Practical experience Lexus NX 300h: exclusive (but also) good?

‘He is not as smooth as the IS, but he still comes along well’

Lexus NX

The Lexus NX 300h is already ten years old. That in itself is nothing special, we deal with such cars often, but Lexus’ SUV is certainly not for sale considering its age. And although 95 percent of its successor is new, it secretly still looks a lot like the original. Combine these timeless looks with the interior space of an SUV and the quality of a Lexus and you have the perfect car… right? There’s only one way to find out if that’s true: user reviews.

We previously paid attention in this section to the Lexus IS 300h, a car that was positively assessed by almost all drivers. Only the space available turned out to be limited, which you cannot solve by choosing a station wagon. No, anyone who wants an IS 300h with more space is condemned to the NX 300h.

Lexus NX 2018

Space and seating comfort

And apparently that space is fine. “The space in the back is great,” says the driver of a 2017 NX 300h AWD Business Line Pro. “The legroom for the rear passengers and the general comfort in the back is just good.” It even exceeds expectations. “I expected this a little less and was therefore pleasantly surprised.” It turns out to be the ideal family car for the next F Sport Line driver. “Kids very comfortable in the backseat,” he writes. The trunk is also in order, according to the driver of an NX 300h President Line. “There is plenty of luggage space, there is a huge cellar under the boot cover, it really fits a lot, so much that we had room at the top.”

Lexus NX 2018

The IS 300h received compliments about the seats, the NX 300h does just as well. “The seats are fine on long journeys, both for me and my wife,” says the President Line driver. A bit of background: “I am 1.88 meters and 110 kg, my wife almost half that.” The driver of an F Sport Line is also enthusiastic about the seats in his car, which have a slightly sportier cut. “The seats fit like a glove and after a long drive you get out of the car without feeling tired.” How much sportier exactly is described by another F Sport Line owner. “I recently sat in a non-F Sport Lexus seat again and I have to say that I missed the cheeks. With the sports seats, no sliding buttocks when cornering and longer distances without back problems.”

Lexus NX 2018

Infotainment and controls

Users are less enthusiastic about the operation. This does not come as a complete surprise, because the IS 300h was also only just convincing on this point. “Multimedia system and GPS are basic and a bit outdated. That is consistent with what the reviews say,” writes the owner of a 2017 NX Business Line Pro. The driver of a 2015 F Sport Line wastes even fewer words: “The multimedia system is severely outdated and the ease of use is insufficient. .”

Lexus NX 2018

One rider takes action himself. “I regularly sit in the car of people who use Apple Carplay. Unfortunately, I don’t have that in my 2017 NX and I’m starting to see the added value of it. I have therefore decided to have a GROM VLine installed, expanding the current system with Apple CarPlay.” Not entirely without reason. “The Lexus navigation regularly falls short, even though the maps are up to date and I also like being able to use Spotify from the system, for example.” This rider is also not completely satisfied with the audio system, despite the fact that it is from a top brand. “A minor ‘disappointment’ is the Mark Levinson system, which I expected more from,” he writes. “The premium installation in the IS produced a fuller and warmer sound than the Mark Levinson, but the latter remains incredibly pure for much longer at higher volumes and that is very nice.” A sound we hear more often. “With the audio, we missed the very low, warm tones of the subwoofer as in the IS, but this was solved by placing a flat subwoofer under the passenger seat,” reports the owner of a 2016 NX F Sport Line. owner of a car one year younger says: “Audio (bass) could be a little warmer, but will be adjusted soon after tips in comments, for which thanks!”

Lexus NX 2018

Driving the NX 300h

Now that we are comparing the IS and NX: “What is immediately noticeable is the completely different driving behavior compared to the IS, duh… but what a difference,” says the President Line owner. “The IS is tight on the road and very direct, the NX reacts very differently, a little more rocky, transmits more to the top of what is happening at the bottom, less directly on the gas, and you can feel everything that the NX is even heavier than the IS.” The outcome is less negative than you would initially expect. “On the German Autobahn, the NX does more than fine. It’s not as smooth as the IS, but I already knew that, but it still comes along well. It also continues bravely on the highway hills in the Black Forest without having to push the engine to its limits. And it handles the often tough climbs in Tuscany effortlessly, from one hairpin bend to the next, in a stable and comfortable manner.” Afterburner: “Oh yes, the new tires were fitted in November… what a relief; quieter, steers smoother, drives better, everything is better, different car almost, completely happy!”

The driver of an NX 300h F Sport Line also emphasizes that tires are important. “Unfortunately we have Yokohama tires underneath, which detracts a bit from the serene tranquility. As soon as these are worn out, Michelin tires are put back on, with which I have always had good experiences.” How do you like driving this NX 300h? “We have not regretted our choice for a moment. What a wonderful car. The car sits like a rock on the road and you float over the road.” In the Netherlands, at least. “On Italian back roads, which are often dramatically bad, the chassis had a little more difficulty dealing with bumps. Fortunately, we don’t have this problem on Dutch roads.” The next owner is very satisfied with the compromise found by Lexus. “Driving comfort. Most reviews rate this as ‘fair’, personally I think this is ‘very good’. The NX is a bit restless on less smooth surfaces, but nothing to get excited about. On the contrary. I like to feel and hear what is happening beneath me and that is the case here.”

Lexus NX 2018

How do you like the drivetrain?

Just like the IS 300h, this NX also has a fairly large 2.5-liter four-cylinder under the hood. This is supported by an electric motor and thus reaches 197 hp system power. “The Lexus drives very familiar, it is the same engine as in my previous Lexus, only I now have about 20 hp less,” said the driver of a 2020 NX 300h Luxury Edition. “Why is a mystery to me, a heavier car is the same engine but still less horsepower?” In practice it turns out not to be a major loss. “Don’t give too much gas, you usually accelerate quickly enough and when you get up to speed, lift your accelerator pedal,” he advises. “Especially in built-up areas, the engine immediately switches off and you drive electrically.”

CVTs are often accused of letting the engine roar when acceleration is needed, but in this Lexus that seems to be under control. “Very quiet. It only howls if, as a driver, you ask a lot at unnatural moments, in practice it never actually happens,” says the driver of an F Sport Line. Another driver, with a similar car, has a different opinion. “Driving in the mountains (without a caravan) was good, but in Sport+ mode and with pinball. When going uphill, the engine climbed higher in revs with an acceptable roar, but that should be better (read quieter).”

Maintenance, malfunctions and annoyances

We couldn’t say much about the Lexus IS 300h under this heading. It’s different with his bigger brother. For example, several drivers report noise. “I hear a cracking sound at the rear all too regularly and I have not yet been able to trace it back to a clear cause,” writes the owner of a 2016 copy. “The solution was found via the Lexus forum,” he writes. “Turns out the tailgate lock has some space around the metal bracket it closes around. A little bit of dust tape from wiring harnesses around the bracket and solved.” All’s well that ends well, all right? Not quite. “After the first round of creaks, there were still some creaks and rattles somewhere in the back. The cause has not yet been found, it is not that disturbing, but probably torsion between the car and the parcel shelf.” Another driver is not very pleased with the interior design. “The quality of the plastic side panels of the doors is disappointing, many scratches,” he writes. And something else striking. “It is a car that was very well put together, beautiful seams, beautiful paintwork. But what I do notice is that the hood vibrates when driving on the highway. It’s not due to poor alignment, apparently it just is.”

Well, the suffering remains relatively small. This applies to a slightly lesser extent to the driver of an NX 300h President Line, who came home from a rude awakening after the sun holiday. “The 12V battery (6 years old) has been replaced, we came back from 10 days in Gran Canaria in October and then the NX said ‘do it yourself’. ANWB was there, had a start, drove for an hour, but weak again the next day.” Finally, a driver who likes to stand up for his Lexus. “I bought the NX with over 90,000 km on the odometer. This car has never let me down during 50,000 km, up to 140,000 km. Apart from the tailgate suspension, which was repaired under warranty, nothing was damaged. Everything is just keep doing it!”

According to owners, the NX 300h is ideal for those looking for a more spacious IS 300h. However, the SUV body does not come completely without flaws. Keeping the larger carriage under control requires a lot of the chassis, the NX also seems more sensitive to rattles and the audio system is less effective. This does not apply to the drivetrain, which also produces largely positive reactions in the SUV. Is the NX 300h the best of both worlds? At least not for this owner. “My NX is still a beautiful car and comfortable, but sometimes just more of the so-called golden mean.”

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