2018 Lexus NX Hybrid

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MSRP: $38,335 - 38,335

2018 Lexus NX Hybrid Review

The 2018 Lexus NX Hybrid finishes in the bottom half of our compact SUV rankings. It gets better gas mileage than its peers and earns good safety scores, but it lags behind the competition in some key areas.

7.8

Overall

Scorecard

Critics' Rating: 8.0
Performance: 7.6
Interior: 7.2
Safety: 9.3
Reliability:
J.D. Power Ratings Logo

Pros & Cons

  • Class-leading fuel efficiency
  • More front-seat legroom than most
  • Adult-friendly rear seats
  • Lots of standard safety and technology features

 

  • Cumbersome, distracting infotainment controller
  • Cargo space among the smallest in the class
  • Slow to accelerate
  • Mediocre handling

 

New for 2018

  • Lexus Safety System+ (suite of advanced safety tech) now standard
  • 8-inch infotainment screen replaces standard 7-inch display
  • Power-folding exterior mirrors now standard
  • Refreshed inside and out

 

Is the Lexus NX Hybrid a Good SUV?

The Lexus NX Hybrid is an OK SUV. It has excellent gas mileage, many standard features, and ample passenger space. However, it doesn't fare well in our rankings. Many class rivals are more athletic, the infotainment system’s touchpad controller is frustrating to use while driving, and cargo room is limited.

Should I Buy the Lexus NX Hybrid?

There are several practical reasons to buy this Lexus, including its below-class-average starting price, but it has too many drawbacks to recommend over better-ranked rivals.  The Audi Q5, Mercedes-Benz GLC, and BMW X3 present a nice balance between performance and opulence.

Compare the NX Hybrid, NX, and RX »

Should I Buy a New or Used Lexus NX Hybrid?

Lexus launched the NX Hybrid for the 2015 model year alongside the nonhybrid NX (reviewed separately). All-wheel drive became standard on the NX Hybrid for 2017. The 2018 model gets a slight refresh that includes updated styling, a larger infotainment screen, and several new standard driver assistance features like a pre-collision system with pedestrian detection, lane departure warning, lane keep assist, and adaptive cruise control.

You can potentially save thousands of dollars by shopping for a used car instead of a new one, though be aware that older models may not have as many features. If you're interested in a used model, be sure to visit our overviews of the 2016 Lexus NX Hybrid and 2017 Lexus NX Hybrid. Also, check out our Used Car Deals page to learn about savings and discounts on used vehicles.

Compare the 2016, 2017, and 2018 NX Hybrid »
We Did the Research for You: 33 Reviews Analyzed

Our goal is to make shopping for your next car as easy as possible. You'll find everything you need to know in our comprehensive Lexus NX Hybrid review. It combines concrete data – like fuel economy estimates, horsepower specs, and cargo space dimensions – with the findings of 33 professional reviews. Our review includes applicable data and reviews from the 2015 through 2018 model years, which are all the years since the NX Hybrid's debut.

Why You Can Trust Us

The Best Cars team – a division of U.S. News & World Report – has been reviewing cars, trucks, and SUVs since 2007. With more than 75 years of combined automotive experience, our editors, writers, and analysts rank a wide variety of new and used cars and issue three annual awards: Best Cars for the Money, Best Cars for Families, and Best Vehicle Brands. To keep our recommendations unbiased, we decline expensive gifts from carmakers, and a third party handles our advertising.

How Much Does the Lexus NX Hybrid Cost?

The NX 300h – the NX Hybrid’s only trim level – has a starting price of $38,335. That's a few thousand dollars higher than the nonhybrid NX 300's MSRP of $35,985, but it’s still below the average price of a luxury compact SUV. For great savings at your local Lexus dealer, give our U.S. News Best Price Program a try. You can also find excellent manufacturer incentives on our Lexus deals page.

Lexus NX Hybrid Versus the Competition

Very few luxury crossover SUVs this size come with a hybrid powertrain – though a few nonhybrid models, including the Buick Envision and Mercedes-Benz GLC, offer respectable fuel economy ratings. If owning a hybrid is a top priority for you, you may also want to consider options outside of the luxury segment, such as the Toyota RAV4 Hybrid and Nissan Rogue Hybrid.

Which Is Better: Lexus NX Hybrid or Volvo XC60?

The Volvo XC60 gets a redesign for 2018, and it's one of few class rivals to offer a hybrid powertrain. The XC60 hybrid can really move thanks to its 400-horsepower setup, which includes both a turbocharger and a supercharger. Inside, the Volvo provides plenty of luxury, and it has a more intuitive infotainment system than the NX Hybrid. On the downside, it costs far more than its Lexus rival.

Which Is Better: Lexus NX Hybrid or Lexus NX?

The nonhybrid Lexus NX 300 is a great alternative to the NX Hybrid if you don't care about getting the best gas mileage. The NX 300 feels more energetic and handles better. It also provides marginally more cargo space than its hybrid counterpart. On top of all that, it costs a few thousand dollars less.

Compare the NX Hybrid, XC60, and NX »

NX Hybrid Interior

How Many People Does the NX Hybrid Seat?

The NX 300h is a five-person SUV with two rows of seats. Its passenger space isn't necessarily generous – after all, it’s still a compact SUV – but it feels roomier than many rivals. The second row has abundant legroom, and the cushions are plush all around.

NX Hybrid and Car Seats

Caregivers who frequently use child safety seats should sign off on the NX Hybrid's LATCH system before they buy, as its hardware isn't as user-friendly as some. The middle of the three tether anchors is not in an obvious location, and the two sets of lower anchors take extra effort to find and use.

NX Hybrid Interior Quality

As the least expensive SUV in the Lexus lineup – other than its nonhybrid counterpart – the NX 300h presents a mix of high-quality materials (like its expertly crafted synthetic leather) alongside some not-so-nice trimmings (like a smattering of hard plastics). Lexus lets you dial up the opulence a notch with options like perforated leather upholstery, ventilated front seats, and a moonroof.

NX Hybrid Cargo Space

The NX 300h has one of the smallest cargo areas in its class. With only 16.8 cubic feet behind the rear seats, it offers less storage space than even the Mercedes-Benz GLA (a luxury subcompact SUV). The NX's sloping roof compounds its cargo limitations.

NX Hybrid Infotainment, Bluetooth, and Navigation

The NX 300h is packed with lots of standard technology. Highlights of its infotainment system include smartphone integration (via the Enform App Suite), a smartphone-based navigation system, and a Wi-Fi hot spot. You can also upgrade to a navigation system and a 10.3-inch display, which allows you to split the screen to view more than one menu at a time. As appealing as these standard and available features are, the infotainment system is a weak spot of the NX 300h. A touchpad controller is used to navigate through the menus and change settings; it requires too much of the driver’s attention and eye contact.

Read more about interior »

NX Hybrid Performance

NX Hybrid Engine: Dawdler

If you're used to driving a hybrid, you'll be at home behind the wheel of the NX 300h. Its powertrain (comprised of a four-cylinder engine, an electric motor, and a continuously variable transmission) delivers the same lackadaisical acceleration of most hybrids. Drivers looking for an energetic SUV may be disappointed with the 194-horsepower NX 300h and might want to consider the gas-only NX 300 instead. Its turbocharged engine is rated at 235 horsepower.

NX Hybrid Gas Mileage: Fuel-Sipping SUV

The NX 300h gets outstanding gas mileage. It gets an EPA-estimated 33 mpg in the city and 30 mpg on the highway. In comparison, the nonhybrid NX 300 has a fuel economy rating of 22 mpg city/28 mpg highway.

NX Hybrid Ride and Handling: Middle of the Road

The all-wheel-drive NX 300h is an easygoing SUV to roam around in. Its steering is responsive, especially when you switch into Sport mode (Normal, Eco, and EV make up the rest of the NX's drive modes). This isn't a very athletic vehicle, though, so expect body lean in corners. 

Read more about performance »

NX Hybrid Reliability

Is the Lexus NX Hybrid Reliable?

The 2018 Lexus NX 300h has a predicted reliability rating of three out of five from J.D. Power. Three is considered average.

Lexus NX Hybrid Warranty

Warranty coverage for the 2018 NX 300h includes a four-year/50,000-mile limited warranty, a six-year/70,000-mile powertrain warranty, and an eight-year/100,000-mile warranty for hybrid components.

Read more about reliability »

NX Hybrid Safety

NX Hybrid Crash Test Results

For 2018, the NX 300h earned an overall five-out-of-five-star rating from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. It also received the highest rating of Good in five Insurance Institute for Highway Safety crash tests and earned an IIHS Top Safety Pick designation.

NX Hybrid Safety Features

Standard safety features in the NX 300h include a rearview camera, a pre-collision system with pedestrian detection, lane departure warning, lane keep assist, adaptive cruise control, and automatic high beams. Optional safety technology includes parking sensors with automatic braking, blind spot monitoring, rear cross traffic alert, a bird's-eye-view camera system, and rain-sensing windshield wipers.

Read more about safety »

Which Lexus NX Hybrid Model Is Right for Me?

Lexus offers only one trim level of the NX Hybrid: the NX 300h. It also builds a nonhybrid version, which you can read more about in our separate Lexus NX review. Inside, the NX 300h features synthetic leather seats, dual-zone automatic climate control, a proximity key, and push-button start. Infotainment technology includes smartphone integration with the Enform App Suite, a Wi-Fi hot spot, an 8-inch display, smartphone app navigation, Siri Eyes Free, and a rearview camera. New for 2018 is the addition of the Lexus Safety System+ in every NX model. This is a package of advanced safety systems like a pre-collision system with pedestrian detection, lane departure warning, lane keep assist, adaptive cruise control, and automatic high beams. Pricing starts at $38,335.

You can customize your NX 300h with one of several packages, or by selecting from the assortment of stand-alone options. Amenities on these lists include a navigation system, a 10.3-inch infotainment display with split-screen functionality, and heated and ventilated front seats.

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 2018 Lexus NX Hybrid specs and trims »

The Final Call

Buying the Lexus NX Hybrid is one of the few ways you can achieve fuel-sipping mpg numbers in a small SUV. In addition to delivering class-leading fuel efficiency, the NX 300h boasts good crash test ratings. However, this Lexus does little to differentiate itself when it comes to interior opulence, energetic performance, and comfortable handling. Plus, using its infotainment system requires an excessive amount of attention.

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

  • "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. Even a pro can't sniff out the Camry beneath an ES sedan. 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
  • "Searching for a compact luxury crossover SUV that's also a hybrid? Well, you've found the only the choice: the 2017 Lexus NX 300h. It gets great fuel economy, and a high-quality interior and sharp styling are part of the deal, too. But it's not the most versatile pick in its class." -- Edmunds (2017)
  • "The verdict: With very good gas mileage for its class, a roomy interior and good driving manners, the 2017 Lexus NX 300h hybrid is a sensible small luxury SUV, but its optional multimedia interface is maddening. Versus the competition … the 2017 NX 300h is the most efficient compact luxury SUV you can buy, but competitors offer richer cabin materials and easier-to-use multimedia systems." -- Cars.com (2017)
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