Engine: 2.5-Liter Inline 4-cylinder w/Electric Motor
Transmission: Electric Continuously Variable Transmission (CVT)
Torque: 197 lb. ft.
EPA Ratings: 33/City 30/Highway 31/Combined
Base Price: $39,070
As Tested: $50,343
Overview: If a Lexus RX or GX is too big for your needs, the 2020 NX300h may be just the ticket. It’s slightly larger than Lexus’ UX, and is the brand’s second-smallest crossover SUV — one featuring angular styling and outgoing performance. We’ve driven both the hybrid and the F-Sport versions of the NX300h, and really liked both.
Walkaround: Styling is sharply defined, with a roofline leading back to a relatively docile rear end. The NX features Lexus’ signature spindle grille on a sharp nose with a long overhang. With headlights mounted high, while slits of running lights sit low, flared wheel wells give it an aggressive look. The F Sport features an even larger grille and bigger wheels that give it a lower stance and ready to rumble swagger.
Interior: The NX cabin is comfortable, somewhat cozy and reserved compared to the exterior. It offers a mix of high-quality materials in palettes of subdued grays, silvers, and black, with wood trim. The F Sport package features dark red and black upholstery.
The optional navigation and infotainment system is run by a 10.3-inch touchscreen, with an overly sensitive trackpad interface.
The comfortable power front seats have a slightly lower position — thanks to the low roofline. The F Sport seats have serious bolstering for support.
Rear-seat room is lean for adults, but the rear seats recline for road-trip comfort.
Cargo space behind the rear seat is 17.7 Cubic feet and 54.6 with the rear seat folded down.
Behind The Wheel: The 300h has a 2.5-liter inline-4 paired with an electric motor for a total of 194 horses. It delivers power to all four wheels through a continuously variable automatic transmission (CVT).
The AWD F Sport boasts a 2.0-Liter powerplant the delivers 235 ponies, firmer suspension, bigger wheels, and an additional driving mode — Sport+- which quickens throttle response and keeps engine revs higher for longer.
The NX delivers quiet comfort with smooth, careful shifts. The trade-off for more powertrain noise in the 300h is the 31 miles per gallon. Below 30 mph the hybrid can be switched into an electric drive mode that keeps the gas engine off until the battery charge is used up.
Whines: We have taken issue with the infotainment trackpad in other Toyota/Lexus products as well as well as Honda/Acura. The high sensitivity level often requires the driver to take his or her eyes off the road for too long just to do simple things like change the audio and/or climate settings In our view, a simple touchscreen would be safer.
Bottom Line: The 2019 Lexus NX300h and F-Sport offer a great choice for compact-SUV buyers — fun to drive Hybrid economy or F Sport performance. It’s an engaging small crossover that you won’t mistake for anything else — no matter which one you choose.