You want the efficiency and dependability of a Rav4 Hybrid but with more luxury features. What do you do? Lexus has you covered with the all-new 2022 Lexus NX 350h. Underneath it shares a lot of its components with the Rav4 Hybrid but it ups the luxury level by a few notches.
Engine – The 2022 NX 350h is powered by a 2.5L naturally aspirated 4-cylinder that produces 240 net hp (179 kW). As per usual, Toyota/Lexus won’t say the net torque but the engine torque is rated at 167 lb-ft (226 Nm). From behind the steering wheel, this engine feels like as though it has enough of a pep. Interestingly, the 0-100 km/h time can be done in around 7 seconds which is pretty reasonable for something that tips the scales at 1,800 kg (3,968 lbs). It doesn’t feel underpowered when you’re commuting by yourself to work but when it’s fully loaded with passengers and cargo, it may feel as though it’s struggling a bit to get up steep hills. However, if you switch the NX to Sport mode, the throttle response is much sharper and it feels a little bit more eager to get going.
Fuel Economy – Of course a 0-60 time is not what this SUV was designed for. It was designed to be efficient and on that front, there’s hardly anything in this class that can come close to it. Unless of course it’s full electric. Officially the 2022 Lexus NX350h is rated for 5.7 L/100km (41.2 MPG) in a city and 6.4 L/100km (36.7 MPG) on a highway. In the real world, you can get better than advertised fuel economy if you’re gentle with the throttle inputs. During my time with the SUV, I’ve averaged 5.5 L/100km (42.7 MPG) which included mostly city driving but as well some highway blasts.
The NX 350h has a little 1.6 kWh battery that can provide electric only driving for brief periods. Primarily this is done at speeds under approximately 70 km/h (43 mph) and under light throttle applications or maintaining speeds. At highway speeds, the only time it switches to EV mode is when the car is coasting. There is a dedicated EV mode that allows for faster EV-only acceleration from a stop but it automatically gets disabled if the NX350h goes faster than 35 km/h (21 mph). If you don’t touch that button and you’re gentle with the throttle, the Lexus NX can accelerate to about 65 km/h (40 mph) on electricity alone. This of course has to be with a nearly fully charged battery and it’ll be a very slow acceleration. In other words, you’ll have a few angry tailgaters behind you.
Transmission – Paired with this engine is an eCVT automatic. It does its job of providing smooth operation along with good fuel economy very well. When you switch the NX to Sport mode, the transmission will provide virtual gears for you to play around with and control via the nice feeling paddles on the steering wheel.
Braking – The battery gets partially recharged by the regenerative braking system. The brake pedal has a firm feel and can provide more than enough force to bring the crossover SUV to a stop. However, the pedal doesn’t have a lot of movement under light braking applications which makes it a bit more difficult to come to a complete stop if you have a heavier foot.
Handling – The Lexus NX350h is a composed SUV around twists and turns. It feels planted with the suspension doing a good job controlling the body roll through corners. The NX 350h does not receive adaptive dampers like the F-Sport 350 but this crossover was not really meant to be a canyon carver. Steering is responsive with a hefty feeling steering wheel at high speeds. It can firm up a little bit more when switching the NX into Sport mode. However, don’t mistake this car for a sporty luxury crossover SUV. The Genesis GV70, BMW X3, Mercedes GLC, etc. all do a better job of delivering driving dynamics. One small complaint I have about the NX is that the turning radius is large. Comparatively speaking.
Ride Comfort – Despite this version of the Lexus NX not being equipped with adaptive dampers, the ride is really good for having standard suspension. It feels plush without being overly floaty. But over bigger bumps, it will take a few more jounces before the suspension settles the body.
The seats are the other half of the comfort equation. They’re plush, supportive, and don’t induce any pressure points through your back, legs, or bum.
Interior Space – This new generation of the Lexus NX was designed to provide more passenger space. However you wouldn’t know that from looking at it on paper because it actually has less than some of its competitors. Even so, legroom in the front and rear seats is good. My knees are nowhere near the dashboard and behind my 6’4” driving position, I have an ample amount of space. But headroom is a different story. My hair doesn’t brush up against the headliner but it is close even with the driver’s seat to its lowest position. Also the black headliner doesn’t help for those that have a tendency of feeling claustrophobic.
Behind the seats, the Lexus NX 350h has one of the smaller trunks. It can accommodate 643 L (22.7 cu-ft) of space with the rear seats up and 1,328 L (46.9 cu-ft) of space with the rear seats folded.
Noise, Vibration, & Harshness – Overall, the cabin of the 2022 Lexus NX350h is well isolated from outside noises. It’s not perfect, but for the price of the NX 350h, it is good. During city drives, the engine’s noise is well muted when accelerating at a moderate pace. However, it will become annoyingly loud if you mash your foot on the throttle pedal. On highways, wind and engine noise is negligible but there is a little bit of road noise intruding into the cabin. However, it’s acceptable and it doesn’t require you to raise your voice in order to have a conversation with rear passengers.
Odds and Ends
Pricing – The 2022 Lexus NX 350h starts at $49,900 CAD ($42,625 USD). This demo vehicle had the Premium package equipped which brought up the price only by a little bit to $51,400 CAD ($45,675 USD). However a fully loaded NX350h with the Executive package will cost you upwards of $65,950 CAD ($54,175 USD, Luxury Package w/ options).
Gadgets – This 2022 NX350h has just the right amount of gadgets which include heated & ventilated front seats, heated steering wheel with two settings, a 9.8” touchscreen, power liftgate, backup camera with parking sensors, NuLuxe synthetic leather (which is actually pretty convincing for the real stuff), a standard sunroof, memory driver’s seat, and power tilt & telescopic steering wheel.
As you move up through the packages, the NX can be equipped with a larger 14” touchscreen, a head-up display, a larger panoramic sunroof, heated rear seats, 17 Speaker Mark Levinson audio system, rear camera mirror, and wireless phone charging among many other features. One odd thing is that genuine leather seats are only available on the top spec Executive package.
One of the biggest new gadgets is the new infotainment system which is the same one that is shared in new Toyota vehicles. This and the one used in Toyota vehicles is identical, right down to the graphics. It allows for wireless Apple CarPlay & wireless Android Auto. Unlike the Toyota Tundra I reviewed, I have not had any issues connecting wireless Android Auto to this system. The navigation system is subscription based but if you carry your smartphone, you’ll always have Google Maps or Waze to use for navigation via CarPlay or Android Auto.
Interior Design – The cabin of the new Lexus NX 350h looks like what someone would expect from a modern Lexus. There’s soft touch materials throughout and the design is thoroughly modern. The touchscreen is the most prominent feature of the dashboard and it is not as far away from the driver as the older design. The infotainment screen is controlled by touch inputs and no longer a trackpad. I particularly like the contrasting red NuLuxe synthetic leather and it is how I would option my own NX350h. There aren’t that many physical buttons but there’s just enough to control the temperature and important vehicle features such as the window defrosters.
Exterior Design – The first Lexus NX looked like as though it had an overbite with the nearly non-existent front chin. But if you optioned it with the F-Sport package, then it would give the NX a large chin along with a grille that looked as though it could swallow small dogs and cats. This new 2022 NX still has the Jay Leno chin but the hourglass grille is a bit more proportionate to the car. It doesn’t look as encompassing. Around the back, it has a lightbar that extends from one side to the other which is reminiscent of it’s little brother; the Lexus UX.
Safety – The 2022 Lexus NX 350h is equipped with standard Lexus Safety System+ 3.0. This includes a wide range of driver and safety aids from automatic emergency braking to lane keep to rear cross traffic alert. The only safety options that can be added on with higher spec packages include blind spot monitoring with rear cross traffic braking, front cross traffic alert, lane change assist, and Risk Avoidance Emergency Steer Assist.
The IIHS gave the 2022 Lexus NX a Top Safety Pick+. The crossover SUV received good ratings in every category from crash tests to headlights and even the ease of Latch use.
Warranty – The 2022 Lexus NX350h has a 4 year / 60,000 km new vehicle, 6 year / 110,000 km powertrain, and an 8 year / 160,000 km hybrid component warranty. For more information on Canadian Lexus warranty, click here. For information on American warranty, click here.
Conclusion – In all, the new 2022 Lexus NX 350h is a great option for those looking for a comfortable, daily commuter type of SUV. The refined interior, the excellent fuel economy, and smooth road manners make it a solid choice for a compact luxury crossover. Plus, it has the added benefit of being a Toyota product so it’ll probably last for a really long time. It’s just not the most engaging luxury crossover to drive. For that, you have to look at the German or Korean rivals.
Thank you to Lexus Canada for providing the vehicle. www.Lexus.ca