The hybrid NX has better fuel economy than any Audi or BMW alternative and is one of the most affordable luxury crossovers.

android, 2022 lexus nx 350h review: the affordable fuel-sipper

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Verdict

8.7 / 10

The Lexus NX doesn’t ooze luxury or sportiness like some of its higher-end counterparts do (i.e.: the Genesis GV70). But even in this hyper-competitive segment, the little Lexus brings a lot to the table. It combines a comfortable ride, efficient powertrain options, and usable tech into a package that’s priced competitively.

And the 2022 Lexus NX 350h specifically has an edge over the competition for one simple reason: it’s the only non–plug-in hybrid in the class (although one of those is available too). That means you can have your efficiency and afford it too, with up to 39 miles per gallon combined and a starting price of $42,700.

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Quick Stats 2022 Lexus NX 350h Luxury
Engine: 2.5-Liter I4
Output: 240 Horsepower / 167 Pound-Feet
Transmission: Continuously Variable
Efficiency: 41 City / 37 Highway / 39 Combined
Base Price: $42,700

Design

⠀ ⠀ ⠀ ⠀ ⠀ ⠀ ⠀ ⠀ ⠀ ⠀ 6/10

  • Exterior Color: Cloudburst Gray
  • Interior Color: Black
  • Wheel Size: 20 Inches

The 2022 NX shares a number of visual cues with its predecessors. The big spindle grille is similar and the slim headlights bear equivalent hook-like LEDs – although now those accents are embedded within the light fixtures rather than beneath them. Even the silhouette is almost identical.

But with new mesh and a revised shape, the spindle grille is less imposing. And even without the F Sport package, the grille now extends all the way down to the base of the bumper rather than curving inward like before. The LED light bar in the rear is probably the biggest upgrade of all though, joined by a “LEXUS” wordmark spread across the trunklid. It makes the NX much sleeker from behind.

The interior is more noticeably improved. The layout has less clutter with fewer knobs and buttons, and best of all, no more touchpad in the center console. Even the shifter is a tinge smaller to help shrink the overall footprint. There’s more leather, too, with the black and cream combo on this tester jutting upward from the center console along the driver’s side, to create a partition between the shift knob and the new central touchscreen.

Comfort

⠀ ⠀ ⠀ ⠀ ⠀ ⠀ ⠀ ⠀ ⠀ ⠀ 6/10

  • Seating Capacity: 5
  • Seating Configuration: 2 / 3
  • Cargo Capacity: 22.7 / 46.9 Cubic Feet

The front seats in the new NX are straight-up cozy. With real leather on this tester included as part of the $7,450 Luxury trim, the chairs are soft and supportive with ample side bolstering, excellent lumbar support, and 10-way power adjustability, and seat heat as well as ventilation if you select the $3,050 Premium package (this car does without it). The second row is comfy too, with more than enough headroom and legroom for your 6-foot-tall author.

Only the F Sport models get an adaptive suspension, but even without it, the NX has a plush ride that performs well over broken and imperfect pavement. The NX is extremely quiet too, with barely any wind or tire roar at higher speeds.

As one of the smallest offerings in the segment, though, the NX does fall a bit short in cargo space. Even though it gains an additional five cubic feet of trunk room compared to its predecessor, its diminutive size still puts it on the lower end of the luxury segment.

Interior Dimensions Headroom, Front/Rear Legroom, Front/Rear Cargo Space
Lexus NX 350h 38.3 / 38.5 Inches 41.0 / 36.1 Inches 22.7 / 46.9 Cubic Feet
Audi Q5 39.6 / 39.3 Inches 40.9 / 38.0 Inches 18.4 / 53.7 Cubic Feet
BMW X3 41.1 / 38.5 Inches 40.3 / 36.4 Inches 28.7 / 62.7 Cubic Feet
Genesis GV70 39.6 / 39.1 Inches 41.3 / 37.2 Inches 28.9 / 56.9 Cubic Feet
Mercedes-Benz GLC 39.6 / 39.6 Inches 40.8 / 37.3 Inches 24.3 / 56.5 Cubic Feet

Technology & Connectivity

⠀ ⠀ ⠀ ⠀ ⠀ ⠀ ⠀ ⠀ ⠀ ⠀ 7/10

  • Center Display: 14.0-Inch Touchscreen
  • Instrument Cluster Display: 8.0 Inches
  • Wireless Apple CarPlay / Android Auto: Yes / Yes

This is one area where the Lexus NX improved tenfold. The dreaded touchpad is gone, as is the monolithic screen. Instead, the NX makes do with a lovely 14.0-inch touchscreen display (as part of the Luxury package) and the latest and greatest infotainment system baked-in. There’s also a 10.0-inch head-up display and a fully digital cluster behind the steering wheel, and both are configurable enough to display all the features you might need.

As for that new infotainment system; it’s the closest thing to an Apple or Android interface for your car without actually plugging in. A minimalist layout, sleek graphics, and instant touch-responsiveness make it extremely easy to navigate features. There is some clutter when you dive deeper into the options, and the lack of a home button is sort of annoying – but those are minor gripes. This is still one of the best new infotainment systems out there.

Performance & Handling

⠀ ⠀ ⠀ ⠀ ⠀ ⠀ ⠀ ⠀ ⠀ ⠀ 4/10

  • Engine: 2.5-Liter I4 Hybrid
  • Output: 240 Horsepower / 167 Pound-Feet
  • Transmission: Continuously Variable

As far as premium crossovers go, the Lexus NX is middling in the performance department. The 2.5-liter four-cylinder hybrid engine pumps out a combined 239 horsepower, with the engine provding 167 pound-feet of torque. An electric motor on the rear axle gives the NX standard all-wheel drive.

The NX hybrid isn’t quick, agile, or much of anything exciting, but it is pleasant enough to putter around town in. The steering is lightweight, the suspension is plush, and the brakes are perfectly compliant. If you want more fun, the non-hybrid F Sport has extra power and adaptive drive modes that notch things up a bit, or there’s a plug-in hybrid option with yet more grunt.

Safety

⠀ ⠀ ⠀ ⠀ ⠀ ⠀ ⠀ ⠀ ⠀ ⠀ 9/10

  • Driver Assistance Level: SAE Level 2 (Hands-On)
  • NHTSA Rating: Not Rated
  • IIHS Rating: Not Rated

Every NX comes standard with Lexus Safety System+ 3.0. That includes adaptive cruise control, automatic emergency braking, lane departure warning, lane centering, emergency steer assist, and a bit more. And it all works exactly as advertised; the NX comes to a full stop in traffic jams and the lane-assistance tech keeps the car perfectly centered in the lane at highway speeds.

Fuel Economy

⠀ ⠀ ⠀ ⠀ ⠀ ⠀ ⠀ ⠀ ⠀ ⠀ 10/10

  • City: 41 MPG
  • Highway: 37 MPG
  • Combined: 39 MPG

Even without the hybrid powertrain equipped, the Lexus NX is already the most efficient vehicle in the segment with up to 28 miles per gallon combined. As the only traditional hybrid option in the class (not counting plug-ins), the Lexus has an even more significant leg up over its non-hybrid competitors.

Efficiency: City: Highway: Combined:
Lexus NX 350h 41 MPG 37 MPG 39 MPG
Audi Q5 Quattro 23 MPG 29 MPG 25 MPG
BMW X3 xDrive30i 21 MPG 28 MPG 24 MPG
Genesis GV70 2.0T AWD 20 MPG 28 MPG 23 MPG
Volvo XC60 B5 AWD 22 MPG 28 MPG 24 MPG

Pricing

⠀ ⠀ ⠀ ⠀ ⠀ ⠀ ⠀ ⠀ ⠀ ⠀ 6/10

  • Base Price: $38,475 + $1,075 Destination
  • Trim Base Price: $50,150
  • As-Tested Price: $52,150

The non-hybrid Lexus NX undercuts every other compact luxury crossover with a sub-$40,000 starting price. But the hybrid option is still one of the most affordable options in the class, too. The NX 350h with standard all-wheel drive has a base price of $42,700 with the $1,075 destination fee; only the GV70 and RDX are cheaper to start (and far less efficient to boot).

The car tested here is a cool $52,150 as tested, with the $7,450 Luxury trim and a few options equipped. But opting for the Luxury model gives you access to things like 20-inch wheels, real leather seats, a bigger touchscreen, and a head-up display. The power moonroof is another $1,100 on top of that, the Cloudburst Gray paint is $500, and the power liftgate is $400.

Pricing: Base Price:  Competitive Spec:
Lexus NX 350h Luxury AWD $42,700 $52,150
Acura RDX Technology $41,145 $47,010
Audi Q5 Premium Plus Quattro $45,090 $55,490
BMW X3 xDrive30i $48,395 $53,070
Genesis GV70 Advanced 2.0T AWD $42,595 $52,125
Mercedes-Benz GLC 300 4Matic $46,900 $54,620
Volvo XC60 B5 AWD Plus $43,745 $52,845

The 2022 Lexus NX 350h isn’t flashy – nor does it look all that different from the one it replaces. But it nails the basics; a comfortable cabin, advanced technology, and efficiency and pricing that outpace nearly everything in the segment. For luxury shoppers wanting a smart fuel-sipper, the NX 350h is the crossover to get.

NX 350h Competitor Reviews:

FAQs:

Is The Lexus NX The Same Size As The Toyota RAV4?

No, the Lexus NX is slightly larger than the Toyota RAV4. The Lexus is 183.5 inches long while the RAV4 is 180.9 inches long. But, the RAV4 does have more cargo room; 37.6 cubic feet behind the second row and 69.8 cubes with the second row folded flat.

Does The Lexus NX Share Its Chassis With The Toyota RAV4?

Technically yes, the NX does share structural components with the Toyota RAV4. But the styling and interior are completely different, while the NX has powertrain options that are unique to the Lexus lineup.

Is The Lexus NX Made In Japan?

Yes, the Lexus NX is produced in Miyawaka, Fukuoka, Japan.

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