CAR TEST – LEXUS NX 450H+ (2022) – PHEV IMMEDIATELY IMPRESSION
And the blazing-fast infotainment system too…
In 2005, Lexus’ first hybrid hit the road: the RX 400h. We had to wait a long time for a plug-in hybrid, but it is finally here. The completely new NX is also available with a plug and it is immediately the best version you can get.
Lexus has sold more than a million units of the NX worldwide. In Europe, he is certainly not doing badly with 170,000 units, but it was time for a new generation. The infotainment system of the outgoing model is in fact quite dated and the demand for a plug-in hybrid is high within Europe.
Lexus NX 350h and NX 450h+
It is clear that Lexus listens to its customers, because we can plug in with the NX. Two NX versions are coming to our country: the NX 350h and the NX 450h+. The 350h is a 242 hp hybrid and the 450h + is the first plug-in hybrid from the Japanese.
The powertrain of the plug-in hybrid consists of a 2.5-liter four-cylinder petrol engine and an electric motor, which together provide a combined power of 306 hp. Thanks to a battery pack with a capacity of 18 kWh, the 450h+ can drive 63 kilometers fully electrically.
That’s quite substantial and if you press the accelerator all the way to the floor, you’ll be at 100 km/h in 6 seconds. In addition, the immediately available torque from the electric motor ensures that you quickly shoot away at the traffic light for the first few meters.
This is not essential for most Lexus customers, but the comfort with which driving off is interesting for this target group. This happens in peace and quiet and also very gradually. These are the major advantages of an electric motor.
The top speed in EV mode is limited to 135 km/h. As soon as the power is on, the NX switches to hybrid mode. The four-cylinder then takes over and the electric motors play second fiddle.
The alternation between the petrol and electric motor is extremely smooth and often you do not even realize that the combustion engine kicks in as soon as the battery is almost empty. If you then step on the gas deeply, the continuously variable transmission lets the petrol engine make a lot of revolutions and you know again that you are not in a fully electric car.
Lexus is all about comfort and despite the fact that the NX 450h + has arrived a lot of kilos thanks to a heavy battery pack, the driving experience is no less pleasant. The suspension is still pleasantly soft, while the firm dampers provide good stability. The seats are of course excellent and driving noises do not seem to exist.
Compared to its predecessor, 95 percent of all parts used are new for the Lexus NX. However, the design doesn’t seem to have changed much. That’s usually a sign that sales are good.
For example, the characteristic Lexus Spindle grille and lightning-bolt-shaped daytime running lights are of course present again, although the latter has been moved to the center of the headlight. At the rear, the NX looks less familiar, thanks to a new striking light bar and the absence of the Lexus logo. Instead, the brand name is written out in full on the back.
That the tailgate now opens twice as fast as before may not sound so exciting, but it saves 4 seconds every time, which in our drizzly climate sometimes feels very long. Because the battery pack is located in the bottom, you have as much luggage space in the PHEV variant as in the hybrid: 545 liters and 1,435 liters with the rear seats folded down.
Special door handles
To get in you need to understand how the door handles work. It seems as if they are stuck. It turns out that we’re dealing with Lexus’ E-Latch system here.
This works as follows: behind the door handles is a small button that you have to press. Then the doors automatically open a little bit, after which you can open the door further yourself.
It takes some getting used to at first, but after that it works quite nicely. In addition, the E-Latch system is linked to the Blind Spot Monitoring system, which monitors whether cyclists or cars are approaching nearby. If this is the case, the door will give some resistance, so you know that you have to pay attention.
Impressive infotainment system
A good infotainment system can make or break a car. In the case of the new NX, we are thrilled with the feat of engineering Lexus has placed on the dashboard. The menus and apps open immediately as soon as your fingers touch the 14-inch screen. You can also quickly zoom out the navigation map 10 times with your fingers without any delay.
It therefore almost seems as if Lexus has secretly bought a batch of iPad Pro tablets and placed them in the NX. The year isn’t over yet, but the new Lexus Link Pro system may well be the best and fastest new infotainment system we’ve encountered this year.
Prices Lexus NX
The price list starts at 59,990 euros. For this you get the 242 hp NX 350h with front-wheel drive. If you want the NX with plug, you have to deposit at least 73,890 euros at the Lexus dealer. For this amount, you will immediately receive a thickly decorated Launch Edition. In the Netherlands, for example, this introduction version is standard equipped with a head-up display, leather upholstery, an audio system with ten speakers, an electrically adjustable driver’s seat with memory function, seat ventilation, 360-degree cameras and mood lighting.