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2020 Lexus NX Hybrid Performance

U.S. News Best Price Program

2020 Lexus NX Hybrid Performance Review


Performance: 6.0

The 2020 Lexus NX Hybrid is incredibly fuel-efficient, has a comfortable ride, and is easy to maneuver. Its performance shines brightest in a city environment, but starts to dull at higher speeds, where leisurely acceleration and body lean tarnish the experience.

  • "With a less powerful drivetrain and the added weight of standard all-wheel drive, the NX 300h can't quite keep pace with its gasoline-only counterpart, but its excellent mileage and equally impressive ride and handling are definitely something to consider." -- Kelley Blue Book (2018)
  • "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 (2015)

Acceleration and Power

Every NX Hybrid comes with a 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine, three electric motors, a nickel-metal hydride battery pack, and a type of automatic transmission called a CVT. This compact SUV is pleasant enough in town, with enough pep to scoot around city streets. Head onto the highway or up a mountain pass, however, and you'll need to allow plenty of pavement to get up to speed. It takes the 194-horsepower NX Hybrid extra time to push the speedometer to higher numbers. This leisurely performance also limits your ability to overtake other vehicles.

You will probably have no problem overlooking these slow acceleration rates if you prize fuel economy numbers over zero-to-60 times. The NX Hybrid's rating of 33 mpg in the city and 30 mpg on the highway is the highest among compact luxury SUVs equipped with a gasoline engine.

  • "The 300h's power won't impress you, but low-end torque from the electric motor helps it scoot around the city rather quickly. In Edmunds testing, 0-60 mph took 8.8 seconds, which is a bit slow in this class." -- Edmunds
  • "With the hybrid, things are less pleasant. The 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine and electric motor … [feel] strained in this heavier AWD SUV. The CVT makes climbing hills a noisy, unpleasant affair. Acceleration from 0-60 mph is a leisurely 9 seconds – somewhat at odds with the NX's sporty styling and ride – and steep price tag. That said, as long as there are no inclines the hybrid can drive on electric power alone at speeds up to around 35 mph. But the 300h's trump card is its fuel consumption – at 29 mpg overall it is the most fuel efficient luxury SUV we've ever tested." -- Consumer Reports (2018)
  • "Total power output is 194 horsepower, and at highway speeds or under heavy acceleration, the NX 300h just feels out of breath. There's hardly any passing power when you really need it." -- New York Daily News (2017)

Handling and Braking

The NX Hybrid is only available with all-wheel drive. It rides smoothly over coarse pavement, and its light steering makes navigating through tight areas a breeze. Stopping the SUV can take getting used to for some, as this hybrid's regenerative brakes can be grabby. It's pleasant on the highway, mostly because of its comfortable ride, but there's some body lean if you take a corner too quickly.

  • "At low speeds, the steering is light and helps you get into tight parking spaces with ease. The 300h, despite its lack of sportiness or steering feel, handles competently on curvy mountain roads." -- Edmunds
  • "Turn to the twisties, though, and you're likely to be disappointed. Body roll is extremely prominent, with the extra 200 pounds of the hybrid system taxing the NX's otherwise capable suspension further when pushed. The steering rack is light on center, too, but firms up a bit in the corners." -- New York Daily News (2017)
U.S. News Best Price Program

2020 Lexus NX Hybrid

MSRP: $39,420 - $46,510

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