assets to be claimed for Lexus’ first plug-in hybrid SUV –

Lexus, a rather discreet brand in France but whose models do not leave anyone indifferent. For good reason, with their assertive looks, the models in Toyota’s luxury division do not go unnoticed. The new NX450h + is no exception to the rule, but this is not its only feature. The novelty is also hidden underground with the integration of a rechargeable hybrid engine. A novelty for the brand, a pioneer in hybridization for almost 20 years and the RX400h. A historical knowledge that today is used to excite the German competition in its favorite market of Premium SUV.

A separate look

Slim lines, protruding edges, massive grille, high waist, the new Lexus NX350h / NX450h + affirm its style and stand out in a premium segment more inclined to classicism. Some will appreciate it when others wonder what fly might have been bitten by Japanese designers. Such a subjective consideration that we leave you to judge.

Even with this free F Sport Executive, our Lexus NX450h + looks great. The white Nova color is probably no stranger to this, but it’s mostly its 20-inch wheels and widened shields that energize its lines. An exacerbated sportiness that fits perfectly into this new NX450h from a purely aesthetic point of view.

Paradoxically, the light signature remains quite sober. The one on the back runs almost the full width with this “L” stretched back in the mirror. Note the discreet turn signals, probably a little too much to believe the unusual propensity of people unaware of our intentions to park during the slots in the city.

Lexus registration is now focused and therefore adheres to the trend. The trunk is a good surprise with its generous capacity for a plug-in hybrid SUV (555l). As an advantage, an underground location capable of housing the charging cables and thus prevent them from stuffing the trunk daily.

An interior in process

When making the presentations, it’s time to settle on board. First surprise, impossible to pull the handle. And for good reason, the Lexus NX is equipped as standard with an electronic door opening system. Therefore, you need to press a button on the back of the handle to unlock the door from the outside. Inside, same principle but this time by a simple pressure on an area materialized by small dots.

In addition to high technology, this system aims to prevent accidents with vehicles coming from behind. Along with the various sensors, this prevents the door from opening if a car, motorcycle or cyclist is detected. A little confusing to use the first time, this “e-latch” system, which is its name, is forgotten after a few days.

Inside, the evolution is evident from the previous generation. More ergonomic, with fewer buttons, the new Lexus NX is closer to German standards, often cited as a reference. The highlight of this change is the huge 14-inch central driver-oriented display (9.8 inches at entry level)!

Fluid, centralizes all parameters. Menu navigation is intuitive. Only grievances, the letter very “digital”. A feeling certainly accentuated by the size of the larger characters than usual.

The main screen is limited to the role of tachometers. The customization possibilities here are more limited and are reduced to some aesthetic rearrangements depending on the driving mode chosen. Small flat screen, battery indicator screen (especially) and gasoline deserve more readability than this inaccurate bar principle.

The steering wheel receives sensitive pads. Just tap them to see the features available on the front screen, then tap to confirm. Sometimes a little confusing in the first days, the time to (re) orient. Also included are some dedicated buttons, particularly for adjusting driving aids (level 2).

By the same token, the presence of a button dedicated to activating the cameras is very practical in everyday life. Given the impressive size of this new NX450h, the limited turning radius and the low visibility of the glass surfaces, it is a welcome help.

As for the interior finish, again, progress is visible, like this very nice gear selector and ubiquitous skin. However, some parts can not betray the bond of affiliation with Toyota and the presence of hard plastics in the lower part of a vehicle whose price flirts with 77,000 euros for the tested model may irritate some.

Our F Sport Executive model is finished in red leather. Of course, more sober colors are offered, such as the Havana leather offered on the Lexus 350h tested earlier this year. Very comfortable, they provide good support as an advantage and benefit from the most pleasant automatic ventilation with the summer temperatures this May.

A large space is hidden under the armrest, with the added advantage of a possible double opening system for both the driver and the passenger. At the rear, passengers are equally pampered with the added benefit of heated seats. The central location is narrower and has to face the imposing transmission tunnel. To be booked as an extra.

Registration autonomy

For its first plug-in hybrid, Lexus did not skimp on the battery with a capacity of 18 kWh. One of the most generous in the category with the 5th generation Toyota RAV4 with which it shares the new TNGA GA-K modular platform. This translates into a very comfortable range of about 80 km in mixed use.

Therefore, this result is certainly only possible with a light right foot, but it is still an undeniable advantage to drive electrically without suffering the limitation of long distances. A procedure for this Lexus NX450h + that can boast a total range of about 900 km thanks to its 55l tank. On this subject, it is difficult to give an average consumption as it depends on the propensity to recharge the battery or not. Empty, it is still reasonable for an SUV over two tons with 6.5 l / 100 measured during our test in this situation.

But consumption can also increase if you decide to take the NX450h + to the limit. With its atmospheric 2.5-liter Atkinson cycle engine and its two electric motors (182 hp at the front, 54 hp at the rear), the Lexus plug-in hybrid SUV develops a total power of 309 hp. Enough to reduce from 0 to 100 in just over 6 seconds. However, the CVT box and 4-cylinder vocalizations do not push for this use. No, the Lexus NX450h + is more designed to navigate while enjoying the silence and comfort on board.

Our opinion on the Lexus NX450h + F Sport Executive

With its new NX450h +, Lexus adheres to the trend of the moment, that is, the rechargeable hybrid. Essential to escape the ecological penalty without being as restrictive as a 100% electric vehicle freeing yourself from the anguish of recharging when the desire to flee materializes.

In short, the best of both worlds in this current transition period? Undoubtedly, especially because this NX450h + has a range capable of flirting with 90 km in electric mode in urban use. You can also count on a generous skill and convenience of your daily CVT transmission.

Its appearance will not be unanimous, but it is also an asset to stand out from the German productions (BMW X3, Audi Q5, Volvo XC60, VW Tiguan, etc.) considered by some too tasteless. Its Sport Executive finish reinforces this feeling, but you just have to pick up the pace to understand that despite its 309 hp, sportiness is not its primary vocation.

The Lexus NX450h + sells for € 66,490 in a luxury finish, € 76,990 for the F Sport Executive. The NX350h, non-rechargeable hybrid (FHEV) is available from € 53,490.

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