Despite having aggressive styling, the 2018 Lexus NX 300h hybrid is a more sensible compact SUV than the NX 300 where is it based. It maintains the visual attitude of its siblings while delivering a better fuel economy.
Entering its fourth year, the Lexus NX 300h receives only minor changes for 2018 and still has a lot to offer. It has a quiet, flawless crafted cabin that looks pretty cool and spacious front and back seat space. As a crossover SUV, the NX 300h has an elevated ride height that you might be looking for compared to a hybrid car, and its manageable size makes it easy to drive and park around the city. The NX 300h driving experience also strikes a pleasant balance between comfort and driver engagement.
Hybrid versions of conventional vehicles often suffer from reduced cargo capacity due to large hybrid battery packs. In the case of the NX 300h, it didn’t have a big impact. But, the NX has a limited cargo area. This is one of the two main drawbacks of the NX 300h. The other is its infotainment interface, which can be frustrating to use.
Overall, the 2018 Lexus NX 300h is a smart choice for luxury crossover SUV shoppers who want a pleasing blend of style, efficiency and luxury.
For 2018, the NX 300h receives only minor changes. It gets a modest facelift that includes a new grille, a revised rear bumper, updated headlights and taillights. Many advanced safety features now come as standard equipment. New features include a Wi-Fi hotspot, power-folding mirrors, a larger infotainment touchpad and screen.
Trim levels and features
The 2018 Lexus NX 300h is a five-passenger, compact luxury hybrid SUV that offered in single trim level. The regular NX 300 is reviewed separately.
Standard equipment includes keyless ignition and entry, 17-inch wheels, LED foglights, LED headlights and running lights, automatic dual-zone climate control, simulated-leather upholstery, power-adjustable front seats, a 60/40-split folding and reclining back seat, an 8-inch infotainment display with a touchpad interface, and an eight-speaker sound system. Standard safety aids included automatic high beams, forward collision warning and mitigation, adaptive cruise control, lane departure warning and intervention.
Several optional packages are available for the NX 300h. The Navigation package adds an auto-dimming rearview mirror, Enform Destination Assist, a larger 10.3-inch display and a 10-speaker audio system. The Comfort package adds auto-dimming side mirrors, blind-spot monitoring, heated and ventilated front seats.
The Premium package includes the Comfort package items plus 18-inch wheels, LED daytime running lights with integrated turn signals, a sunroof, a power-adjustable steering wheel, and driver-seat memory settings. The Luxury package combines the Premium package with automatic wipers, wood interior pieces, a heated leather steering wheel, and leather seating surfaces.
Stand-alone options include adaptive headlights, parking sensors, a hands-free liftgate and power-folding rear seats.
Under the hood, the 2018 Lexus NX 300h is powered by a gasoline-electric hybrid powertrain that combines a 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine with three electric motors supplied by a nickel-metal hydride battery pack. Together, they produce a total output of 194 horsepower and 152 lb-ft of torque. A continuously variable automatic transmission (CVT) and all-wheel drive are standard. Keep in mind, its dependence solely on one of the electric motors to drive the rear wheels, which ultimately makes it less capable than other AWD SUVs in terms of maximum traction.
In performance testing, the 2018 Lexus NX 300h accelerates from zero to 60 mph in 8.4 seconds, making the NX 300h one of the slowest luxury crossovers available. Fuel economy is best in the class, with EPA rating at 31 mpg combined (33 city/30 highway). Only the diesel-powered Jaguar F-Pace and BMW X3 come close to that.
In this class, towing isn’t always important to buyers. But the NX 300h is one of precious few options in this segment that offer enough towing capability, boasting a 1500 pound capacity.
The 2018 Lexus NX 300h cabin is not radically designed as its exterior, but still emits a cool and modern vibe. The construction is excellent, with materials that feel and look rich. The soft leather-like material that lining the door, center console and dashboard feel expensive, and we like the soft area that cushions the center console to keep your legs from hitting hard surfaces. Details like wood trim, contrast stitches and modern analog clocks are neatly applied.
High-mounted climate control is easy to reach and see, and other secondary controls are very intuitive. Unfortunately, the Lexus Remote Touch interface remains the only way to control the infotainment system. This controller is one of the NX 300h biggest drawbacks. Inspired by a computer mouse, this is the main method for selecting audio and navigation, and it’s far from ideal. Despite its sharp screen, the cursor control with this device jerky and draws too much of your attention from the road. Lexus has added several welcome menu shortcuts, but overall competitor infotainment controllers are easier to use. Tech-savvy may also be disappointed by the lack of support for Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.
The 2018 Lexus NX 300h is very comfortable in carrying people, but with less of their stuff. Rear passengers will find a spacious space regardless of the vehicle overall dimensions, but the cargo space is limited. The 53.7 cubic feet of total cargo capacity makes the NX one of the smallest in the class, and the raked liftgate seems to make it less versatile than its modest volume would suggest. With the rear seatback up, there only 17.7 cubic feet of cargo space.
Release Date and Price
The 2018 Lexus NX 300h is on sale and arriving now at dealers nationwide. Direct competition includes the Mercedes GLA-Class, BMW X1, and Jaguar F-Pace. Official pricing for the NX 300h starting at $39,330 (all prices include the $995 destination charge).