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

The present-day-technology NX might not be lengthy for this world, but it is really still uniquely positioned as is.

Andrew Krok/Roadshow

For 2021, Lexus hosted a vital bash of kinds for its 6-12 months-previous NX compact crossover. Beforehand, you could get an NX hybrid and an NX F Activity, but you couldn’t merge the two. That tends to make the arrival of this NX 300h F Activity Black Line about as a great deal of a surprise as Monday following Sunday, although it is really a specific-edition product restricted to 1,000 units. Even so, at its coronary heart, the most current NX mashup is a good deal snug and skilled.


  • Sharper appears to be like than normal hybrid
  • Darn respectable efficiency
  • Relaxed in everyday use

Will not Like

  • Costly for an growing old motor vehicle
  • Cursed infotainment

Why are unable to they all glance like this?

Honestly, the F Activity must be the NX’s de facto facial area. Not only is this mesh-model grille significantly additional desirable than the normal one, the F Activity entire body kit provides some body weight to the lessen front bumper, which has a rather aggressive upward angle on the frequent NX 300h and appears to be like like anyone forgot to attract in a chin. Throw in some F Activity-unique eighteen-inch alloy wheels and you’ve got a sound looker, even although the NX has been about for a little bit now.

It might not carry the flashy appears to be like of its more recent, more durable-edged Teutonic competitiveness, but the 2021 Lexus NX 300h F Sport’s interior is still a damn great put to devote time. Special touches inside of are restricted to contrasting blue stitching, a heated steering wheel and aluminum pedals, but you will find no sense messing with results. The seats have outstanding cushioning and support, and the heart console’s elevated setup signifies glances consider much less time absent from the road in advance. It’s a small previous-college in that bodily switchgear certainly dominates the NX’s interior, but the controls have great tactility and are useless straightforward to use with pretty small distraction. Cubbies and stash places abound, together with my preferred one, nestled just in advance of the heart armrest and covered by a tiny detachable vainness mirror. The automotive world wants additional strange small touches like that, wherever nobody’s seriously really certain why it is really there. I suggest, you will find still a mirror in the sunlight visor, so who’s it for? The back again row?

Speaking of, some compact crossovers pick to sacrifice interior place in the name 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 frame does not have any concerns in the back again seats, and with practically 43 inches of legroom, I certainly have home to extend the ol’ gams. If you might be just one individual or have a tiny loved ones, the NX’s sixteen.eight cubic toes of cargo place must be a good deal, even though the hybrid program normally takes up a little bit of place, shrinking the complete capacity down from seventeen.seven cubic toes in fuel-only variants. Though which is additional storage than the Mercedes-Benz GLA-Course can muster up, it falls nicely behind opponents like the Audi Q3 (23.seven cubic toes) and BMW X1 (27.1 cubic toes).

Smoothness around sport

Lexus results in some of the quietest, smoothest-driving automobiles in the luxury segment, and even its next-littlest crossover seriously swings for the fences in this regard. Though F Activity types do gain a sharper suspension, the NX Black Line is still amid the most snug automobiles in the segment. Whatever bumps are not dispatched by the dampers transmit small motion to the cabin, and in classic Lexus trend, you will find a respectable sum of seem-deadening substance all over the entire body, maintaining most undesired road noises at bay. Gobs of pedal modulation make limo stops a breeze, and the steering turns the automobile, which I imagine is the extent to which its foreseeable future owners treatment about that.

It’s great that the brevity-averse 2021 Lexus NX 300h F Activity Black Line is a smooth operator, due to the fact it certain ain’t a fast one. Like all other NX hybrids, the Black Line gets its forward motion from a 2.5-liter inline-4 mated to Lexus’ hybrid hardware for a net 194 horsepower. It’s a frequent previous hybrid, not a plug-in, so its battery is restricted to a couple miles of electrical-only procedure at sub-freeway speeds, but leaving the NX in Eco manner seriously puts that nickel-metallic hydride to operate. On one suburban jaunt, with pace restrictions hardly ever eclipsing forty mph, I ran mostly on electrical energy for a number of dozen miles, resulting in an outstanding forty five mpg. That is an edge circumstance, although — the EPA prices this NX variant at 33 mpg town and 30 mpg freeway, which is Okay for an electrified all-wheel-generate SUV, but I was in a position to conquer each figures with small additional than a mild foot. The continuously variable transmission is so nicely tuned that I fundamentally ignore it exists, which is about all you can inquire for.

There are driving modes further than Eco, even although that is my obvious preferred. Eco is all about efficiency, so throttle inputs are dulled and the powertrain does its greatest to be in its most economical array at all occasions. Regular, the default manner, has a firmer throttle response that does a improved work of offering article-stoplight acceleration, but it eats into efficiency a little bit. You will find a Activity manner, far too, but why hassle? Of course, the NX 300h F Activity does offer you some semblance of sportiness, but it is really obvious that the fundamental Lexus still desires to be cool and gathered as typically as attainable. The Black Line also consists of Lexus’ fake-engine-seem synthesizer, which luckily has a proper Off placing.

Lexus’ leather-based video game is on stage. Those people seats are even additional snug than they glance.

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Out, damned touchpad, out, I say!

One particular day, I would not have to create about Lexus’ accursed infotainment program, which has been kicking about in several iterations for practically a ten years now. Its present-day system of manipulation, a touchpad on the heart console, remains as odd and unintuitive as the day it came out, as the cursor “snaps” to several pieces of the monitor while your finger tracks along. It’s hard to manipulate sitting still, nonetheless while driving.

An eight-inch monitor, which is what my tester has, is normal and it is really great, rocking the similar previous aesthetic Lexus has relied on for several years. A ten.3-inch monitor is accessible on other trims, which provides navigation, but it is really not normal on the Black Line, irrespective of it getting the most high-priced NX variant accessible. Fortunately, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are still along for the ride no matter what. Just include contact ability, for crying out loud, it is really previously accessible on the LS. Who cares if you have to move the monitor closer so individuals can truly arrive at it? A next, lesser details screen lives in between the speedometer and electricity delivery gauge, relaying pertinent information and facts about tire pressures, gas financial state or the excursion meter.

If you will find one corner of in-automobile tech that Lexus has down pat, it is really security. All NX types occur normal with the Lexus Security System Additionally 2. array of passive and energetic systems. This bundle characteristics lane-maintaining guide, forward-collision warning with computerized crisis braking, pedestrian and bike owner detection, lane-departure warning and comprehensive-pace adaptive cruise manage. Blind-place monitoring and parking sensors are incorporated in the NX Black Line, as nicely. Mum or dad business Toyota has had a good deal of time to refine these arms-on units, and it exhibits in their procedure.

I can only hope that the future technology of NX gets rid of this touchpad the moment and for all. 

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Down to brass tacks

In its push materials, Lexus states the NX Black Line prioritizes its customers’ desire for “special styling and value,” but the latter declare is iffy, supplied that it is really the most high-priced variant by base selling price, commencing at $forty seven,835 together with place. My tester rings in at $forty eight,745 with some fripperies like doorway edge guards and illuminated doorsills, which is really the tablet to swallow for a compact luxury crossover which is because of for a alternative. But in context, it is really about on par with its opponents, all of which offer you similar base selling prices and similar odds to load the autos up to significant heaven with all fashion of possibilities.

The 2021 Lexus NX 300h F Activity Black Line’s hybrid powertrain and concentration on proper previous-college luxury help set it aside from the crowd. If what you might be just after is ease and comfort and efficiency, you’d be hard-pressed to discover a improved healthy in the compact SUV segment.