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  • William Maley
    William Maley

    Review: 2015 Lexus NX 300h AWD

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      So Close To Getting It Right, But Some Problems Prevent It

    The big thing for luxury automakers for the past ten to fifteen years has been the crossover. First was the midsize crossover. Then came the full-size. Now the latest craze is compact crossovers. Many luxury automakers have been introducing them within the past few years as a way to draw buyers in. The latest one is Lexus with the NX crossover. This small luxury crossover hopes to carve a nice slice of a growing market. We recently spent a week with the NX 300h to see if it has a chance of pulling this off.

     

    The NX’s overall shape looks to be a smaller version of the last-generation RX crossover mixed with some elements of Lexus’ L-Finesse design language. The front end boasts Lexus’ spindle grille paired with slim headlights. The side profile boasts a fair amount of sculpting on the fenders and on the lower door panels. Seventeen-inch wheels come standard, while our tester came equipped with the optional eighteen-inch wheels. Overall, the NX seems to work with the current design language without looking like a complete mess.

     


    2015 Lexus NX 300h AWD 12


    For the NX’s interior, Lexus made sure there was a fair amount of luxury appointments throughout. There is a fair amount of leather used on the dash, door panels, and center console. Many surfaces also feature stitching to increase the premium feeling. The front seats provided an excellent level of comfort thanks to the power adjustments and amount of padding used. Rear seat passengers will find a decent of legroom, but headroom is slightly tight.

     

    Where the NX falls flat is in cargo space. The NX 300h only offers 16.8 cubic feet with the rear seats up and 53.7 cubic feet with the seats down. Now some this can be attributed to the batteries used on the hybrid version. But the standard NX isn’t that much bigger (17.7 and 54.6 cubic feet respectively), mostly due to the sloping roofline.

     

    Like the RC 350 coupe we drove earlier, the NX 300h features the latest iteration of Lexus Remote Touch which swaps the joystick controller for a touchpad. We found the touchpad to be noticeably better than the joystick with moving around and choosing various functions. But we still had some issues with a slight delay of the cursor moving after moving our finger across the pad. We hope Lexus addresses this in a future update for the infotainment system.

     

    The NX 300h uses the same hybrid powertrain as seen on the ES 300h, a 2.5L inline-four paired with an electric motor and a nickel-metal hydride battery pack. Total output stands at 194 horsepower. This comes paired to a CVT to either front-wheel or all-wheel drive. All-wheel drive models get an additional electric motor on the rear axle to provide the added traction. Lethargic is the best word to describe the NX 300h’s ability to get up to speed. The powertrain seems unwilling to get up to speed at a rate that would satisfy most drivers. You’ll end up having your foot almost planted to the floor to get the powertrain to move the vehicle at a somewhat decent clip. But this also brings a lot droning from the CVT.

     


    2015 Lexus NX 300h AWD 8


     

    The NX 300h does regain some points back in a couple of areas. One is the ability to run on electric power only at speeds below 25 MPH. This is perfect for driving in parking lots or in neighborhoods. The other is fuel economy. The EPA rates the NX 300h AWD at 33 City/30 Highway/32 Combined. Our average for the week landed around 31.6 MPG.

     

    As for driving, the NX 300h feels balanced. Over the potholed and rough roads of Detroit, the NX 300h felt composed. Bumps were largely isolated and the cabin was as quiet as a library. In the corners, the NX showed very little body roll and felt planted. We did wish the steering didn’t feel rubbery.

     

    The Lexus NX 300h is an odd species. On one hand, the NX is very well done for being Lexus’ first compact crossover. The model boasts distinctive exterior styling, well-appointed interior, and a balance between sport and comfort. But the NX 300h has a number of comprises as well. The most apparent is powertrain which feels and sounds quite underpowered. Not helping is a small cargo area and an expensive price tag. The NX 300h starts at $40,645 for the front-wheel drive version and $41,310 for the all-wheel drive version. This about $5,000 more than the NX 200t and we can’t think of any reason aside from the improved fuel economy that you should spend the extra money on the hybrid.

     

    You’re better off sticking with the regular NX 200t and having that extra $5,000 going towards some options.

     

    Disclaimer: Lexus Provided the NX 300h, Insurance, and One Tank of Gas

     

     

    Year: 2015
    Make: Lexus
    Model: NX
    Trim: 300h AWD
    Engine: 2.5L DOHC 16-Valve Dual VVT-i Antkinson Cycle Inline-Four, 650V AC Electric Motor
    Driveline: CVT, All-Wheel Drive
    Horsepower @ RPM: 154 @ 5,700 (Gas), 141 @ 0 (Electric), 194 (Total Output)
    Torque @ RPM: 152 @ 4,400
    Fuel Economy: City/Highway/Combined - 33/30/32
    Curb Weight: 4,189 lbs
    Location of Manufacture: Miyawaka, Fukuoka, Japan
    Base Price: $41,310
    As Tested Price: $52,013 (Includes $925.00 Destination Charge)

     

    Options:
    Luxury Package - $4,465.00
    Navigation Package - $2,140.00
    Pre-Collison System w/All-Speed Cruise Control - $900.00
    Electrochromic (Auto-Dimming) Outer Mirrors with Blind Spot Monitoring, Rear Cross Traffic Alert, Reverse Tilt, Heated, Memory - $660.00
    Intuitive Parking Assist - $500.00
    60/40 Power Folding Rear Seats - $400.00
    Qi-Compatible Wireless Charger - $220.00
    Electrochromic (Auto-Dimming) Rear View Mirror and Lexus Homelink Garage Door Opener - $125.00
    Cargo Mat - $99.00
    Cargo Net - $69.00

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    I have a really hard time with that interior 1) In a Lexus and 2) for $52k

     

    It looks like an economy car interior with select pieces wrapped in leatherette.

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    I have a really hard time with that interior 1) In a Lexus and 2) for $52k

     

    It looks like an economy car interior with select pieces wrapped in leatherette.

    Well, it is their entry level CUV...below the RX.   I guess the luxury package and the hybrid spec drives the price so high..

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    There's really no compact luxury SUV that really has an interior to match that of its larger siblings. Maybe the GLC. Maybe the ambitiously priced MKC Black Label (in terms of materials only)...

     

    It really does look like Corolla Interior with more vinyl.

     

    If I were to get a Lexus, it'd probably be the GS. It's the only one that I think the new grille works well with.

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    • By William Maley
      Expectation can be a very dangerous thing. You come into something thinking it will blow your mind and more often than not, it comes up short. That’s how I felt during the first few days into a loan of a 2019 Buick Regal GS. What was being presented didn’t match up with my experience. But over the week I had the vehicle, it began to grow on. That isn’t to say some issues need to be addressed.
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      There lies the overall problem with Regal GS as Buick doesn’t quite know what it wants to be. Does it want to be a sport sedan or a luxury sedan with grand tourer tendencies? This confusion will likely cause many people to look at something else which is a big shame.
      How I Would Configure a 2019 Buick Regal GS.
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      Make: Buick
      Model: Regal
      Trim: GS
      Engine: 3.6L V6
      Driveline: Nine-Speed Automatic, All-Wheel Drive
      Horsepower @ RPM: 310 @ 6,800 
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      Fuel Economy: City/Highway/Combined - 19/27/22
      Curb Weight: 3,796 lbs
      Location of Manufacture: Rüsselsheim Germany
      Base Price: $39,070
      As Tested Price: $43,115 (Includes $925.00 Destination Charge)
      Options:
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      If I was to order a Sierra 1500, then I would start with the SLT Crew Cab 4WD with a short bed. This comes with the 5.3L V8 as standard and I would only add two options; Dark Sky Metallic for $495 and the SLT Premium Plus Package for $6,875. This package combines a number of option packages such as the SLT Preferred Package and the two Driver Alert Packages. The final price comes to $60,460 with a $1,000 discount for ordering Premium Plus Package.
      Alternatives to the 2019 Chevrolet Silverado or GMC Sierra 1500.
      2019 Ram 1500: Ram's redesign on the 1500 has helped make it a real challenger to both Ford and GM. The interior raises the bar of what a truck can be with an impressive design and high-quality material choices. It also boasts an impressive list of safety features such as adaptive cruise control. Ride quality is still class leading. What may put some people off is the styling as it looks a bit plain. 2019 Ford F-150: Bestselling for reason, Ford has constantly improved the F-150 to keep it one step ahead of the competition. It features one of the largest selection of powertrains that help give it some impressive towing numbers. A number of trims also gives buyers different options to build their F-150 the way they want. But Ford trails Ram and GM when it comes ride quality. Disclaimer: General Motors Provided the trucks, Insurance, and One Tank of Gas
      (*Author's Note: Unfortunately, I lost the window sticker to the GMC Sierra 1500 I drove. I have built the truck as close as possible to my memory to get an approximation on price. -WM)
      Year: 2019
      Make: Chevrolet
      Model: Silverado 1500
      Trim: LT Trail Boss
      Engine: 5.3L VVT DI V8 with Dynamic Fuel Management and Stop/Start
      Driveline: Eight-Speed Automatic, Four-Wheel Drive
      Horsepower @ RPM: 355 @ 5,600
      Torque @ RPM: 383 @ 4,100
      Fuel Economy: City/Highway/Combined - 15/20/17
      Curb Weight: 5,008 lbs
      Location of Manufacture: Roanoke, Indiana
      Base Price: $48,300
      As Tested Price: $55,955 (Includes $1,495 Destination Charge)
      Options:
      Convenience Package with Bucket Seats - $1,805.00
      Convenience Package II - $1,420.00
      Off-Road Assist Steps - $895.00
      Safety Package I - $890.00
      Bed Protection Package - $635.00
      Trailer Brake Controller - $275.00
      Advanced Trailering Package - $240.00
      Year: 2019
      Make: GMC
      Model: Sierra 1500
      Trim: AT4
      Engine: 6.2L VVT DI V8 with Dynamic Fuel Management and Stop/Start
      Driveline: Ten-Speed Automatic, Four-Wheel Drive
      Horsepower @ RPM: 420 @ 5,600 
      Torque @ RPM: 460 @ 4,100
      Fuel Economy: City/Highway/Combined - 15/19/17
      Curb Weight: 5,015 lbs
      Location of Manufacture: Roanoke, Indiana
      Base Price: $53,200
      As Tested Price: $64,955 (Includes $1,595 Destination Charge and $500 discount for the AT4 Premium Package)*
      Options:
      Off-Road Performance Package - $4,940
      AT4 Premium Package - $3,100 with a $500 discount
      Technology Package - $1,875
      Driver Alert Package II - $745
  • Posts

    • That sounds an awful lot like a homophobic insult. Well, just relax there junior.   
    • I will second several points echoed from the past (one of which dfelt already pointed out). The looks are a problem for a lot of folks. It looks like a CUV yet it offers nothing that other CUVs offer, like AWD or 4WD. That kills a huge subsection of potential CUV buyers looking to go green. Second, and this is the big one, has been total lack of marketing, much like the diesels certain folks here crow over. I worked at a Chevy dealership last year and during that time they had exactly one Bolt that sat for almost two months with a $44K price tag on it. Most of the sales people knew jack and $h! about the car and that price was a huge pill to swallow for a lot of folks. All of this had nothing to do with the powertrain and that’s what the dinosaurs don’t get. It has said a million times in the last, that had the EV tech gone in something more like the Equinox, sales would be better (potential high price not withstanding). I don’t know why the EV hater here doesn’t get what has been discussed a thousand times now but those are the simple facts.  Diesels don’t sell for $h! here either and their issues have cost manufacturers BILLIONS. Guess, by your logic, we should give those up too right? Just for you @ocnblu, this article covers the issues facing the Bolt perfectly. Read it, understand it, and move on from your endless troll act.  https://www.google.com/amp/s/www.forbes.com/sites/brookecrothers/2019/07/21/chevy-bolt-the-best-ev-youve-never-heard-of--still/amp/
    • Ah deflection, the favorite practice of the defeated. I actually have every song in my collection that I’ve posted here. The title of the thread is “What are you listening to?” not “Be careful what you post or you may affect Blu’s delicate sensibilities.”. Again, if you have a problem with that, just add me to the “ignore” list in your account settings because I’m not changing a thing. It’s that easy.    And you know exactly what you can do with the insult snowflake.  Part of my actual YEAR OLD playlist that Mr. Delicate has a problem with.    @ocnblu Seek help for that paranoia.    
    • Lovely looking standard cab pickup at the gas station. So rare to see them like this.
    • Restored and modified Novas. Popular for decades now, any clean 6-banger coupes have already been snapped up & redone-modified. The days of cheap ‘lil old lady’ Nova coupes are long gone. Frankly, seeing multiple units asking $70 grand blows my mind. Yenkos go over $100K, I believe. EDIT: found one on autotrader; $3600, rusted/rotted, dented, parts missing, mismatched interior. Would take $10K to make it decent (not restored or repainted), then another at least $10K to get everything to make it BE... and thats with ALL labor being free. Its possible, i suppose, but its nuts on a fiscal basis. I thing Neil Young spent like $200K EVing his Lincoln. 😆
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