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Test drive: LLM motoring editor Lisa Curtiss reviews the Lexus NX, a stylish and eco-friendly SUV

By Lisa Curtiss  |  April 28, 2020
Lexus NX

For those seeking a top quality, super-stylish SUV that stands out from the crowd, the Lexus NX is hard to beat. Its handsome looks, engaging drive , versatility and eco credentials are already enticing thousands of discerning car buyers world-wide.

This SUV really does need to be viewed in the metal to be fully appreciated. A masterclass in marrying sweeping lines and muscular curves the NX looks like it means business and will be swift, dynamic to drive and yet reassuringly safe and robust too.

Slip inside the NX and the attention to aesthetics continues, but what’s particularly appealing is how cleverly the cabin has been designed to please the eye but be supremely practical also. There’s nothing superfluous, everything makes sense and is in the ergonomically right place. The seats are butter-soft and come in a choice of cream and ochre or the favourite white, black and dark rose scheme. The dash curves and has a soft, premium touch, and there’s absolutely no doubting this is a quality car.

The NX comes with a 4.2-inch TFT LCD full-colour multi-information display, centrally positioned in the instrument cluster, with ambient illumination linked to the Drive Mode Select switch, changing colour for each mode. If you opt for the Sport and Takumi model NXs, you’ll even enjoy a welcoming light sequence, which is all part of the brand’s great attention to detail. When you approach the car, carrying the key, the door handles are automatically illuminated, along with the Remote Touch Interface inside the car.

As you’d expect from Lexus, the NX is tech-rich. We particularly appreciated the wireless charging tray to enable our iPhones to be topped up, and the excellent 360-degree Panoramic View Monitor which gave a crystal-clear view of everything around the car – so handy for manouevering in tight and awkwardly angled spaces on and off-road. The highest spec models come with a head-up-display too.

The cabin is spacious front and rear – and with more head room than you’d anticipate given its sporty lines, and there’s more knee room than in many large SUV models on the market. Visibility is good too. On even a pretty long trip from London to the countryside it proved a super-comfortable ride and engaging drive. There’s very little road, wind or engine noise too. The boot is large and practical – able to stow a generous 475 litres – wide enough for even golf bags to be carried sideways, and comes with a power tailgate for ease of loading.

For the safety conscious, Lexus has packed the NX with a veritable arsenal of parking, anti-collision and other driving safety features – as standard throughout the range too. In what it calls the Lexus Safety System+ there are a Pre-Collision System, Adaptive Cruise Control, Automatic High Beam/Adaptive High-beam System, Lane Keep Assist with Sway Warning and Traffic Sign Recognition. Intelligent Parking Sensors are also available.

Out on the road, the car drives as dynamically as it looks. High body rigidity, Adaptive Variable Suspension and Drive Mode Select deliver smooth, stable and agile performance. The NX 300h uses a proven Lexus Hybrid Drive system featuring a 2.5-litre Atkinson cycle petrol engine, a generator, electric motor and hybrid battery with a sophisticated HV control unit developed specifically for the model. Total system output is 195bhp/145kW; combined cycle fuel consumption is from 35.7 to 37.6mpg; and CO2 emissions are from 137g/km.

The Lexus NX is without doubt one of the most stylish, high quality and great to drive SUVs around.

RRP: From £35,469