2021 Lexus NX 300h review: Nothing you haven’t seen before

The current-technology NX could not be long for this planet, but it is really even now uniquely positioned as is.

Andrew Krok/Roadshow

For 2021, Lexus hosted a essential bash of sorts for its 6-year-outdated NX compact crossover. Previously, you could get an NX hybrid and an NX F Sport, but you could not merge the two. That will make the arrival of this NX 300h F Sport Black Line about as a great deal of a surprise as Monday next Sunday, although it is really a exclusive-version model confined to 1,000 models. Even so, at its heart, the most current NX mashup is a lot snug and knowledgeable.


  • Sharper seems than conventional hybrid
  • Darn decent efficiency
  • Relaxed in daily use

You should not Like

  • Expensive for an getting older vehicle
  • Cursed infotainment

Why won’t be able to they all look like this?

Honestly, the F Sport must be the NX’s de facto deal with. Not only is this mesh-fashion grille far much more attractive than the conventional one, the F Sport physique package adds some fat to the reduce front bumper, which has a pretty intense upward angle on the normal NX 300h and seems like anyone forgot to attract in a chin. Toss in some F Sport-unique eighteen-inch alloy wheels and you’ve received a solid looker, even although the NX has been all around for a little bit now.

It could not carry the flashy seems of its newer, harder-edged Teutonic competitiveness, but the 2021 Lexus NX 300h F Sport’s interior is even now a damn fine spot to expend time. Special touches within are confined to contrasting blue stitching, a heated steering wheel and aluminum pedals, but you can find no feeling messing with success. The seats have wonderful cushioning and support, and the heart console’s raised setup implies glances consider less time away from the street ahead. It really is a very little outdated-school in that bodily switchgear certainly dominates the NX’s interior, but the controls have great tactility and are useless easy to use with very very little distraction. Cubbies and stash places abound, together with my favourite one, nestled just ahead of the heart armrest and lined by a smaller removable vainness mirror. The automotive planet wants much more weird very little touches like that, in which nobody’s actually pretty positive why it is really there. I signify, you can find even now a mirror in the sun visor, so who’s it for? The back again row?

Talking of, some compact crossovers pick out to sacrifice interior house in the title of aesthetics, but not the Lexus NX. It does not have the flat, wagon-ish roof of, say, a BMW X1, but my 6-foot body does not have any challenges in the back again seats, and with almost forty three inches of legroom, I absolutely have home to extend the ol’ gams. If you might be just one human being or have a smaller family, the NX’s sixteen.eight cubic feet of cargo house must be a lot, while the hybrid method normally takes up a little bit of house, shrinking the whole ability down from seventeen.seven cubic feet in gasoline-only variants. Even though which is much more storage than the Mercedes-Benz GLA-Course can muster up, it falls effectively powering competitors like the Audi Q3 (23.seven cubic feet) and BMW X1 (27.1 cubic feet).

Smoothness in excess of activity

Lexus produces some of the quietest, smoothest-driving cars in the luxury segment, and even its second-littlest crossover actually swings for the fences in this regard. Even though F Sport designs do gain a sharper suspension, the NX Black Line is even now among the most snug cars in the segment. No matter what bumps usually are not dispatched by the dampers transmit very little motion to the cabin, and in common Lexus vogue, you can find a decent quantity of seem-deadening substance throughout the physique, trying to keep most unwelcome street noises at bay. Gobs of pedal modulation make limo stops a breeze, and the steering turns the car or truck, which I envision is the extent to which its long term entrepreneurs treatment about that.

It really is great that the brevity-averse 2021 Lexus NX 300h F Sport Black Line is a sleek operator, simply because it positive ain’t a fast one. Like all other NX hybrids, the Black Line receives its forward movement from a 2.five-liter inline-four mated to Lexus’ hybrid hardware for a web 194 horsepower. It really is a normal outdated hybrid, not a plug-in, so its battery is confined to a few miles of electric powered-only operation at sub-highway speeds, but leaving the NX in Eco mode actually puts that nickel-steel hydride to perform. On one suburban jaunt, with pace limitations hardly ever eclipsing forty mph, I ran largely on electrical power for a number of dozen miles, ensuing in an remarkable 45 mpg. That is an edge case, although — the EPA premiums this NX variant at 33 mpg city and thirty mpg highway, which is Ok for an electrified all-wheel-generate SUV, but I was able to conquer each figures with very little much more than a gentle foot. The constantly variable transmission is so effectively tuned that I essentially fail to remember it exists, which is about all you can talk to for.

There are driving modes further than Eco, even although that is my very clear favourite. Eco is all about efficiency, so throttle inputs are dulled and the powertrain does its best to be in its most cost-effective selection at all instances. Normal, the default mode, has a firmer throttle reaction that does a improved work of supplying submit-stoplight acceleration, but it eats into efficiency a little bit. You will find a Sport mode, much too, but why trouble? Of course, the NX 300h F Sport does give some semblance of sportiness, but it is really very clear that the fundamental Lexus even now wants to be cool and collected as frequently as achievable. The Black Line also contains Lexus’ pretend-engine-seem synthesizer, which thankfully has a correct Off placing.

Lexus’ leather game is on issue. People seats are even much more snug than they look.

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Out, damned touchpad, out, I say!

A person day, I is not going to have to create about Lexus’ accursed infotainment method, which has been kicking all around in a variety of iterations for almost a ten years now. Its current process of manipulation, a touchpad on the heart console, stays as odd and unintuitive as the day it came out, as the cursor “snaps” to a variety of sections of the display screen even though your finger tracks together. It really is really hard to manipulate sitting even now, yet even though driving.

An eight-inch display screen, which is what my tester has, is conventional and it is really fine, rocking the identical outdated aesthetic Lexus has relied on for several years. A ten.3-inch display screen is obtainable on other trims, which adds navigation, but it is really not conventional on the Black Line, despite it staying the most highly-priced NX variant obtainable. Luckily, Apple CarPlay and Android Car are even now together for the trip no make a difference what. Just add touch ability, for crying out loud, it is really presently obtainable on the LS. Who cares if you have to shift the display screen nearer so people today can in fact achieve it? A second, scaled-down information screen life involving the speedometer and power supply gauge, relaying pertinent facts about tire pressures, gasoline financial system or the excursion meter.

If you can find one corner of in-car or truck tech that Lexus has down pat, it is really protection. All NX designs appear conventional with the Lexus Basic safety Method In addition 2. array of passive and energetic systems. This bundle functions lane-trying to keep assist, forward-collision warning with automatic emergency braking, pedestrian and bike owner detection, lane-departure warning and full-pace adaptive cruise regulate. Blind-spot monitoring and parking sensors are incorporated in the NX Black Line, as effectively. Mother or father corporation Toyota has had a lot of time to refine these arms-on systems, and it displays in their operation.

I can only hope that the subsequent technology of NX receives rid of this touchpad as soon as and for all. 

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Down to brass tacks

In its press supplies, Lexus says the NX Black Line prioritizes its customers’ drive for “exceptional styling and value,” but the latter claim is iffy, provided that it is really the most highly-priced variant by base price tag, starting off at $47,835 together with place. My tester rings in at $48,745 with some fripperies like doorway edge guards and illuminated doorsills, which is pretty the tablet to swallow for a compact luxury crossover which is owing for a replacement. But in context, it is really about on par with its competitors, all of which give similar base price ranges and similar possibilities to load the autos up to substantial heaven with all method of choices.

The 2021 Lexus NX 300h F Sport Black Line’s hybrid powertrain and emphasis on correct outdated-school luxury assistance established it apart from the crowd. If what you might be just after is comfort and ease and efficiency, you would be really hard-pressed to find a improved match in the compact SUV segment.