2021 Lexus NX300h Review

There is no other vehicle that inspires owner confidence and maintains resale value like a Lexus. While Lexus often leaves their products on the market longer than its competitors, many of the older models still sell incredibly well. Such is the case for the Lexus NX. 

The NX was first introduced as a 2015 model. It is slotted between Lexus’s mid-size RX and the sub-compact UX crossovers. Despite its age, the NX continues to perform well in the market. In Canada, Lexus sold 6954 units of the NX in 2020. That is only 11% down from the peak in 2018.

Thanks to Lexus Canada, I was loaned the 2021 NX300h for one week to find out why the NX remains such a popular choice among consumers. The NX300h is the hybrid version of the model. It gives us a perfect opportunity to compare the car to another hybrid in the family, the 2021 Toyota Venza. Below is my unbiased review.


The exterior of the NX ages incredibly well. 7 years into the design cycle, the NX still looks sharp and modern even compared to some of its newer competitors. I think it is one of the main reasons why the NX still attracts many buyers. Our tester comes with the F Sport Blackline Edition package that includes a sport grille, F Sport LED fog lamps, unique 18” alloy wheels, and auto leveling headlamps. 

The front facia is my favorite angle of the NX. It looks bold and high-tech with the swoosh style LED daytime running lights and gem-inspired LED headlamps. The large signature Lexus spindle grille matches the grille patterns of the side air intakes for an aggressive yet cohesive design. 

The Crecian Water color of our tester showcases the chiseled door panels and the beefy wheel arches of the NX. The complicated geometry of the 18” alloy wheels matches perfectly with the intricate grille patterns and brings more characters to the side profile. Interestingly the hybrid version has 0.4” more ground clearance compared to the standard AWD version. But overall, the NX has a low and confident stance.

The rear profile of the NX looks sporty with the roof mounted spoiler, slim wraparound tail lights, and a thick plastic bumper that is styled like an air diffuser. The F Sport Blackline Edition package also equipped our tester with a power liftgate and aluminum roof rails. 


While the exterior of the NX still looks fresh, the interior does start to show its age. Don’t get me wrong, the cabin of the NX300h is a very comfortable place to be. The interior is well put together and generously appointed. The dashboard is covered with soft leathers that feature blue highlight stitching. The center console is surrounded by extra beefy aluminum trims for a futuristic vibe. The 8-way adjustable front seats are both heated and vented, and they are very comfortable to be in. The stadium style rear seats do not provide as much lumbar and lateral support as the front seats, but they offer ample legroom and reasonable headroom for the rear passengers. Other convenience features include heated steering wheel, reclinable rear seats, and power moonroof. 

On the other hand, the analog clock in the middle of the center console seems very 90s. The buttons for the climate controls, while neatly organized and easy to reach, don’t feel as solid and premium as some of its competitors. Behind the palm reset of the touchpad, there is a leather piece that can be removed to reveal a mirror underneath. While I am sure some drivers will appreciate the feature, it is just too gimmicky for my liking. 

Even though the interior of the NX is not the freshest on the market, it still feels posh and elegant for the most part: befitting of a premium vehicle. 


The NX300h comes with a standard 8” infotainment screen sitting atop the center console. Our tester comes with the upgraded 10.25” display. The bezels are on the larger side, but the display itself is sharp and bright.  The display is not a touchscreen like most SUVs nowadays. Instead, you have to use the touchpad in the central stack to interact with the display. The touchpad is not my favorite. It is not particularly responsive, and requires quite a bit of force to press. On the road, I prefer to use the controller on the steering wheel to access basic functions. 

On the plus side, Android Auto and Apple CarPlay are standard, and the 10-speaker premium audio system sounds fantastic. There are also plenty of USB charging ports for both the front and rear passengers. 

The instrument cluster consists of two analog dials and a 4.2” multi-information display in the middle. The digital display is on the smaller side in 2021, but it is nonetheless very functional. It displays instant vehicle information such as trip information, driver assist settings, and even a G-force graph. 

Safety and Driver Assistance

The NX300h comes with plenty of standard driver-assist and active safety features. They include:

  • Adaptive cruise control
  • Lane-keep assist
  • Forward collision warning with automatic emergency braking
  • Road sign recognition
  • Automatic high-beams

Previously optional blind-spot monitoring and rear cross-traffic alert with automatic braking become standard equipment for 2021.

As a Lexus, the NX earns high safety ratings from the testing agencies. It receives a five-star overall safety rating from NHTSA, and a Top Safety Pick + designation from IIHS


If you are looking for a spirited ride, the NX300h is not the one for you. While most recent premium SUVs are trying really hard to give you that car-like driving dynamics, the NX300h on the other hand focuses on what it does the best: comfort and fuel economy. 

Under the hood is a 2.5L four-cylinder engine working in unison with a trio of electric motors: two at the front, and one in the rear. The rear motor provides the power to the rear wheels for the All-Wheel-Drive system. The 1.6kwh battery pack is located under the back seat, and a continuously variable transmission (CVT) is used to deliver power to the front wheels. The gasoline engine and the electric motors provide a combined power of 194hp. That is enough to propel the car from 0-100km/hr in roughly 9.8 seconds. No, that is not particularly fast, but I also don’t find the NX struggling too much overtaking on the highway. One thing that surprises me is how much the engine noise permeates into the cabin when the accelerator pedal is pushed hard. The noise isn’t a pleasant one due to the constant RPM of the CVT. 

In terms of steering and handling, the NX300h can only be described as relaxing. The steering is light and doesn’t provide a whole lot of feedback. There is also quite a bit of body roll in corners, even with the F Sport suspensions. 

On the other hand, road disturbances rarely transmit into the cabin and the fuel economy is excellent. The NX300h is rated at 7.2L/100km City, 7.9L/100km Highway, and 7.5L/100km combined. I pushed the car pretty hard during my one week test drive, and obtained a fuel economy figure of 8.8L/100km. 

Cargo Space & Storage

There is 476L of cargo in the trunk of the NX300h. Under the trunk floor is a full spare tire and tools necessary to facilitate a tire change. With the second row seats folded, the cargo space is increased to 1520L. Those figures are on the smaller side in the segment, but still very usable. 

In cabin storage options are excellent. The front glove compartment and the center console storage bin under the arm rest are both on the larger side. There is a small storage compartment under the touchpad palm rest. The front door pockets are on the larger side, but the rear door pockets can only accommodate a single water bottle. The rear passenger also enjoys additional cup holders in the center folding armrest, and storage pouches behind the front seat backs. 


The NX300h is a great looking vehicle 7 years into the production cycle. But our recently reviewed 2021 Toyota Venza is a handsome looking vehicle in its own right. On top of that, the Venza has more power, better fuel economy, more storage, and is much more fun to drive. The interior of the Venza is also more modern looking with a large entertainment screen and a massive panoramic sunroof. 

What the NX300h does possess is the premium name badge. It also has a very reasonable base MSRP. Given that this is the last year of the current generation of car, if you can find one at a discount, the NX300h is still a very comfortable premium SUV that is safe, reliable, and will retain its value for a long time.

Test Vehicle

2021 Lexus NX300h with F Sport Blackline Edition Package


$46,850 CAD MSRP

$60,325 CAD as tested


Crecian Water


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