Lexus, through its close family links to Toyota, has form when it comes to the
electrification of fossil fuel-powered vehicles. More than 20 years ago Toyota set its
cap to petrol / electric hybrids when it put out the Prius.

The sedan’s asymmetric hybrid fuel saving system became the mainstay of the
automobile maker’s electric vehicles, even becoming the powerplant of choice for
taxis around the world. Needless to say, this did not go unnoticed with Toyota’s luxe
auto partner Lexus plugging in to the development for its range of saloons and

Latest model to take the petrol / electric path is the NX, Toyota’s most popular SUV,
consisting of the entry-level NX250 petrol FWD, selling for $60,800, plus on road
costs, NX350 turbo-petrol, NX350h petrol hybrid and 450h+ AWD plug-in hybrid
rounding out the range at $89,900.

The NX350h, which looks like being the best seller of the range, is the only variant
across all three specification grades – Luxury, F Sport and Sports Luxury. It is also
the only NX offering a choice of front or all-wheel drive. The Sports Luxury variant, at
$77,900, plus ORCs, came our way.

Front and rear tracks have been increased by up to 35mm and 55mm (F Sport)
respectively, providing the NX with a powerful presence. The hallmark spindle grille
is now more upright, accentuating the elongated bonnet and improving airflow into
the engine compartment.

The grille of the NX 250 and the Luxury and Sports Luxury grades comprises tall U-
shaped blocks and replaces its chrome-plated frame with a stronger 3-D look.
Signature L-shaped daytime running lights frame new headlamps, aligning with the
bonnet’s lines to further emphasise the spindle shape.

F Sport and Sports Luxury grades have standard four-unit low / high-beam structure
combining three projector LED modules with the advanced adaptive high-beam
system, while fog lamps and (on F Sport and Sports Luxury) cornering lamps are
housed in the lower corners of the front fascia, integrated into the expressive side
garnishes, once again giving further depth to the spindle grille.

The rear is distinguished by muscular fenders and new L-shaped LED light clusters
with signature blade lighting in a bar that spans the width of the vehicle. The tailgate
has dropped the Lexus stylised ‘L’, replaced by the spaced out ‘L E X U S’ name for
a more modern look.
Sports Luxury variants boast 20-inch wheels with a five twin-spoke design
complemented by smaller spokes, finished in a premium metallic coating applied
after machining. Run-flat tyres dispense with a spare wheel.

Inspired by Japanese pen ink, leather-accented trim upholstery and open-pore
walnut ornamentation are finished in Sumi Black. Exclusives include black window
surrounds, scuff plates, perforated leather-accented steering wheel and gearshifter,
alloy pedals, sports seats, and Hadori aluminium ornamentation.

NX AWD models are offered a $3000 optional Enhancement Pack, which includes a
panoramic moonroof – the first time such a roof has been offered on a Lexus NX.

Enhancement Pack 2 for the NX 350h Sports Luxury AWD includes heated steering
wheel and rear outboard seats, power-operated folding rear seats and Intelligent
Parking Assist.

The NX cabin is boosted in F Sport and Sports Luxury by a 14-inch touch-display
with satellite navigation, digital instrument cluster and a colour head-up display with
steering wheel controls. Sports Luxury further includes a 17-speaker Mark
Levinson premium audio system and a digital rear-view mirror

Comprising two permanent magnet synchronous electric motors for AWD versions, a
compact and lightweight lithium-ion battery and a 140 kW / 239 Nm 2.5-litre petrol
engine, the NX 350h produces a 179-kW total system output, making it the most
powerful four-cylinder Lexus HEV sold in Australia.

This level of power ensures acceleration from standstill to 100 km/h in 8.7 seconds
for front-wheel drive versions and just 7.7 seconds for all-wheel drives.

A five-star ANCAP rating here. From entry level up, Lexus-first technologies
including safe exit assist incorporating new e-latch electrically activated doorhandles,
which can detect cyclists or vehicles passing close to the vehicle and can keep the
door closed to avoid a collision.

New across-the-range safety technologies include NX-first intersection turn assist
and emergency steering assist, plus a pre-collision system with pedestrian and
daytime cyclist detection, parking support brake with obstacle and vehicle detection,
blind-spot monitor, dynamic radar active cruise control, lane tracing assist and road
sign assist.

Before setting off and after parking, it is necessary to grapple with the new e-latch
electric door handles, which replace standard versions. Okay, they help with
stopping accidents opening the doors but they take some finding in their ‘hidden’
spots in the doors.
On the upside, the hit-and-miss mouse-style touchpad on the centre console
controlling many of the vehicle systems has been replaced by a well-laid out set of
knobs and switches.

Cabin space is generous all round. Upfront, driver and passenger can get
comfortable thanks power adjustable seats. They’re heated as well. The back seats
take advantage of the extra 20 mm in wheelbase. Head room follows suit with no
skimping here.

There’s 520 litres of cargo space with all seats in operation, which expands to 1141
litres with the second-row seat backs folded flat. The cabin keeps external noise at
bay, the ride and handling are untroubled by anything but major road surface

The petrol / electric engine management is set-and-forget smooth and fuel
consumption over a week of town-and-country driving returned 5.6 litres per 100

Two decades down the line, Lexus continues its perseverance with petrol / electric
hybrid power, which has paid off in spades in vehicle sales. I can’t see the maker
switching any time soon to an alternative.

Looks: 7/10
Performance: 7/10
Safety: 8/10
Thirst: 8/10
Practicality: 6/10
Comfort: 7/10
Tech: 8/10
Value: 5/10


NX 250 Luxury $60,800
NX 250 Luxury with Enhancement Pack $63,800
NX 350h Luxury 2WD $65,800
NX 350h Luxury AWD $70,400
NX 350h Luxury with Enhancement Pack AWD $73,400
NX 350h Sports Luxury 2WD $73,100
NX 350h Sports Luxury AWD $77,900
NX 350h Sports Luxury with Enhancement Pack 1 AWD $80,900
NX 350h Sports Luxury with Enhancement Pack 2 AWD $83,900
NX 350h F Sport 2WD $73,100
NX 350 / NX 350h F Sport AWD $77,900
NX 350 / 350h F Sport with Enhancement Pack 1 AWD $80,900
NX 350 / 350h F Sport with Enhancement Pack2 AWD $83,900
NX 450h+ F Sport AWD plug-in hybrid $89,900
Note: These prices do not include government or dealer delivery charges. Contact
your local Lexus dealer for drive-away prices.
SPECIFICATIONS (Lexus NX 350h Sports Luxury 2.5L 4-cylinder petrol, 40 kW
electric motor, CVT automatic, AWD)

Capacity: 2.487 litres
Configuration: Four cylinders inline, hybrid electric motor, Li-ion battery
Maximum Power: 140 kW @ 6000 rpm
Maximum Torque: 239 Nm @ 4300-4500 rpm
Fuel Type: Regular unleaded petrol
Combined Fuel Cycle (ADR 81/02): 5.0 L/100km

Synchronous, permanent magnet / lithium-ion battery
Maximum power: 40 kW
Maximum torque: 270 Nm

DRIVELINE: Continuously variable transmission, all-wheel drive

Length: 4660 mm
Wheelbase: 2690 mm
Width: 1865 mm
Height: 1670 mm
Turning Circle: 11.6 metres
Kerb mass: 1870 kg
Fuel Tank Capacity: 55 litres

Front: Ventilated disc
Rear: Ventilated disc

Five years / unlimited kilometres
Ten years unlimited kilometre battery warranty


About Derek Ogden

On graduating with an honours degree in applied science in London, Derek Ogden worked for the BBC in local radio and several British newspapers as a production journalist and writer. Derek moved to Australia in 1975 and worked as a sub-editor with The Courier Mail and Sunday Mail in Brisbane, moving to the Gold Coast Bulletin in 1980 where he continued as a production journalist. He was the paper's motoring editor for more than 20 years, taking the weekly section from a few pages at the back of the book to a full-colour liftout of up to 36 pages. He left the publication in 2009.
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