Wednesday, November 30, 2022
Reviews 2022 Lexus NX 350h Review: Premium Middle Ground of Everything You Want...

2022 Lexus NX 350h Review: Premium Middle Ground of Everything You Want in a Small Luxury SUV

Badge obsession is the only thing keeping the new 2022 Lexus NX from being parked is most driveways

  • Pricing starts at $47,400 in Canada and $39,025 in the US.

  • The new NX, like the recently introduced RX, truly has a version for everyone.

  • I’m still blown away by how smart this small premium SUV is.

You may have heard or read this in one of my past reviews but there are many small premium SUVs in my neighborhood. One of the more popular ones is the first-generation Lexus NX but overall, the German offerings far outnumber the Lexus. While I fully understand the emotional attachment we may develop towards brands, if my neighbors ignore logos, they will all end up with an NX to replace their existing whips.

2022 Lexus NX 350h| Photo: Matt St-Pierre

There are well over a dozen Mercedes-Benz GLA and GLC, Audi Q3, BMW X1, and Lexus NX in my immediate surroundings. I mean it when I say that should German vehicle owners head over to their local Lexus dealership and take a new NX for a spin, they will find premium amenities, performance, efficiency, and loads of styling.

Power, efficiency, or both

As far as powertrains are concerned, Lexus offers about as many options for the NX as the three German automakers combined. This approach is brilliant, in my opinion. No matter the selected engine, the NX will be delivered with premium features, comfort, and a cosseting driving experience.

2022 Lexus NX 350h| Photo: Matt St-Pierre

The tested model was a 350h. Yes, the naturally-aspirated 2.5-litre 4 cylinder engine and eCVT are shared with the Toyota Sienna/Highlander hybrid but that’s where the similarities end. Output from the combined ICE and Lexus Hybrid Drive is 240 horsepower. Thanks to the pair of electric motors and despite tipping the scale at 4,000 lbs, the NX 350h is surprisingly spritely.

Wonderfully suave

The powertrain is wonderfully velvety and given the efforts put into sound-deadening by Lexus, its operation is nearly imperceptible. I would normally complain about the CVT but I simply cannot in this case.

2022 Lexus NX 350h| Photo: Matt St-Pierre

Relatedly, I drove the NX 350h in Eco mode almost exclusively during my week-long test. The $2/L of fuel and the hybrid powertrain put me in a place where efficiency had to be prioritized. I did my best, not really, and managed 7.5L/100km in combined driving. Lexus says it should return a combined average of 6.0L/100km. Given my past experiences with Toyota hybrids, I must have enjoyed the power more than I thought.

True luxury

The whole of the driving experience is truly luxurious. The cabin remains quiet (acoustic side glass) on the highway, the chassis smartly dampens and filters out rough patches, and the driving position and seats are absolutely comfortable. Some small SUVs from other brands do not ride as smoothly, are noisier, or simply not as cosseting. And typically, they’re priced higher and with less kit.

2022 Lexus NX 350h| Photo: Matt St-Pierre

The 2022 Lexus 350h is priced from $49,900. The level of standard equipment, beyond the hybrid drive, is empowering. It features a 9.8-inch touchscreen display, wireless Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, remote start, and more. By the way, the 350h is only $2,500 more expensive than the base 350 – it’s a no-brainer.

Welcoming and smart interior

The cabin itself is beautiful. It represents a huge step up from the previous model in ergonomics, and functionality, and relatedly, is no longer plagued by Lexus’ idiotic Track Pad. My tester included the Executive package which explains the presence of the 14-inch touchscreen. Impressively and despite the multiple menus, the operation is simple and straightforward. The presence of fixed-function built into the screen and a few physical buttons means that less time is invested in accessing what’s important.

2022 Lexus NX 350h| Photo: Matt St-Pierre

The seats are superbly comfortable and supportive, and multi-way adjustable. I will say that the legroom, width-wise, is narrow for an average-sized bloke such as myself. Beyond this, four adults will be treated like near-royal within the NX’s confines.

For its size, the NX’s boot’s volume is decent. Fitting two golf bags and a pair of pull-carts will require some fancy finagling, but I think it can be done.

Lexus and styling

2022 Lexus NX 350h| Photo: Matt St-Pierre

Late-model Lexus designs have finally reached a point where styling matches personality. From roughly the mid-2000s to the late 2010s, these aspects were mismatched. The new NX looks sharp and determined, and the once questionable spindle grille is right at home on the small luxury SUV’s bow.

The segment is packed with players other than the Germans. There’s the Cadillac XT4, Genesis GV70, Range Rover Evoque, Land Rover Discovery Sport, Volvo XC40, Jaguar E-Pace, Lincoln Corsair, along with the above-mentioned Benz, BMW, Audi, and let’s not forget the Porsche Macan.

When comparing apples to apples, the 2022 Lexus NX isn’t the least expensive, the most capable off-road, the most powerful, or luxurious, but it strikes an undeniable balance in value, styling, and is the most efficient (in the real world) of the lot.

2022 Lexus NX 350h| Photo: Matt St-Pierre

2022 Lexus NX 350h| Photo: Matt St-Pierre

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Matt St-Pierre
Trained as an Automotive Technician, Matt has two decades of automotive journalism under his belt. He’s done TV, radio, print and this thing called the internet. He’s an avid collector of many 4-wheeled things, all of them under 1,500 kg, holds a recently expired racing license and is a father of two. Life is beautiful. Send Matt an emai


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