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2021 Lexus NX Hybrid Review

The 2021 Lexus NX Hybrid ranks near the bottom of the luxury hybrid and electric SUV class. It offers good fuel economy and great predicted reliability, but those aren’t enough to overcome its frustrating infotainment controls, meager cargo hold, and disappointing performance.

Pros & Cons

  • Gentle ride
  • Good gas mileage
  • Spacious interior
  • Top-notch predicted reliability rating
  • Distracting Remote Touch controller
  • Small cargo hold
  • Sluggish highway acceleration
  • Heavy body lean around turns

7.3

Overall

Scorecard

Critics' Rating: 6.8
Performance: 6.1
Interior: 5.7
Safety:
This model has never been fully tested for safety. Its overall score is being calculated without safety.
N/A
Reliability:
J.D. Power Ratings Logo

Thinking of leasing a Lexus NX Hybrid?

The U.S. News Best Price Program saves users an average of $3,206 off the MSRP, and a lower price equals lower monthly lease payments. That means you could see a savings of $90 a month on a 36-month lease.

Is the Lexus NX Hybrid a Good SUV?

Despite its ranking, the NX 300h is a good SUV. It has a cushioned ride, and its predicted reliability rating tops the luxury hybrid and electric SUV class. It offers plenty of standard driver assistance features and impressive mpg ratings, as well as lots of cabin space. However, it trails rivals when it comes to power, interior quality, cargo space, and the accessibility of its infotainment controls.

Why You Can Trust Us: 30 Reviews Analyzed

To make our car rankings and reviews as consumer-oriented as possible, we do not rely on our personal opinions. Instead, we analyze hard data such as cargo space dimensions, mpg ratings, and predicted reliability, as well as the opinions of the automotive press.

This 2021 NX Hybrid review incorporates applicable research for all models in this generation, which launched for 2015.

U.S. News & World Report has been reviewing cars, trucks, and SUVs since 2007, and our Best Cars team has more than 75 years of combined automotive industry experience. We care about cars, but we care more about providing useful consumer advice. To ensure our impartiality, an independent party handles our advertising, and our editorial team doesn’t accept expensive gifts from automakers.

Should I Buy the Lexus NX Hybrid?

The NX Hybrid is comfortable and roomy, but there are better options when it comes to hybrid SUVs. The Lexus RX Hybrid is slightly pricier than the NX, but you get more space for passengers and cargo. Alternatively, you might consider the nonhybrid Lexus NX, which has a stronger engine and slightly sharper handling.

Compare the NX Hybrid, RX Hybrid, and NX »

2020 vs. 2021 Lexus NX Hybrid: What's the Difference?

Blind spot monitoring and rear cross traffic alert are now standard in the 2021 Lexus NX 300h. These safety features were previously optional. Otherwise, this vehicle saw no major updates.

Compare the 2020 and 2021 NX Hybrid »

Here are the key changes for this Lexus model since it debuted for 2015:

  • 2016: Lexus Enform Remote became available
  • 2017: gained standard all-wheel drive
  • 2018: Lexus Safety Suite+ added to standard features list; larger standard touch screen (8 inches, up from 7)
  • 2019: no major changes
  • 2020: Lexus Safety Suite 2.0+ made standard
  • 2021: more standard driver assistance features added

If you're considering an older model, be sure to read our 2018 NX Hybrid, 2019 NX Hybrid, and 2020 NX Hybrid reviews to help make your decision. Also, check out our Best New Car Deals and Best New Car Lease Deals pages to learn about savings and discounts you can find on new vehicles.

How Much Does the Lexus NX Hybrid Cost?

The 2021 Lexus NX 300h has a base MSRP of $40,060, which is affordable for the luxury hybrid and electric SUV class.

Check out our U.S. News Best Price Program for great savings at your local Lexus dealer. You can also find excellent manufacturer incentives on our Lexus deals page.

Lexus NX Hybrid Versus the Competition

Lexus NX Hybrid vs. Lexus NX

Although the Lexus NX shares many similarities with its hybrid counterpart, such as comparable features lists and frustrating infotainment controls, there are some key differences between these crossovers. The NX has a stronger turbocharged engine (235 horsepower to 194) and slightly more cargo space. It’s more affordable by around $2,550 in its base trim, and the NX can also be had in a sport-tuned F Sport trim. On the other hand, the NX 300h has superior mpg ratings. It also has standard all-wheel drive, which you’d have to add to the nonhybrid NX for a few thousand dollars. There’s no wrong choice between these vehicles.

Compare the NX Hybrid and NX »

Lexus NX Hybrid vs. Acura RDX

The Acura RDX is a luxury compact SUV. It has a handsome cabin and plenty of cargo space, including around 13 cubic feet more room behind its rear seats than the Lexus NX 300h. On the other hand, the NX 300h has superior fuel economy estimates and a better history of predicted reliability. Unless you’re set on a hybrid, the Acura is the better vehicle.

Compare the NX Hybrid and RDX »

Compare the NX Hybrid, NX, and RDX »

NX Hybrid Interior: Mixed Bag

NX Hybrid Cargo Space

This vehicle has 16.8 cubic feet of space behind the rear seats. Folding the rear seats down opens a total of 53.6 cubic feet. Most competitors have more space. A power liftgate and a hands-free power liftgate are available.

How Many People Does the NX Hybrid Seat?

Five people can sit in this SUV. Lexus’ NuLuxe synthetic leather upholstery is standard, as are 10-way power adjustments for the front seats. Genuine leather upholstery, heated and ventilated front seats, power-folding rear seats, and a heated steering wheel are available.

Most adults will find plenty of space in the Lexus NX 300h, with a good amount of head- and legroom. The well-padded seats help keep occupants comfortable. While entering or exiting the vehicle is easy, oblong roof pillars cut into rearward visibility. Fortunately, this is mitigated by the now-standard blind spot monitoring system.

NX Hybrid and Child Car Seats

This vehicle has two complete sets of LATCH connectors for the rear outboard seats and a tether anchor for the rear middle seat.

NX Hybrid Interior Quality

Overall, the NX Hybrid has a nice-looking cabin with synthetic leather and soft-touch surfaces. However, there are some hard-plastic dash panels, and the buttons and knobs look more at home in a Toyota than a luxury brand.

NX Hybrid Infotainment, Bluetooth, and Navigation

Nearly every class rival has a more intuitive infotainment system than the NX. There is no touch screen. Instead, you operate the system via Lexus’ Remote Touch controller. This is hard to do while driving, since it requires you take your eyes off the road. There are physical buttons on the center console, but they’re positioned at odd angles.

  • Standard infotainment features: an 8-inch display, Android Auto, Amazon Alexa, Apple CarPlay, an eight-speaker stereo, a USB port, Bluetooth, and a Wi-Fi hot spot
  • Available infotainment features: a 10.3-inch display and navigation
  • Additional standard features: remote start, push-button start, and proximity keyless entry
  • Other available features: a moonroof

For more information, read What Is Apple CarPlay?, What Is Android Auto?, and What Is Amazon Alexa Auto?

Read more about interior »

NX Hybrid Performance: Sip-Sip City

NX Hybrid Engine

Powering every NX Hybrid is a 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine and a trio of electric motors. Together, they produce 194 horsepower. Rounding out this powertrain is a continuously variable automatic transmission.

Thanks to the instant torque from its electric motors, the Lexus NX 300h feels peppy from a stop, which makes it well-suited to city driving. However, it struggles at higher speeds. Passing another vehicle on the highway will take time and require you to really step on the gas pedal. Transitions between electric and gas power are not as smooth as they could be.

NX Hybrid Gas Mileage

With an EPA-estimated 33 mpg in the city and 30 mpg on the highway, the NX 300h gets good fuel economy ratings for a luxury hybrid SUV. It’s also more fuel-efficient than most luxury compact SUVs, including the BMW X3.

NX Hybrid Ride and Handling

The Lexus NX 300h has a smooth ride, and few road bumps jostle occupants in the cabin. Additionally, like many hybrids, the NX 300h's regenerative brakes feel spongy. Handling is mostly composed, although this luxury SUV leans around corners.

NX Hybrid Towing Capacity

The NX Hybrid has a maximum towing capacity of 1,500 pounds, and the gas-powered Lexus NX can tow up to 2,000 pounds.

Read more about performance »

NX Hybrid Reliability

Is the Lexus NX Hybrid Reliable?

The 2021 Lexus NX 300h has a stellar predicted reliability rating of five out of five.

Lexus NX Hybrid Warranty

Lexus covers this SUV with a four-year/50,000-mile limited warranty and a six-year/70,000-mile powertrain warranty. Hybrid components get an eight-year/100,000-mile warranty.

Read more about reliability »

NX Hybrid Safety

NX Hybrid Crash Test Results

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration gave the 2021 Lexus NX Hybrid an overall safety rating of five out of five stars, with five stars in the side crash test and four stars in the rollover and frontal crash tests.

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety has not evaluated the 2021 NX Hybrid.

NX Hybrid Safety Features

Standard advanced safety features:

  • Rearview camera
  • Forward collision warning
  • Automatic emergency braking
  • Lane keep assist
  • Lane departure warning
  • Lane trace assist
  • Road sign recognition
  • Adaptive cruise control
  • Automatic high-beam headlights

Available advanced safety features:

  • Surround-view parking camera system
  • Parallel and perpendicular park assist
  • Adaptive headlights

Read more about safety »

NX Hybrid Dimensions and Weight

The Lexus NX 300h is 15.2 feet long. It has a curb weight of 4,180 pounds.

Where Is the 2021 Lexus NX Hybrid Built?

Lexus builds the 2021 NX Hybrid in Japan.

Which Lexus NX Hybrid Model Is Right for Me?

Lexus makes the 2021 NX Hybrid in two trims: 300h and 300h Luxury. Both have three electric motors, a four-cylinder gas engine, a continuously variable automatic transmission (CVT), and all-wheel drive. There’s also a nonhybrid Lexus NX, which we review separately.

Several options are available regardless of trim level. These include a parallel park assist system ($535), a surround-view parking camera system ($800), and adaptive headlights ($1,515). You can also get a power liftgate with a kick sensor, meaning it opens when you wave your foot below the rear bumper. It costs $550 in the base 300h and $150 in the 300h Luxury.

The base 300h is well-equipped and available with most of the Luxury’s features, so there’s no real need to purchase the higher trim.

Lexus NX Hybrid 300h

The NX 300h retails for $40,060. Standard equipment includes an 8-inch display, Lexus’ Remote Touch controller, Apple CarPlay, Amazon Alexa, Android Auto, a Wi-Fi hot spot, Bluetooth, a USB port, an eight-speaker stereo, remote start, proximity keyless entry, dual-zone automatic climate control, synthetic leather upholstery, 10-way power-adjustable front seats, a genuine leather-wrapped steering wheel, and alloy wheels.

Several driver assistance features are included too. You’ll get blind spot monitoring, a rearview camera, rear cross traffic alert, and the Lexus Safety System 2.0+ suite, which bundles a pre-collision warning and braking system, lane departure warning, lane keep assist, lane trace assist, automatic high-beam headlights, adaptive cruise control, and road sign recognition.

The Premium package costs $2,630 and adds heated and ventilated front seats, a moonroof, and larger alloy wheels. For $1,985, the Navigation package outfits this hybrid SUV with a 10.3-inch split-screen multimedia display, a navigation system, a 10-speaker stereo, and an auto-dimming rearview mirror.

There’s also a Navigation/Mark Levinson Audio package. It costs $3,045 and adds the Navigation package plus a 14-speaker Mark Levinson sound system. You could also add a heated steering wheel for $150.

Lexus NX Hybrid 300h Luxury

The NX 300h Luxury has a starting MSRP of $46,510. It gains genuine leather-trimmed seats, a heated steering wheel, rain-sensing windshield wipers, and the contents of the Premium and Navigation packages.

Power-folding and reclining rear seats are available for $400. The Navigation/Mark Levinson Audio package remains an option, though it now costs $1,060.

Check out our U.S. News Best Price Program for great savings at your local Lexus dealer. You can also find excellent manufacturer incentives on our Lexus deals page.

See 2021 Lexus NX Hybrid specs and trims »

The Final Call

The Lexus NX Hybrid sports a perfect predicted reliability rating. It also gets the great mpg ratings you’d expect for a hybrid, and it adds to that appeal with a spacious cabin and a well-mannered ride. However, this Lexus has one of the most obtuse infotainment systems in our luxury hybrid and electric SUV rankings. Heavy body roll, slow acceleration, and limited cargo space further hamper its charm.

Don’t just take our word for it. Check out comments from some of the reviews that drive our rankings and analysis.

  • "The 2021 Lexus NX 300 and NX 300h luxury compact SUV/crossovers each have a long list of standard features, decent interior space, competitive pricing, an impeccable reputation for reliability and strong resale values. That’s a compelling combination of qualities. So if the NX doesn’t make a driving enthusiast’s heart beat a little faster, that’s a pretty insignificant downside." -- Kelley Blue Book
  • "The Lexus NX 300h is a comfortable and quiet hybrid that provides a significant boost in fuel economy without much of a price premium over its conventionally powered counterpart. That said, its frustrating infotainment system, limited cargo space and mediocre performance hamper an otherwise enjoyable driving experience." -- Edmunds (2020)
  • "The Lexus recipe for success: Hide the Toyota mass-market roots under the Lexus logo by filling a car with amenities and luxury trappings, a more supple ride, and a quiet, soothing cabin. … But with the new, compact NX, the souffle falls. The car doesn't coddle you like the wildly successful Lexus RX – the midsized crossover vehicle that started the whole craze. Nor does it thrill you with BMW-like handling. It just feels like an upmarket Toyota RAV4." -- Consumer Reports (2018)
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