Despite its aggressive styling, this hybrid is an even more sensible-shoes compact SUV than the NX 300 upon which it is based. It retains the visual attitude of its stablemate while delivering even better fuel economy.
Entering its fourth model year, the Lexus NX 300h compact SUV receives only minor changes for 2018. You can expect a quiet, pleasant driving experience even if the outside world thinks you're making a shouty statement.
With less power and slightly more weight to haul around than the regular NX 300, the hybrid NX won't pin you to the seat with authority. But the thrust of the NX hybrid is perfectly adequate around town, moving it away from stoplights on a bump of electrically augmented torque. Plus, that aforementioned seat is a well-padded and comfortable place from which to spend long stints behind the wheel.
Hybrid versions of conventional vehicles often suffer reduced cargo volume resulting from the need to package the large hybrid battery. In the case of the NX hybrid, this penalty is modest. However, the NX doesn't have a large cargo area to begin with. It's one of just two notable downsides to the NX 300h. The other is its infotainment interface, which can be distracting to use.
Overall, though, we like the NX 300h and think it's a smart choice for luxury crossover SUV shoppers wanting a pleasing mix of luxury, fuel economy and style.
trim levels & features
The 2018 Lexus NX 300h is a five-seat compact hybrid SUV, available in just one version. Its 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine and hybrid system deliver a combined power of 194 hp. It is available only with all-wheel drive and a continuously variable automatic transmission.
Standard equipment includes 17-inch wheels, LED headlights, LED foglights and running lights, keyless ignition and entry, automatic dual-zone climate control, power-adjustable front seats, simulated-leather upholstery (Lexus' NuLuxe), a 60/40-split folding and reclining back seat, a 8-inch infotainment display with a touchpad interface, and an eight-speaker sound system.
Also included is adaptive cruise control, forward collision warning and mitigation, lane departure warning and intervention, and automatic high beams.
Available option packages help buyers get the most out of their NX. The Navigation package, for example, comes with a larger 10.3-inch display, Enform Destination Assist, an auto-dimming rearview mirror and a 10-speaker audio system. A Comfort package includes heated and ventilated front seats, blind-spot monitoring and auto-dimming side mirrors. The Premium package includes the items from the Comfort package and adds a sunroof, driver-seat memory settings, 18-inch wheels, a power-adjustable steering wheel, and enhanced LED daytime running lights with integrated turn signals. Finally, a Luxury package combines what you get from the Premium package and adds leather seating surfaces, wood interior pieces, automatic wipers and a heated leather steering wheel.
Stand-alone options include a hands-free liftgate, parking sensors, adaptive headlights and even power-folding rear seats.
Each vehicle typically comes in multiple versions that are fundamentally similar. The ratings in this review are based on our full test of the 2015 Lexus NX 300h (2.5L inline-4 hybrid | AWD).
NOTE: Since this test was conducted, the current NX 300h has received some revisions, including a revised infotainment interface and the addition of various driver assistance features. Our findings remain broadly applicable to this year's NX 300h.
noise & vibration
ease of use
getting in/getting out
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.