Everything you need to know about the Lexus NX
This week Chris borrows a Lexus NX, a self-charging hybrid. Chris talks us through his experiences and addresses common concerns of those considering purchasing or running a self-charging hybrid vehicle as their next car.
Introducing the Lexus NX
The Lexus NX combines unique styling and a high specification with a luxurious interior and advanced self-charging hybrid drivetrain. The result is a desirable, premium SUV that is a showcase of exciting design elements such as the sharp lines, signature Lexus grille, LED technology, chrome highlights and distinctive roofline.
The NX features a 2.5 litre petrol engine and an electric motor which combined produce 195bhp which ensures as a self-charging hybrid the NX is not only efficient but powerful as well.
Find out more about the NX with Inchcape Lexus.
Living with an NX
Walking up to the NX you can’t help but feel special as you unlock the car with its sweeping indicators illuminating and you take in the dynamic styling which stands out in a crowd of other premium SUVs. The theatre of the NX is backed up with the traditional Lexus DNA of solidity and engineered quality. As you open the reassuring solid feeling, illuminated door handles you are greeted by a luxurious interior with premium materials and contrast stitching, the door thuds closed. The NX feels built to last and is just as special inside.
Upon pushing the start button the NX starts in pure electric mode and will continue in electric until more power is needed or to supplement the climate control. This provides a refined driving experience and being able to move off silently is a bonus especially when you don’t want to disturb your neighbours. Moreover being an electric car you do not need to wait for the engine to warm up for the heating to warm, as the climate control instantly changes to the desired temperature.
The NX even in F-Sport trim has comfortable suspension which supresses bumps in the road to give a smooth driving experience. With its commanding view of the road and progressive and easy to judge controls, the NX is effortless to drive and relaxing even on the longer journeys. The NX makes every journey one to look forward to.
The Lexus NX has a central dial which could be used to configure the driving dynamics with three modes as standard; Eco, Normal and Sport. Using these modes the NX could be maximised for efficiency, dynamic driving or refinement. I found that the most intuitive mode was normal in which the car was responsive and easy to judge, as it seemed to adapt to my driving style.
The model we had also featured a switch which could pipe in engine sounds to the cabin to further add to the dynamic feel of the driving experience. This could be adjusted for volume or turned off. It seemed a novelty and was not used much but it did add some fun and help to make the engine sound more interesting when accelerating.
The exterior styling of the Lexus NX is a combination of sleek, bold and distinctive. Wherever you look, the NX is a showcase of exciting design highlights such as the diamond shape profile from above, muscular bumpers, sharp lines, distinctive roof line, chrome highlights and the signature, dynamic Lexus grille. Every time you look at the NX you spot a new design feature.
The NX tested was in F-Sport trim which further adds to the dramatic styling with 18” diamond cut alloy wheels, tinted windows, gloss black sports grille, enhanced side sills, rear spoiler, LED lights and F-Sport badges. The NX also featured Graphite Black metallic paint which is an optional extra worth choosing, as it completed the premium look and feel of the NX with its deep colour and silver metallic flake which looked stunning especially in the sun.
The interior of the NX is luxurious with plush materials throughout which gives the car a premium feel. The dashboard is covered in expensive feeling leather, the buttons and switches have a nice weighted feel to them and the seats are comfortable and supportive, whilst the electric adjustments made it easy to find the ideal driving position. Other highlights include the climate control with physical buttons which makes it easier, quicker and arguably safer to adjust the temperature in the car compared to having to control these functions via a touchscreen.
The NX tested had the optional panoramic glass roof costing £500 which transformed the interior, bathing it in light and giving an excellent view out especially for those in the rear. It had an electronic sunblind to keep the car cool, but the glass was tinted as well to help prevent the sunlight being too intense.
Further upgrades included the F-Sport trim which introduced sports seats, an upgraded 10.3” central infotainment display, trim inlays, aluminium pedals and other sporty touches. However, even the standard car has heated front seats, an 8” display with smartphone connectivity, leather with contrasting stitching and a premium sound system.
Lexus NX Specification
Packed with features as standard
Standard equipment includes:
- 18" Alloy Wheels
- 8" Display Screen with Apple Carplay and Android Auto
- Front and Rear Intelligent Parking Sensors
- Lexus Safety System +
- Reversing Camera
- Heated Front Seats
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The F-Sport is tested in this article and features a range of upgrades which makes this specification the one we recommend.
Standard equipment in addition includes:
- 18" F-Sport Alloy Wheels
- F-Sport Exterior Styling Pack
- Tinted Windows
- 10.3" Display Screen
- Smart Entry
- Sports Suspension with Lateral Performance Dampers
- Heated Steering Wheel
- Blind Spot Monitor
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The most premium in the NX lineup.
Standard equipment in addition includes:
- 18" Alloy Wheels
- Heated and Ventilated Front Seats
- 360 Panoramic View Monitor
- Leather Upholstery
- 14-speaker Mark Levinson® Premium Surround Sound System
- Head-Up Display
Discover Lexus NX latest offers here.
The Lexus NX has decent space for four adults with plenty of headroom and legroom, the rear central seat is suitable for occasionally carrying a fifth adult. All passengers will be in comfort due to the luxurious materials, premium seat design, charging sockets, premium sound system and climate control with rear vents.
There is a range of storage inside the NX, including large door pockets on both the front and rear doors, an air-conditioned glovebox, two front cupholders, a central storage cubby with wireless phone charging and sockets. In the rear the central armrest has two more cupholders.
The boot of the NX has a capacity of 475 litres. It has tether points, chrome accents, LED lighting and flat load lip to aid loading the car with heavier items. The electric tailgate makes it easy to access and can be opened using the key, button inside the car or via the boot lid.
The rear seats can be made more upright to add additional space when still carrying passengers or can be folded down completely when not to give 1,520 litres of space.
The central infotainment screen comes as standard as an 8” system which can be upgraded to 10.3”. This supports smartphone integration and mirroring, playback of media and the use of premium navigation with 3D graphics. The system can be operated by a Touch Pad or via voice commands.
The Lexus NX features Bi-LED lights as standard, the F-Sport adds triple LED lights. The triple LED lights add an elegant design which gives a crystal glass impression. The upgraded LED lights also feature scrolling animated indicators at the front and rear. Automatic High Beam (AHB) adapts to the driving conditions and surrounding traffic to illuminate as much as the road ahead as possible without dazzling other road users.
The Lexus NX has the advanced Lexus Safety System Plus as standard, this includes; Pre-Collision System (PCS) that can detect pedestrians and cyclists during the day and night, Lane Tracing Assist (LTA) to help you stay in lane, Automatic High Beam (AHB) for enhanced vision at night, Road Sign Assist (RSA) that recognises traffic signs, and Dynamic Radar Cruise Control (DRCC), which controls your speed to ensure you do not exceed a set speed or get too close to the car in front.
The Lexus NX comes with front and rear parking sensors and a reversing camera with guidance lines as standard. This made the NX extremely easy to manoeuvre into tight spaces, especially as the exterior mirrors automatically dip to allow you to see the kerbs and low obstacles around the car.
This system can be upgraded to the Panoramic View Monitor which uses four cameras to provide a 360 3D view of the car with on-screen guides to assist manoeuvres.
Lexus NX FAQ
Self-charging hybrids combine a petrol engine with an electric motor, the NX uses a 2.5 litre petrol engine and electric motor to produce a combined 195bhp.
The electric motor is powered by batteries which are located under the rear seats of the NX to minimise the impact on practicality. The batteries are charged by the engine as the car drives along or from recuperating the energy usually lost when a car brakes. The electric motor is mainly used to help assist the petrol engine during acceleration to reduce fuel consumption. It can also be used to drive up to a mile on electric alone and when manoeuvring at slow speeds.
The Lexus NX seamlessly selects the best power source based on the driver’s driving style. The only thing the driver must do is fill the car with petrol, like with any other conventional combustion powered car. The self-charging drivetrain adds versatility to the NX through the refinement of the electric motor, efficiency and instant power of the motors combined. The Lexus NX has an additional electric motor which powers the real axle when the front wheels loose traction to provide the benefits of all wheel drive, the rest of the time the electric motor situated at the front of the car powers the front axle with the petrol engine.
No as a self-charging hybrid the NX does not have the capability to be plugged in to charge, therefore you do not need to worry about charging infrastructure when considering purchasing an NX. This may particularly suit buyers who want an efficient car but can not charge at home due to not having off-street parking, renting or living in an apartment.
I found it convenient not having to plan in when I would charge the car or having to fuss with charging cables and apps.
The Lexus NX can be driven on electric power alone for short distances. To do this EV mode needs to be selected. The NX can drive on electric power alone up to one mile and up to 40mph, however once the accelerator is depressed a certain amount the petrol engine will assist.
I found it was easier to leave in normal mode and allow the NX to decide when it was best to use electric power alone.
The Lexus NX should be as reliable as any other Lexus product. Lexus demonstrate faith in their technology with the long battery warranty. All Lexus self-charging hybrids are covered for 3 years or 60,000 miles and as part of the annual service a complementary hybrid health check is included which extends the battery warranty for a further year or 10,000 miles up to a total of 15 years.
The NX is arguably efficient for its size and power output. However, it is not as efficient as a plug-in-hybrid (PHEV) which for driver’s who regularly charge their car and drive short distances may never use the combustion engine. Whereas, the NX can only drive for up to a mile on electric power alone so relies on the combustion engine to power the car so is less efficient.
Having said this if you forget to plug in your PHEV regularly the car won’t be as efficient, so a self-charging hybrid ensures you receive some of the benefits of electric motoring with the convenience of not plugging in.
Self-charging hybrids can also offer lower emissions and fuel consumption compared to conventionally powered cars which can reduce running costs.
Overall, over around 200 miles of mixed driving with myself not adapting my driving style the NX managed 38mpg. This could be increased by accelerating and slowing down more gradually so that the engine has less demand and the electric motor spends longer solely powering the car.
Purchase, Tax and Grants
The Lexus NX has CO2 emissions of 175g/km which means the NX has a BIK rate of 37% which may benefit company car drivers.
Depending on the specification chosen NX owners may have to pay an additional premium road tax if the car is over £40,000 this will cost an additional £335 on top of the standard £145 rate for the first five years. The initial road tax cost for the first year will be £885. If the NX is specified to cost less than £40,000 then the road tax after the first year will cost £145.
Servicing costs for the Lexus NX start from £280 and it is recommended that the NX is serviced every year or 10,000 miles. The hybrid NX features the same servicing intervals as the conventional combustion powered NX 200t but is cheaper to service.
The costs to service a Lexus NX can be spread over a number of months to make payment more manageable in smaller, regular monthly payments.
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Self-Charging vs Full Electric
Self-charging vs Fully Electric
The Lexus NX is a self-charging hybrid, these drivetrains have a range of benefits:
• Ease of use – Self-charging hybrids do not need to be plugged in like PHEVs and electric cars. So they are more convenient to run, especially if you don’t have off-street parking or charging points.
• Efficiency – The electric motor assists the petrol engine to reduce fuel consumption which reduces the running costs. The best efficiency will be achieved in urban driving or at slow speeds when the car can run on electric alone.
• Affordability – Self-charging hybrids may be more expensive than regular combustion cars but they are much less than PHEVS and some electric cars whilst still offering some of the benefits of electric motoring
Electric cars are increasingly popular. Despite car sales decreasing by 29.4% in 2020, electric car sales in 2020 were up by 185.9% compared to 2019.
Running an electric car has many benefits:
• Cheaper to run - recharging an EV is 58% cheaper than refueling a petrol car.
• Cheaper to maintain and more reliable - fewer moving parts means servicing is cheaper as there are less parts to wear out.
• Better for the environment - whilst driving an electric car emits no emissions, using renewable energy to charge reduces your carbon footprint further.
• Driving Dynamics - instant torque from standstill ensures a more responsive driving experience.
• UK Government's Plug-in Car Grant - government support can make buying an electric car more cost effective than a petrol car.
The Lexus NX was impressive, making you feel special every time you walked up to it and drove it, due to its unique styling and luxurious touches throughout. The self-charging drivetrain offers an alternative to plugging the car in which increases convenience. Whilst the touch pad controlling the central infotainment screen took some time to get used to, the overall interior design was intuitive and the climate controls were easy to use.
The Lexus NX offers an interesting alternative in the electric and hybrid marketplace.
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