In-depth Reviews

Lexus NX SUV - Engines, drive & performance

The Lexus NX trails its rivals in terms of driver enjoyment and the hybrid engine feels underpowered

Carbuyer Rating

3.3 out of 5

Owners Rating

4.3 out of 5

Read owner reviews
Engines, drive & performance Rating

2.5 out of 5

The Lexus NX driving experience is something of a mixed bag. While the ride is comfortable on the motorway, the suspension feels firm around town and the light controls give you very little feedback. The NX isn’t as composed and grippy as rivals such as the Jaguar F-Pace, Alfa Romeo Stelvio or BMW X3, while the F Sport trim isn’t much better to drive, but has firmer sports suspension that makes the ride quite hard.

Despite a four-wheel-drive system fitted as standard, the Lexus NX has limited off-road ability. There’s also no hill-descent control or any ability to manually configure the traction-control system for different surfaces.

There’s just enough feedback from the steering, but it’s nowhere near as engaging as that of the BMW X3. While there isn't much body lean when cornering, the NX doesn’t offer what you’d call a sporty drive – but neither is it as relaxing as the Volvo XC60 or Mercedes GLC.

Lexus NX hybrid engine

The Lexus NX 300h hybrid has a 2.5-litre petrol linked to an electric motor and develops 195bhp – yet it still feels underpowered. It uses a CVT automatic gearbox, which makes the engine drone when you put your foot down, and never supplies the surge of acceleration you'd expect given all the noise it makes. It takes 9.2 seconds to get from 0-62mph, but feels even slower in day-to-day driving, especially compared with punchy turbocharged rivals.

As with the styling, the NX’s driving experience is likely to be an acquired taste. The combination of the hybrid engine and CVT automatic gearbox can be relaxing, yet also intensely frustrating. For instance, if you’re gentle with the throttle, the Lexus will glide around town in near-silent electric mode – although the nickel metal-hydride battery’s range of around a mile looks poor compared to plug-in hybrid models. On the motorway, there’s very little wind and road noise.

Most Popular

What are Audi TFSI petrol engines?
Yellow Audi Q2
Audi
16 Apr 2021

What are Audi TFSI petrol engines?

Car dashboard warning lights: the complete guide
Car dashboard symbols and meanings
Tips and advice
13 Apr 2021

Car dashboard warning lights: the complete guide

Best new car deals 2021
Skoda Fabia
Deals
16 Apr 2021

Best new car deals 2021

Tips & advice

View All
Car dashboard warning lights: the complete guide
Car dashboard symbols and meanings
Tips and advice
13 Apr 2021

Car dashboard warning lights: the complete guide

Electric car charging stations: a complete guide
Tips and advice
10 Nov 2020

Electric car charging stations: a complete guide

PCP vs HP – what's the difference?
Tips and Advice
23 Mar 2020

PCP vs HP – what's the difference?

Average speed cameras: how do they work?
Average speed cameras: how do they work?
Tips and advice
24 Feb 2021

Average speed cameras: how do they work?

Best cars

View All
Best car interiors
Best cars
10 Mar 2020

Best car interiors

Best electric cars
Best cars
24 Dec 2020

Best electric cars

Best cheap-to-run cars
Toyota Prius front 3/4 cornering
Best cars
1 Feb 2021

Best cheap-to-run cars

The UK's top 10 fastest hot hatchbacks
Hot hatches
9 Apr 2020

The UK's top 10 fastest hot hatchbacks