Perception is a funny thing. Four years ago, when Lexus introduced the NX, a smaller companion to its long-running, best-selling RX crossover, I thought it was kinda small. Its proportions haven't changed at all---but it has grown on me.
Especially if your life is lived in urban traffic, a tighter, more compact vehicle is a worthwhile thing---easier to get into tight spaces on a freeway or in a parking lot, no wasted space for extra stuff you don't carry around anyway and, usually, some savings on gas.
That's especially the case with the 2020 Lexus NX 300h, which is a hybrid---a combination of an electric motor and a gasoline engine with some sophisticated electronics to decide when to use one, when to use the other and when and how to blend power from both. The transmission is a continuously variable transmission and the NX 300h is all-wheel-drive.
All told, there's 194 horsepower on tap in the NX 300h, which is more than adequate. And there's big savings at the gas pump. The gasoline-powered NX 300 gets an EPA-estimated 22 miles per gallon in the city and 28 on the highway. The NX 300h hybrid's estimate is 33 in the city and 30 on the highway. Driven the average number of city and highway miles, that'll save $800 a year in fuel costs.
Despite being mid-sized (there is a smaller Lexus crossover, the UX, which I reviewed back in September), the NX can be surprisingly useful for hauling things. My wife and I bought a bookshelf over the weekend---it's five feet high and about three feet wide. We just folded down the second-row seats and it slid right in. The wide and low rear opening is a huge help.
Accomodations for people are what you'd expect from Lexus---tasteful and luxurious.
The 2020 Lexus NX 300h has a base price of $39,070 and that buys a long list of standard equipment:
- 17-inch alloy wheels.
- Lane tracing assist.
- Road sign assist.
- Pre-collision system with pedestrian detection.
- All-speed dynamic radar cruise control.
- Lane departure alert with steering assist.
- Intelligent high-beam headlamps.
- Brake assist with smart stop technology.
- SmartAccess entry system.
- Pushbutton start/stop.
- Backup camera with dynamic gridlines.
- Bi-LED headlamps and daytime running lights.
- Lexus Enform Safety Connect and Service Connect (free for the first ten years of ownership)
- Lexus multimedia system with eight-inch display.
- Apple CarPlay.
- Amazon Alexa device compatibility.
- 4G Wi-Fi hotspot (one year included).
- Smart watch and Alexa skill integration.
- Voice command.
- Siri Eyes Free.
- Google Voice Control.
- SiriusXM Satellite Radio (three-month free trial)
- Nu-Luxe leather-trimmed power front seats.
- Leather-trimmed steering wheel and shift knob.
- Dual-zone climate control with interior air filter.
- Windshield wiper de-icer and fast response windshield heater.
- Power-folding outside rearview mirrors.
- Power tilt and telescoping steering column.
- Eight-speaker premium audio system with two USB jacks.
- Manual reclining and folding 60/40 split rear seat.
- Tonneau cover.
- Roof rails.
- Carpet floor mats.
- First aid kit.
Our test vehicle also had several extra-cost options:
- Panoramic view backup monitor: $800.
- Auto-dimming inside rearview mirror with Homelink garage door opener: $125.
- Triple-beam LED headlamps with AFS (Adaptive Front Lighting System): $1,515.
- Navigation with 10.3-inch display, ten-speaker premium surround sound system, one-year trial to Lexus Enform Destination Assist: $1,860.
- Intuitive Parking Assist with auto braking: $535.
- Power rear door with kick sensor: $550.
- Premium Package (18-inch wheels with all-season tires, heated and ventilated front seats, premium LED daytime running lights, power tilt and slide moonroof, memory mirrors and driver's seat including lumbar support, blind spot mirror with rear cross-traffic alert): $3,270.
- Leather heated steering wheel: $150.
- Illuminated door sills: $459.
- Cargo mat, cargo net, wheel locks, key glove, rear protector: $383.
- Mud guards: $160.
If you think that's going to add up, you're right. With $1,025 delivery, processing and handling fee, the bottom line on the window sticker came to $49,902---or almost $11,000 more than the base price.
Is it worth it? If you want the most loaded Lexus NX 300h in town, yes. It's all good stuff. But with no extra-cost options, you're still getting a very well-equipped, capable, fuel-saving crossover for just under $40,000 instead of just under $50,000. And there's a lot of in-between. Your call.