Lexus NX 300h F

Sport

Lexus NX300h F Sport, front
Lexus NX300h F Sport, front
Lexus NX300h F Sport, front
Lexus NX300h F Sport, side
Lexus NX300h F Sport, side
Lexus NX300h F Sport, interior
Lexus NX300h F Sport, interior
Lexus NX300h F Sport, rear
Lexus NX300h F Sport, rear
Lexus NX300h F Sport, front
Lexus NX300h F Sport, rear

IT would seem we are all being driven towards cleaner hybrid technology in the next few years and one of the forerunners of these cars has always been Toyota and its premium brand Lexus.

But anyone who thought dynamic muscular styling couldn't accompany a petrol/battery driven car should check out the sporty NX300h model.

It was the company's first compact crossover and is certainly very pleasing on the eye with lots of sharp angles and sweeping lines which make it look as appealing as any concept car.

Stand-out design cues include 18-inch two-tone wheels, LED daytime running lights, LED rear lights, rear privacy glass, F Sport scuff plates and spindle grille, illuminated door handles with puddle lights and a powered tailgate.

The car has recently undergone a mild facelift with revised styling along with suspension and equipment upgrades - the grille looks even more aggressive, the indicators have a sweeping movement and the LED headlights are neater in their design with adaptive high beam assist.

Our car in F Sport spec was priced at £39,995, but the addition of a panoramic roof (£1,000), F Sport White paint (£645) and a Premier Pack (£4,000) saw the cost increase to £45,640 which is certainly well into premium car costings.

In a day and age where manufacturers are striving to develop clutter-free, simplistic interiors the NX 300h is the exact opposite.

Step inside and you are greeted by a wealth of buttons, switches, readouts, dials and a touchpad all in a rather large central stack that separates the front seats.

On-board techno treats are generous and include sat nav, a 14-speaker Mark Levinson surround sound system with DAB radio, a 12.3-inch multimedia display, wireless smartphone charging, Bluetooth, a head-up display, a remote touch interface touchpad and dual-zone climate control.

Comfort levels within the car are very high and the leather seats can be heated and boast eight-way power adjustment. The steering wheel can also be heated and the aluminium pedals reinforce to the car's sporty character.

The NX 300h is powered by a 2.5-litre petrol/electric combination and can complete the 0-62mph dash in 9.2 seconds and maxes out at 112mph.

According to official figures it can deliver combined fuel economy of 54.3mpg with carbon emissions of 121g/km.

Those stats may not look that impressive on paper and the NX 300h is not exactly the most dynamic of hybrids, but if driven with a little respect it moves smoothly through the electric CVT transmission and the acceleration is constant. If, however you decide to floor the throttle, there will be lots of noise and very little movement - it's a car that needs a little TLC.

That said, it's no slouch out on the country lanes and its dynamic styling means there is minimal body roll even when pushed hard into tight bends.

The road holding is confident and assured, and the cabin is well insulated against any engine, road surface or wind noise.

The car's suspension system has been revised and upgraded meaning that all but the most severe dips and bumps are ironed out.

There are Eco, Normal and Sport driving modes that alter the way the car handles and an EV mode which allows you to drive in pure electric mode if there is enough charge.

The car also has a second electric motor in addition to the hybrid petrol and electric powertrain that drives the rear wheels delivering extra torque where it's needed in four-wheel drive.

When it comes to storage, the NX 300h is practical enough with a boot capacity ranging from 475 to 1,520 litres with the rear seats dropped flat.

The powered tailgate is a bonus if approaching the car laden down with shopping but remember to start the boot opening process early as it is very slow.

The other somewhat irritating factor on an otherwise impressive car, is that touchpad. I attempted to programme a new sat nav destination and it was so clunky that in the end I pulled over and used my smartphone's Google maps.

But those gripes aside, the NX 300h is a lovely car to drive and also features a whole range of safety features and driver aids as standard such as a pre-collision system, adaptive cruise control, lane keep assist, adaptive high beam assist, traffic sign recognition, blind spot monitoring, rear cross traffic alert, hill start assist, numerous airbags and lots more besides.

FAST FACTS

Lexus NX 300h F Sport

Price:£39,995

Mechanical: 195bhp, 2,494cc, 4cyl petrol engine and electric motor driving four wheels via automatic gearbox

Max Speed: 112mph

0-62mph: 9.2 seconds

Combined MPG: 54.3

Insurance Group: 32

C02 emissions: 121g/km

Bik rating: 25%

Warranty: 3yrs/60,000 miles

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