Lexus NX 300h

Premier

Lexus NX 300h, 2018, nose
Lexus NX 300h, 2018, front
Lexus NX 300h, 2018, side
Lexus NX 300h, 2018, side, action
Lexus NX 300h, 2018, rear
Lexus NX 300h, 2018, interior
Lexus NX 300h, 2018, boot

A CRITICISM sometimes levelled at saloon cars is that they all look fairly similar - and the same could perhaps be said of SUVs and crossovers.

Not so the Lexus NX 300h, which, if you're after something that definitely deviates from the design mainstream, is sure to appeal.

It has just had its second makeover since being launched in 2014, though arguably it's a vehicle that was pretty avant garde from the outset and didn't require much in the way of modernisation.

If you're one of those people who loves the daring design of concept cars, then feels somewhat let down and disappointed when the toned down real world version subsequently appears then look no further than the NX 300h.

A pretty ‘out there' vehicle back in 2014 its looks have been noticeable hardened and sharpened.

The latest changes might be subtle but they reinforce the lines of a vehicle, that, from certain angles, looks to have been inspired by a fighter jet.

An imposing grille's presence is further reinforced by restyled recessed air intakes and the bumpers and LED headlights have also been remodelled.

The NX 300h also gets Audi-style sequential indicators.

As with any refresh or makeover, technology also plays its part and the NX 300h benefits from Lexus's Safety System Plus.

It includes a pre-collision warning and emergency braking system, adaptive cruise control, lane-departure warning and road-sign assist.

It also comes with adaptive high-beam headlights, which work oh so cleverly so as to not dazzle oncoming drivers.

On the inside the NX 300h offers an environment that is both opulent and appealing.

Compared to some rivals there appears to be a lot going on when it comes to switchgear and instrumentation but it carries it off without feeling too cluttered.

Even a technophobe like me managed to get acquainted with everything within and impressively short timescale.

There is a very upmarket kind of feel overall, giving a sense that one is certainly getting value for money.

Admittedly this was a range-topping Premier model but Lexus has earned a deserved reputation for offering generous equipment levels across a given model range.

Trim levels are SE, Luxury, F Sport, F Sport Premier Pack and Premier.

Under the bonnet there's been a change, of sorts, in that the NX 300h is now only available as a hybrid.

Given Toyota/Lexus's expertise and experience in hybrid engineering and the shift away from diesel, this certainly seems like a shrewd move.

The four cylinder, 2.5-litre 16-valve petrol engine coupled to a 141bhp electricmotoris a winning blend overall.

The silent movement at low speeds around town is immensely satisfying.

Trying to eke out more spirited performance at higher speeds is somewhat different.

Doing so smoothly it delivers nicely but if you're in a hurry and really put your foot down, the petrol engine emits an uncharacteristically harsh roar that is unsettling rather than satisfying.

It's a comfortable car to travel in too and though its handling is very much more SUV-like than car-like, it's unlikely you're going to be buying something like this to throw around the bends at high speed.

The driving experience is enhanced by the smooth continuous variable transmission (there's no manual transmission option) and four-wheel drive also comes as standard on all models except the SE.

FAST FACTS

Lexus NX 300h Premier

Price: £44,395

Mechanical: 141bhp, 2,495cc, 4cyl petrol engine with electricmotordriving four wheels via automatic gearbox

Max Speed: 112mph

0-62mph: 9.2 seconds

Combined MPG: 54.3

Insurance Group: 33

C02 emissions: 121g/km

Bik rating: 25%

Warranty: 3yrs/60,000 miles

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