertrain, the NX 450h+ isn’t any efficiency automobile. Its suspension errs on the aspect of compliance over flat cornering, and its steering is suitable for a luxurious crossover, by which we imply mild and direct however by no means sporty or notably communicative. Placing the automobile into Sport or Sport+ companies up the trip and steering, if that’s one thing the motive force feels is fascinating. Regular felt about proper to us, contemplating the NX’s mission assertion.
The redesigned NX’s inside boasts a way more fashionable look than the mannequin it changed, which had been on sale for the reason that 2015 mannequin 12 months. Lexus’ newest touchscreen infotainment system presents a easy consumer interface, and we’re comfortable to report that the outdated touchpads and mice of Lexus’ previous have been dumped. We favored the massive 14-inch display within the 450h+ we drove; decrease fashions come customary with a a lot smaller 9.8-inch unit. We do want there have been extra user-definable screens since there’s a lot actual property out there, however at the least the infotainment is snappy and dependable.
We discovered ourselves irritated by the unmarked buttons on the steering wheel that management features seen by way of the head-up show. You’d most likely get used to them after some time should you owned the NX, however they definitely aren’t user-friendly at first. We’ll additionally be aware the inside door handles — we don’t speak about such handles usually, since up till not too long ago they’ve at all times simply labored the best way all the pieces expects them to work — that may each electronically launch the door latch with a press or mechanically do the identical with a double pull. Lexus has causes for this, notably as a result of they’re alleged to disable opening when an individual or object is within the blind spot, however we’re not satisfied they’re really an enchancment in the true world versus tech for tech’s sake.
Again to the NX’s measurement. It’s slightly bit bigger than the outdated NX, nevertheless it’s nonetheless cramped inside. There isn’t a lot cargo area and the again seat feels small and kind of cave-ish as a result of exterior design. A comparability of spec sheets confirms that the NX is measurably smaller than all of its rivals, however for a pair there’s nonetheless loads of room up entrance and positively sufficient area for a weeklong getaway.
The largest drawback we now have with the NX 450h+ is that, for 2023, it prices at the least $58,205. That is a whopping $14,600 greater than the NX 350h. It’s a greater total package deal, with extra energy and doubtlessly larger effectivity for homeowners that hold the battery pack topped up, however is it almost $15,000 higher? That’s clearly a query for every potential purchaser, however our personal private pocketbooks are quivering on the thought.