2017 Lexus NX 300h Review
Edmunds expert review
The following is a list of compact luxury hybrid crossover SUVs: the 2017 Lexus NX 300h. That concludes the list. Indeed, if you're looking for the best possible fuel economy from this popular segment, the NX 300h is where you can start and end your search. But depending on your other priorities, it may or may not be the best choice for you overall.
Beyond its fuel economy, the NX 300h has a lot to offer. It has a quiet, impeccably crafted cabin that looks pretty cool and has plenty of backseat space. As a crossover SUV, the 300h has an elevated ride height you might be looking for compared to hybrid cars, and its manageable size makes it easy to park and drive around town. The NX's driving experience also strikes an agreeable balance between comfort and driver involvement.
The NX 300h does come up short on cargo space, though. That could be a problem if you're frequently using your vehicle to haul a lot of stuff. The bigger but pricier Lexus RX 450h hybrid is, therefore, an alternative. So too are a pair of diesel-powered competitors, the BMW X3 xDrive28d and Jaguar F-Pace 20d, which offer nearly the same fuel economy but more interior space and sportier performance. So although the NX 300h is the only vehicle of its kind, know that there are alternatives in roughly the same ballpark.
Every NX 300h comes standard with antilock brakes, traction and stability control, front side airbags, a driver knee airbag, side curtain airbags and a front passenger under-cushion airbag that prevents an occupant from sliding out from under the seat belt. Also standard is Lexus Enform Safety Connect, which includes automatic collision notification, an emergency call button and a stolen vehicle locator.
Optional features include a blind-spot monitoring system with rear cross-traffic alert, a lane departure warning system and a forward collision mitigation system (included with adaptive cruise control) that warns of a possible collision and can automatically apply the brakes in the event of driver inaction.
In crash testing, the government gave the NX 300h its highest five-star rating for overall crash protection, including a four-star front-impact rating and five-star side-impact rating. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety gave the NX the highest possible rating of Good for the vehicle's performance in the small- and moderate-overlap front-impact tests as well as Good score for the side-impact, roof strength and seat/head restraint (whiplash protection) tests.
What's new for 2017
Trim levels & features
The 2017 Lexus NX 300h is a five-passenger compact SUV available in a single trim level. The NX 200t conventionally powered model is reviewed separately.
Standard equipment includes 17-inch wheels, automatic LED headlights, LED foglights and running lights, heated mirrors, keyless ignition and entry, a rearview camera, automatic dual-zone climate control, eight-way power-adjustable front seats with two-way driver lumbar adjustment, simulated-leather upholstery (Lexus' NuLuxe), a power-adjustable and leather-wrapped tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel, a 60/40-split folding and reclining backseat, Bluetooth, a 7-inch Lexus Display Audio knob-and-screen interface, Scout GPS Link navigation smartphone app connectivity, one USB port and an eight-speaker sound system with a CD player, HD and satellite radio, an auxiliary audio jack and a media player interface.
Other packages are also available, but their availability can vary by region, so you'll want to check with your local dealer. They also often require selecting additional packages as well. Things start off with the Comfort package, which really adds only driver-seat memory settings. To that, you can add the Premium package, which includes 18-inch wheels, a sunroof, upgraded running lights, heated and ventilated seats, and blind-spot monitoring and rear cross-traffic alert systems (available separately). To both of those packages, the Luxury package adds a power liftgate, automatic wipers, leather upholstery and a heated steering wheel. A power-folding rear seat can be added to the Luxury package.
Additional options include front and rear parking sensors (Intuitive Parking Assist), a lane departure warning system, adaptive cruise control (bundled with forward collision mitigation), upgraded LED headlights and wireless smartphone charging. Some of the extras in the above package content can be available separately. There's also the Navigation package, which adds a full Lexus navigation system, the Remote Touch infotainment interface, a variety of smartphone apps and two additional speakers.
The 2017 Lexus NX 300h features a gasoline-electric hybrid powertrain that combines a 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine with three electric motors supplied by a nickel-metal hydride battery pack. Together, they produce a maximum output of 194 horsepower. All-wheel drive is standard, though its reliance solely on one of the electric motors to drive the rear wheels ultimately makes it less capable than other all-wheel-drive SUVs in regard to maximum traction.
In Edmunds performance testing, an NX 300h went from zero to 60 mph in 8.4 seconds. That's a decent time for a hybrid, but it does make the NX 300h one of the slowest luxury crossovers available. Still, our Edmunds consumer reviews suggest that, in the real world, many owners are satisfied with the NX 300h's acceleration.
You'll certainly like the NX 300h's best-in-class fuel economy. The EPA estimates it will achieve 31 mpg combined (33 city/30 highway). Only the diesel-powered BMW X3 and Jaguar F-Pace come close to that.
Instead of the NX 200t's punchy and impressively smooth turbocharged performance, the 2017 NX 300h has the sort of languid, droning hybrid driving experience that current owners of Toyota or Lexus hybrids should find familiar. Quick it's not. Then again, fuel economy is the main draw with the 300h, and on that front it doesn't disappoint. As a vehicle to get you through the daily grind, the 300h succeeds thanks to its comfortable ride quality and quiet cabin at highway speeds.
The 2017 NX's cabin isn't as radically designed as the exterior, but it still exudes a cool, modern vibe that won't be mistaken for anything else in the segment. Construction is absolutely top-notch, with materials that look and feel rich. The soft leather-like material that lines the doors, dash and center console feels expensive, and we appreciate the padded areas that cushion the center console to keep your legs from whacking against a hard surface. Details such as contrast stitching, wood trim and a modern analog clock are tastefully applied.
The high-mounted climate controls are easy to reach and see, and other secondary controls are intuitive. The infotainment controls are less so, however. The standard Display Audio system utilizes a knob-and-screen system similar to BMW's iDrive. We haven't had a chance to try Display Audio, but most NX models are likely to leave the dealer lot with navigation and thus the Lexus' Remote Touch interface as well. With Remote Touch, various menus and icons are selected with a console-mounted touchpad like a laptop's. There is haptic (vibration) feedback through that pad when you click something, but in general, we find that using Remote Touch draws too much of your attention from the road. (The touchpad is also harder to use than the small joystick-like Remote Touch controller in the Lexus RX.) Tech-savvy users might also be disappointed by the absence of Android Auto and Apple CarPlay support.
The NX is pretty good at carrying people, less so their stuff. Rear passengers should find generous room despite the vehicle's modest overall dimensions, but cargo space is tight. The NX's 53.7 cubic feet of total volume brings up the rear in this segment, and the raked liftgate seems to make it less versatile than even its modest volume number would suggest. With the seats up, cargo space shrinks to 17.7 cubic feet, making it less spacious than even some subcompact crossovers.
Edmunds expert review process
This review was written by a member of Edmunds' editorial team of expert car reviewers. Our team drives every car you can buy. We put the vehicles through rigorous testing, evaluating how they drive and comparing them in detail to their competitors.
We're also regular people like you, so we pay attention to all the different ways people use their cars every day. We want to know if there's enough room for our families and our weekend gear and whether or not our favorite drink fits in the cupholder. Our editors want to help you make the best decision on a car that fits your life.