I started writing about new automobiles in 1992 when the World Wide Web was in its infancy stage. The Internet and cars of today were unimaginable back then. I suppose Henry Ford could not have envisioned today’s modern vehicles either.
Those were my thoughts when I had the opportunity to test drive the 2020 Lexus NX 300h. Magnificently designed and engineered, it’s one of the hottest-selling compact luxury crossover SUVs in the segment, loaded with the latest electronic and safety technology.
Lexus entered the small crossover SUV market in 2015 with the NX model, which is now the hottest segment in the U.S. Lexus is not alone; today, almost every luxury brand now has a compact five-seat crossover SUV. These smaller SUVs bring the luxury class within reach of more buyers, who prefer them over sedans. They offer more versatility, plusher interiors, advanced safety technologies, and standard or available all-wheel drive.
Today, one of every four vehicles sold in the U.S. is a compact crossover SUV, which makes up 24.2% of the total U.S. car market. The luxury compact crossover sales represent 13.3% of the compact crossover market.
The Lexus NX 300h, positioned between the mid-size RX and the subcompact UX, is the luxury hybrid class leader. Starting at $39,420 MSRP, it gets 33 mpg city and 30 highway. Other lineup models include the base NX 300 AWD starting around $38,270 and averaging 22 city/28 highway; The NX 300 F Sport AWD begins at $40,510 and averages 22 city/27 highway. The front-wheel-drive F Sport is about $1,000 less.
Standard equipment includes the Lexus Remote Touch controller, an 8-inch display, WiFi hotspot, remote start, leather upholstery/steering wheel, Apple CarPlay, Amazon Alexa, Android Auto, a USB port, an eight-speaker stereo, dual-zone automatic climate control, 10-way power-adjustable front seats, and 18-inch alloy wheels.
The Lexus NX also comes with the Lexus Safety System 2.0+ suite. It includes a pre-collision warning and braking system, lane-departure warning, lane-keeping assistance, lane-trace assist, automatic high-beam headlights, adaptive cruise control, and road sign recognition.
Driving is perky and smooth, and it performs like a Lexus sedan in congested city traffic and freeways. The standard all-wheel-drive feels confident in all conditions, especially on wet surfaces and handling sharp highway ramps.
The 300h gets its energy from a 2.5-liter four-cylinder gas and three electric engines which generate 194 horsepowers. The base NX 300 has a turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine that gets 235 horsepower. Both models come with a six-speed continuously variable automatic transmission.
The 2020 Lexus NX 300h is a great compact hybrid crossover for performance, fuel economy, and safety in congested traffic. However, if you want more back seat and cargo space, consider the larger RX hybrid model. For buyers who wish to have more fuel economy and less space, consider the smaller Lexus UX Hybrid.