Review: Lexus NX 300h Design Full of Surprises

When you judge a book by its cover and then choose to read it to verify your initial thoughts, you’ll often find that everything isn’t always as it appears. The 2015 NX 300h will do that for you.

When the nebula gray pearl colored 2.5 liter hybrid arrived for my test drive, I was struck by the deep sculpted design and the airplane-like nose with the spindle grille and L-themed headlights. It looked aggressive, so I wanted to be too. I prepared my mind for a race car experience. I was pleasantly surprised with a calm, cool and collected test drive. Thanks to a transmission with a kick-down function, this unique luxury compact crossover offers a solid, but not overly-aggressive performance.

It also boasts practical interior features that you didn’t know you needed until presented in a Lexus kind of way. Lexus reports that the hybrid battery was split into two separate pods for better weight distribution and more efficient cabin space. Based on the aggressively designed exterior, I wasn’t looking for space. As it turns out, the designers created a specific space for almost everything from sunglasses to water bottles. They wasted no opportunity to make everything functional.

When fiddling around in the console area admiring the Qi wireless charging tray (for those with compatible smartphones or other devices), I picked up a small rectangular piece that was not secured to anything. I thought perhaps it wasn’t sealed properly, but when I turned it over, I saw my face. It was a removable compact mirror. What a clever surprise.

This elegant tone extends to the storage area located in four compartments beneath the cargo floor. The folding tonneau board eliminates the gaps at each side of the deck trim and leaves a flush surface. The removable board can easily be stored under the floor panel.
Each time I approached or entered this compact crossover I learned something surprisingly new. For example, the door handles – at first unassuming – feature a line that lights up every time I approached the vehicle. Then almost simultaneously, the ground and the interior lit up. Even the 60/40, split/recline rear seats offered a sense of luxury for passengers. Well-designed surprises are always welcome.

MSRP for the 2015 Lexus NX 300h: $41,310; Combined city/highway MPG: 32.