2015 Lexus NX Hybrid Performance Review

Note: This performance review was created when the 2015 Lexus NX Hybrid was new.


Performance: 7.6

The 2015 Lexus NX Hybrid gets excellent fuel economy for the class. However, most critics think that it doesn't feel very powerful, and note that its regenerative brakes don't operate very smoothly. Some reviewers say the NX 300h has poised handling, but others comment that its ride is tuned more for comfort than agility, and as a result suffers from some body lean in turns.

  • "The 194-hp NX 300h (which doesn't come in an F Sport version) cedes more of the fun factor. There's plenty of droning, rubber-band responsiveness from its continuously variable automatic transmission, along with a slow climb up the revs when you floor it; even at full bore, power feels adequate but never energetic, and the regenerative brakes have a degree of pedal vagueness that evokes earlier hybrids." -- Cars.com
  • "Besides the reduction in outright accelerative performance and a corresponding increase in fuel efficiency, the NX 300h driver isn't asked to give up much of the full NX experience." -- Autoblog
  • "The fact is that the NX 300h hybrid, 200t and 200t F Sport all demonstrate a comfortable, quiet ride that is sporting enough for the crossover driver, but far from edgy." -- Kelley Blue Book

Acceleration and Power

The Lexus NX Hybrid is powered by a 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine and electric motors that produce 194 horsepower. A continuously variable transmission (CVT) is standard. The NX 300h achieves an EPA-estimated 35/31 mpg city/highway, which is excellent for the class.

Although a few test drivers say the NX 300h feels peppy from a stop, most think it feels slow, and some critics note that it is fairly noisy. Still, reviewers comment that the gas engine cycles on and off smoothly.

  • "Should you call for more energetic acceleration, expect loud droning noises and not a lot of thrust to back it up. The 300h may be fuel-efficient, but it certainly isn't quick, and indeed most rival SUVs -- even alternatively powered ones -- accelerate with more gusto." -- Edmunds
  • "Kick-down or not, nobody is going to mistake the 2015 NX 300h for its turbocharged sibling when it comes to all-out acceleration. Whereas Lexus claims a 0-60 run of 7.0 seconds for the AWD 200t, the same task takes the 300h about 9.0 seconds. In other words, the hybrid is very much tuned for efficiency over maximum performance." -- Autoblog
  • "The crossovers from electric to full-gas operation and back are practically seamless." -- Consumer Guide
  • "Although the NX 300h's 194 hp may seem uninspired, its hybrid system makes it feel just as quick off the line as the more muscular NX 200t." -- AutoTrader

Handling and Braking

The Lexus NX 300h has standard front-wheel drive and optional all-wheel drive. Some test drivers think that the NX Hybrid has poised handling and is more agile than the larger Lexus RX Hybrid, but others comment that the NX 300h does not feel very nimble, has quite a bit of body lean in turns and is tuned more for ride comfort. A few critics add that the regenerative brakes don't operate as smoothly as they could.

  • "The biggest hybrid-related gripe is the brakes, which feel awkward in certain stopping situations due to the fight between regen and the standard disc brakes." -- Autoblog
  • "If you're expecting the NX 300h to drive like a smaller version of the RX, you're either going to be disappointed or pleasantly surprised. The ride is a bit firmer, the steering is more responsive, and body motions are more controlled when driving around turns or going over bumps and dips. There is a sense of connection between the car and driver that is not present in Lexus' other SUVs." -- Edmunds
  • "Bragging on your high fuel economy is the whole point of getting the hybrid over the more powerful NX200t, right? It's certainly not to have fun. Even with this example's optional 18-inch wheels, handling feels limp. The shocks, springs, and tires conspire to deliver a comfortable ride over most surfaces-but at the expense of body control, turn-in sharpness, and grip." -- Car and Driver

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