Can a Hybrid SUV be Sexy? Lexus Says Yes

Lexus' entry into the ultra-hot hybrid SUV segment, the NX 300h, is as easy on the eyes as it is on the gas budget.

Winding through the mountainous roads surrounding Vail, Colorado, is a thrill in any car, but when you're behind the wheel of the Lexus NX 300h hybrid like I was recently, it's truly a memorable experience.

Before stepping inside, you know you're looking at something special. Completely new for 2015, the NX 300h looks like it's in motion even when standing still. Aggressive angles, a dramatic front fascia, and athletic stance make it stand out from all the other compact SUVs on the road. (And if you've been on any road ever in the last few years, you know that's saying a whole lot.)

Once behind the wheel, it's obvious you're in a Lexus…technology and luxury abound, from the intuitive 7-inch infotainment system and blind-spot monitor to 10-way power leather seats and heated steering wheel. There's way more room than you'd expect from a vehicle this compact—the cargo area can handle four golf bags, plus there are available power-folding rear seats.

As a hybrid, the 31 combined city/highway miles per gallon shouldn't be surprising, but it's still a nice feeling to drive by gas station after gas station.

While comfort and fuel economy are the NX 300h's greatest strengths, there is still plenty of road feel through the twists and turns of Colorado's I-70. The 2.5L Lexus Hybrid with all-wheel drive offers a not-unreasonable 194 horsepower, and the normal, sport, and eco modes ensure you get the precise driving experience you're looking for.

Specs

Efficiency: 33/30/32 mpg (city/highway/combined, AWD)

Engine: 2.5 Liter Hybrid, 4 cylinders  

Horsepower: 194 horsepower

Cargo: 16.8 cu. ft., 53.7 cu. ft. with 2nd row folded

Cost: $39,400 (base) / $51,133 (as tested)


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