2023 Lexus NX450h: SUV plug-in hybrid prowess

James Raia

The 2023 Lexus NX 450h is attractive insider and outside.

One year after its second-generation debut last year, the high-end Toyota relative has introduced the 2023 Lexus NX450h into its lineup returns in 2023 with a collection of small crossover sport utility vehicles, including two hybrid offerings.

The 450h+ is the upscale carmaker’s first plug-in hybrid and it joins the NX 350h conventional hybrid. The NX lineup was first introduced nearly a decade ago and is slotted between the subcompact UX and the mid-sized RX.

Who knew there was a need for a slew of “Nimble Crossovers,” the meaning of the vehicles’ two-letter identifier? Buyers, apparently. The NX joined two siblings in the top 10 luxury hybrid SUV sales for 2022. The 2023 models are a holdover.

2023 Lexus NX450h
The 2023 Lexus 450h+ is a mechanical mirror of the Toyota RAV4 Prim plug-in

The Lexus 450h+ is a mechanical mirror of the Toyota RAV4 Prim plug-in. It combines a four-cylinder gas engine and a dual-electric motor. The result is a combined 304 horsepower, propelled by continuously variable transmission. It’s available in two trim levels.

While not as quick as some competitors, the 450h+ accelerates from 0 to 60 miles per hour in 5.9 seconds. It’s fast enough with some power boosts in low and mid-range maneuvering if the need for quick passing arises.

A strong economic value is key for the plug-in hybrids’ appeal. The Lexus complies. Travel on the battery only and the range is 37 miles. When the vehicle switch to regular hybrid mode and the gas mileage, according to the EPA is 36 mpg in combined city and freeway driving. The total price, inclusive of individual add-ons and destination is slightly less than $63,000.

2023 Lexus NX450h: SUV plug-in hybrid prowess 1
The 2023 Lexus 450h is a mechanical mirror of the Toyota RAV4 Prim plug-in.

Throughout its tenure, Lexus (it became its own brand in 2005) has emphasized a quiet ride. The NX 450h+ complies. There’s little hybrid-electric whine and the SUV’s insulation is done right. With its comfortable seating and straightforward, if stoic-looking interior, the NX 450h further defines Lexus’s reputation for refinement. The SUV cruises along like one of its classy sedan siblings.

Competition in the plug-in luxury SUV segment is increasing, Lexus choices matched again selections from Audi, Volvo and an upcoming addition to the Mercedes-Benz GLC lineup.

The choices are all good, with a preference for Japanese, German and Swedish-built vehicles a welcome variety. With last year’s second-generation unveiling, Lexus improved its NX lineup’s technology. The usability of the infotainment touchscreen has improved (it’s now 14 inches), although it still isn’t intuitive. Push-button and sliding functions are both featured and several switches and dials are oddly positioned for the possibility of distracted driving.

Cloud-based navigation, virtual voice assistance and wireless Apple and Android smartphone integration are second-generation new and standard on the high-level trim. A hands-free power liftgate, heated and ventilated front seats and leather upholstery are also standard. An ambient lighting package (64 color choices), a 10-inch head-up display and a panoramic moonroof are also available. The Mark Levinson audio system is top-line.

Safety and reliability are also Lexus stalwarts. The wind range standard safety includes automatic emergency braking, adaptive cruise control, automatic high-beam headlights, blind-spot monitoring, lane-keeping assist, pedestrian detection and rear cross-traffic alert.

Several unspectacular qualities are troublesome but not purchase breakers.

With the rear seats up, the cargo space is 22.7 cubic feet, below average for the segment. this class. With the rear seats down, the area is more aligned with competitors with 46.9 cubic feet. Similar to other small SUVs, rear visibility is limited. The inside door releases are small and the push-button releases are awkward to operate.

The Lexus “spindle” grille is polarizing at best, with a replacement easily better designed in a community center’s beginning graphic design class. A beautiful car inside and outside and a vehicle so pleasing to drive shouldn’t look so angry.

Article Last Updated: May 22, 2023.

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