Lexus NX 450h+ long-term test: report 1
Earlier this year, we named the Lexus NX 450h+ the best plug-in hybrid on sale, but now we're seeing if it continues to impress when you live with it every day...
The car Lexus NX 450h+ Premium Pack Run by Will Williams, senior photographer
Why it's here To see if this plug-in hybrid can suit someone who covers a lot of miles, while serving as both family transport and a working vehicle
Needs to Combine the practicality and wow factor that you'd expect from a large, prestige SUV, with the low running costs you wouldn't
Mileage 2200 List price £50,950 Target Price £50,950 Price as tested £57,370 Test Economy 61.5mpg Official Economy 256.8mpg Options fitted Premium Plus Pack (£5750), Terrane Khaki metallic paint (£670)
9 May 2022 – Plugging in
While I’m a long way from considering a pure electric car suitable for my 40k yearly mileage, a plug-in hybrid with a decent electric range can make a great alternative to a diesel for high-mileage drivers of My Generation.
I know this having previously run a Suzuki Across PHEV, which combined 65mpg in the real world with more than 300bhp – enough to almost have kept Keith Moon entertained.
If only I could have that technology in something that looked a little more stylish, I remember thinking; blame the vain photographer in me.
There’s a conventional hybrid version of the NX, too, which averages a respectable 47.0mpg. But it’s the potential for more than 60mpg that you get with the plug-in model that really appealed, even if its official figure of 256.8mpg is unrealistic for someone like myself who does lots of long journeys.
Lexus has a long history of producing hybrid cars, of course, but this 450h+ is actually its first plug-in model. Fortunately, it seems to have learned lessons from the failings of some rivals.
One example is that it hasn’t skimped on the fuel tank in order to make room for the batteries; the NX can take 55 litres of petrol, which should give me a range of at least 550 miles between fill-ups. And yet the batteries are big enough for more than 40 miles of pure electric running (officially, at least), which ensures the 450h+ qualifies for the lowly 7% company car tax bracket.
First impressions of the car are really positive. The interior is a lovely place to spend time, featuring high-quality materials and a standard of assembly that’s second to none. And while it might be a Trick of the Light, I’m pretty pleased with the way the Terrane Khaki metallic paint that I chose complements the Hazel upholstery.
As for the infotainment system, this represents a massive step forward from those in other Lexus models I’ve driven. You get wireless Apple CarPlay, for starters, while the touchscreen interface is really responsive, and Lexus has sensibly kept the temperature controls separate.
Another strength of the NX is how relaxing it is to drive. For example, the front side windows are double glazed to really isolate you from the hubbub of the outside world. And that means I can fully appreciate the standard 10-speaker surround sound stereo. Whether my young son Callum enjoys listening to The Who’s Won’t Get Fooled Again at level 11 remains to be seen, but his Dad is certainly satisfied.
Aside from that daftly named paint, the only option box that I ticked was for the Premium Plus Pack, which came in at a whopping £5750. But then it does include 25 items – try adding that many extras to any other car and see how much it lightens your wallet by.
Highlights of the pack include adaptive LED headlights, which should help when I return from late night photo shoots; four-way lumbar adjustment to keep me comfortable on those aforementioned long drives; and seats that are ventilated (in addition to being heated), which will be great if we (fingers crossed) get a decent summer.
When I ran the Across I changed to a green energy tariff and had an excellent Pod Point 7kW charger fitted at home, so maximising the potential of the NX should be as easy as plugging it in when I unload my camera bag at the end of the day.
Only time will ultimately tell, though, whether this car really turns out to be my perfect Magic Bus, or if I end up wishing I’d gone for a Substitute.
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Lexus NX 450h+ long-term test
Earlier this year, we named the Lexus NX 450h+ the best plug-in hybrid on sale, but now we're seeing if it continues to impress when you live with it every day