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Lexus NX300 h Review – First Drive

Price starts from Rs 53.18 lakh for the luxury variant and Rs 55.58 lakh for the sport variant. All prices are ex-showroom.

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What is it?

The new Lexus NX300 h is the fourth car from the company in India. It has found itself slotted below the ES300 h, RX450 h and LX450 d. In terms of package and price, it rivals cars like Jaguar F-Pace, Land Rover Discovery Sport, Audi Q5, BMW X3, and Mercedes GLC. However, akin to the ES300 h and RX450 h, the upcoming crossover’s pièce de résistance is its petrol-electric hybrid powerplant, which not only makes it as economical to run as its Diesel-sipping adversaries, but also far cleaner than the rivals.

Other than keeping the Greenpeace happy, the NX300 h also offers a revolutionary design, a great build quality, and a feature-packed cabin. However, is all of this enough to steal the limelight away from the conventional SUVs and crossovers of this segment? Our new Lexus NX300 h Test Drive review tries to answer the question.

Exteriors

Well, in a nutshell, the new NX300 h has a design theme that is modern, bordering on futuristic. This will definitely lead to polarized opinions on the design. We, for instance, like the radical looks, or at least most parts of it. The India-bound model is the recently revealed facelift, which gets a handful of styling updates whilst preserving the design of the 2015 NX. So, basically, the latest NX gets a slightly different iteration of the large, XL-size spindle grille, a new front bumper and a set of new LED headlamps with sequential LED turn indicators. The side profile gets a set of new alloys, while the rear gets a slightly different bumper and taillamps. First launched in late-2014, the NX looks futuristic in spite of being a three-year-old design. Of course, the recent facelift has spruced up the things a fair bit.

The NX is available in two variants – F-Sport and Luxury. The two get a slight different front grills, bumpers, and alloy wheels. The overall design, however, remains bog similar. From its dramatic spindle grille and L-themed headlights to a body that appears carved from a single chunk of metal, there is no mistaking the NX for anything else on the road. The front-end is characterized by really sleek LED headlamps, which are flanked by sequential LED turn indicators. Another major design highlight is the typical Lexus spindle grille, which, while giving an aggressive look to the front façade, is a tad too large, in our opinion.

The side-profile is all about well-defined creases, taut surfaces and an angular, almost sportscar-like, silhouette. The NX gets stylish dual-tone 18-inch alloy wheels for both the trims. The NX’s C-pillar is angled and wide to optimize internal storage width. Highlights of the rear-end include a sharply raked tailgate and the sleek L-shape taillamps. The surface treatment of the tailgate mimics the design of the spindle grille at the front.

Interiors

At first glance, the dashboard of the NX looks like it belongs to a thoroughbred Japanese sportscar. With no shortage of digital displays, this car’s dashboard really feels very contemporary. The cabin is highly ergonomic and has been designed to ensure that all the controls and the switches are simple to use. The F-Sport gets an all-black interior with faux carbon fibre and aluminium inserts, while the Luxury trim offers a dual-tone Beige-and-black interior with wood trim. Only the Luxury variant offers ventilated seats at both front and rear. The rear seats of this trim also offer an electric recline feature. The F-Sport, on the other hand, offers manual recline adjustment. It also offers heated front seats and steering wheel.

There is ample room for five passengers, but the underthigh support from the rear seat leaves a bit more to be desired. The really tall might not be too happy with the headroom either but there’s adequate elbow room and leg room. The NX300 h scores some brownie points for not having a lump in the middle of the floor at the rear. Bootspace is not much to write home about. The loading lip is also on the higher side. However, the NX comes with 60:40 split-folding rear seats that can extend the luggage-carrying capacity along with a flat floor in merely a few seconds. There are several cubby holes around the cabin. While the front door pockets aren’t too large, the glovebox is pretty big and there’s more storage space under the armrest. The features list includes-

• Front and rear parking sensors
• electric steering adjustment
• Automatic headlamps
• Automatic wipers
• Wireless mobile charging
• 10.3-inch infotainment screen
• Four wheel drive
• Adaptive Cruise Control
• Satellite Navigation
• Panoramic Sunroof
• Lane Keep Assist
• 14-speaker Mark Levinson Audio System
• Eight-way adjustable electric front seats with driver-side memory
• Heads-up display
• 360-degree Camera
• Steering-mounted paddle shifters
• Electric tailgate
• Hands-free boot opening/closing function
• Eight airbags
• ABS
• Vehicle stability control

First Look

Lexus NX300h Hybrid SUV – First Look

Lexus NX300h Hybrid SUV launched in India

Posted by RushLane on Saturday, December 23, 2017

Driving Dynamics

The new Lexus NX300 h is powered by the same engine which is also seen on the Camry Hybrid. The 2.5 liter petrol motor in conjunction with electric motors, delivers 197 hp at 5,700 rpm and 210 Nm of torque at 4,200-4,400 rpm. This power and torque is good enough to give the NX300 h a flying start, but after a point, the car starts feeling under-powered. Much of it is due to the fact that it weighs 1.9 tonnes.

It is best when the car is driven in relaxed manner. Not that it cannot be aggressive when you want, a flick of your finger on the paddle shifter, and the engine roars to life, literally. In the Sport variant, you can hear the throaty sound of the engine roar from the car’s state of the art Mark Levinson music system.

The seats are plush and offer good comfort. The cabin is spacious and airy, thanks to the huge windows and all glass roof. All these points help the Lexus deliver an exceptional to its passengers. Comfort levels are improved thanks to the adaptive variable suspension, which automatically configures the suspension stiffness on the basis of the road condition. The 18 inch alloys with 225 mm section tyres offer good control to the driver, while the steering feedback is also decent. Brakes lacked bite.

Verdict

Lexus says their cars are not just cars, its more of an experience. Which is why they do not call their outlet as showroom, but Guest Experience Centre (GEC). For the first two years, Lexus India does not have a sales target. All they are focusing on right now is getting their brand message across to more and more customers.

With the new NX300h, Lexus has now entered in the competition which has cars from brands like Mercedes, Jaguar, Land Rover, Audi, BMW and Volvo. Their car has nothing more, or nothing less to offer. It comes with the same bells and whistles that other cars in this segment come. So how do they differentiate?

They are not saying that their car is best in every department, but they are saying that their customers will get the best experience. Almost every customer in this price range, will not be looking to get a feature or two more, or a lakh or two less. He or she is looking to get an exceptional experience with complete peace of mind. This is what Lexus is offering with their cars.

On top of all this, Lexus says that their cars don’t cost much in maintenance. We asked what is not much as per them, Lexus says, on average their cars normal servicing would cost about 30% more than what an Innova Cryta’s routine servicing would cost. This comes to about Rs 5,000 for a car which costs more than Rs 60 lakhs on road.

Unlike others, who are pitching their products on price or feature these days, Lexus is looking at pitching their customers an experience which they will find no where else.

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