The 2024 Lexus NX450h+ is the luxury version of the Rav4 Prime. But don’t let its underpinnings deceive you. This is much more than just a Rav4 with a Lexus badge.
Engine – The underpinnings of the NX450h+ are that of the Rav4 Prime. It utilizes the same 2.5L naturally aspirated engine with electric motors providing extra power. The engine produces 181 hp and 165 lb-ft of torque (134 kW & 224 Nm). The electric motor in the front provides 179 hp & 199 lb-ft (133 kW & 270 Nm) while the motor powering the back wheels provides 53 hp & 89 lb-ft of torque (39 kW & 121 Nm). Total system output is 304 hp (226 kW) but Lexus won’t say the total system torque. From behind the steering wheel, I can tell you that the torque is plenty with a brisk 0-100 km/h time of around 6 seconds. Impressive for something that tips the scales at 2,035 kg (4,487 lbs). Sport mode provides a sharp throttle response while Comfort mode gives the SUV a smooth driving demeanor.
But when you don’t need all the power, the 2024 Lexus NX450h+ can drive for up to 61 km (38 miles) on electricity. The electric motors have enough grunt to get the heavy crossover up to speed without impending anyone behind you. When you need a burst of power, the engine seamlessly turns on for the extra kick of acceleration. With this powertrain, the NX can hold the battery charge or the engine can recharge the battery for later use. However, it will not recharge the engine back to 100%.
Battery & Charging – In order to get the 18.1 kWh lithium-ion battery back up to 100%, you can charge it from a wall outlet or a level 2 charger. From the former, it will take approximately 12 hours from flat to 100% and about 2 and a half hours from a level 2 charger.
Once the battery is depleted, the 2024 Lexus NX450h+ behaves like an NX350h. As in, it will periodically run with the engine on and sometimes off. The car will always keep a little bit of a charge in the battery for the eAWD system to function properly.
Fuel Economy – Thanks to the long electric driving range, your fuel economy can be really good. Because I was able to plug in the NX450h+ periodically, I averaged 0.9 L/100km (261 MPG) with 19.9 kWh/100km (3.12 mi/kwh) during my week with the car. If you don’t drive the crossover as it was intended to, then it should return up to 6.2 L/100km (37.9 MPG) in a city and 7.0 L/100km (33.6 MPG) on a highway.
Transmission – Just like the Rav4 Prime, the NX450h+ is equipped with an e-CVT automatic. Despite the name, it is actually quite different from a traditional CVT. However, it still functions in the same way. The engine’s rpms are kept at a constant rate until the car reaches the desired speed at which point, it will stop them back down for better fuel economy or shut off the engine if there’s enough battery charge. There are steering wheel mounted paddle shifters for virtual gear shifts.
Braking – The brake pedal in the NX450h+ has a smooth operation. The transition from regen braking to using the physical brakes is indistinguishable. There is an S mode on the transmission which will provide a bit more regen braking but it will also keep the engine running for peak performance.
Handling – Like many Lexus vehicles, the 2024 NX450h+ is an easy crossover SUV to drive. Steering is direct and light but without much feel. Under full throttle acceleration out of a corner, the steering wheel tugs a bit due to torque steer. But the crossover never gives you the impression that it will tip over or completely lose control. This NX450h+ has the F-Sport 3 package which adds adaptive suspension. It changes stiffness between the drive modes but it’s not too noticeable from a ride comfort perspective. Dynamically, the body does resist a bit more roll through corners in Sport mode and settles down more quickly.
The NX450h+ comes standard with eAWD. There is no physical shaft that links the front and rear wheels and instead there is an electric motor that powers the rear wheels. Most of the time, the Lexus NX450h+ is a FWD SUV with the eAWD system being engaged on initial launch or through sharper corners.
Ride Comfort – The last Lexus NX that I drove did not have the optional adaptive dampers but I still considered the ride to be great. With the addition of the optional adaptive dampers, the ride is just about perfect. Driving over manhole covers is as smooth as driving over a fruit cake. The suspension soaks up the bumps and isolates them from the cabin.
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 NX is larger than the outgoing as one would expect. It has more legroom for front & rear passengers. My knees are nowhere near the dashboard and behind my 6’4” driving position, I have an ample amount of space. The back seats provide ample space as well even for tall adults like myself and even while sitting behind my tall driving position. My knees are up against the back of the front seats but they’re not squished and they’re up against soft leather. Not hard plastic.
Headroom though is a slightly different story. There is enough of it in the front seats while my driving position is at its lowest point. But it just feels as though the headliner is awfully close to my head. It’s the same story in the back but this time, my hair does brush up against the headliner. However, you can recline those back seats for a bit more comfort and more headroom.
Behind all rows of seats, the 2024 Lexus NX450h+ has 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. There is a little bit of storage under the trunk floor for the charging cable but no spare wheel.
Noise, Vibration, & Harshness – Overall, the cabin of the 2024 Lexus NX450h+ is well isolated from outside noises. 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. The transition from electric to the gasoline engine is generally smooth but if you pay very close attention for it, you can feel the jolt of the engine turning on. But again, you really have to be paying attention for it.
Odds and Ends
Pricing – The 2024 Lexus NX450h+ has one of the lower starting prices among luxury plug-in hybrid SUVs. It starts at $59,900 CAD ($59,405 USD) with this demo vehicle costing $77,205 CAD ($63,970 USD). Here in B.C. the NX450h+ is eligible for up to $7,000 in rebates.
Gadgets – This is a fully loaded Lexus NX which means that is has NuLuxe synthetic leather (which is actually pretty convincing for the real stuff), the front seats are heated & ventilated, the rears eats are just heated as is the steering wheel, the liftgate is hands free and programmable, there’s a dual-zone automatic climate control, a head-up display, surround view cameras which can display an invisible car allowing you to see what’s under it, there’s a sunroof, a wireless phone charging pad, a digital key, and a 17-speaker Mark Levinson audio system.
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. 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 450h+ 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 NX450h+. 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 2024 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 2024 Lexus NX 450h+ 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 packages include front cross traffic alert, lane change assist, and Risk Avoidance Emergency Steer Assist.
The IIHS gave the 2023 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 2024 Lexus NX450h+ 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 – So is this the best version of the Lexus NX? Well, the starting price undercuts the competitors but once you add the optional packages, it is right around the same price as the Volvo XC60 T8 Recharge with the Plus package. That’s the one I’d go for if I had an $80,000 CAD budget as it has more space and a powerful engine.
If you really want to get a PHEV version of the NX, stick with the standard model as it is well priced, well equipped, and eligible for rebates… at least in B.C. In my opinion, I’d go for the NX350h with a few packages on it. That, to me, is the perfect spec of the Lexus NX.
Thank you to Lexus Canada for providing the vehicle. www.Lexus.ca