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...
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 15,276 List price £53,300 Target Price £51,990 Price as tested £57,370 Test economy 67.5mpg, 3.4 miles/kW Official economy 256.8mpg Costs Service (£290) Dealer Price now £38,360 Private Price now £37,842
23 November 2022 – Choppy waters
After six months with a Lexus NX plug-in hybrid, I’m left thinking that my car was one of a kind – but not in a good way. You see, while Lexus garnered first place in our most recent What Car? Reliability Survey, my experience wasn’t exactly plain sailing.
Let’s start with the infotainment. The NX has a new-to-Lexus system that based around a 14in touchscreen. But while this features swish graphics, it also had a habit of crashing, and even an over-the-air update failed to fix the problem. On occasions the system would restart several times during a single journey, while at other times it would be fine for up to a fortnight.
This was a real shame, because Apple CarPlay is included for the first time in an NX, meaning I could play my Spotify playlists and podcasts through the excellent standard 10-speaker stereo – when the infotainment worked.
Other problem included the fuel flap refusing to open and the 12v battery going flat without warning, setting off a chain reaction of other glitches. For example, the bird’s eye view camera failed to check my surroundings when parking and the electronic hand brake – which had always released smoothly before the battery issue – began to drag.
Another annoyance was that when I tried to start the car, the lights would come on, but I’d have to put my foot hard down on the brake pedal before it would let me engage drive, and on a couple of occasions it refused to let me move off for up to five minutes.
As you can imagine, all of this caused me to become good friends with my local dealer, which suspected that everything was linked to the battery and was trying to find a solution when my time with the car came to an end.
So, my time with the NX was a total disaster, right? Actually, far from it, because when the car did work it was an incredibly relaxing way to cover big miles – something I do almost every working day.
The seats are some of the most comfortable I’ve ever sat in, while the supple yet controlled high-speed ride added to the overall calm. This is all the more impressive considering my car’s Premium Plus pack brings larger, 20in wheels with run-flat tyres, usually a guarantee of feeling imperfection in the road surface.
The NX also had such great real-world performance that it turned overtaking tractors and other dawdlers into child’s play. There was no waiting for turbochargers to wake up – as there can be in cars that rely purely on combustion power – just the instant punch of an electric motor.
And yet despite me regularly making full use of all the performance on offer, the NX averaged a seriously impressive 68.5mpg.
If I had my time with the NX again, I’d still choose the hazel leather, which received numerous compliments and was a refreshing contrast with the dull grey interiors often found in large SUVs. However, I’d probably chose a brighter colour for the exterior; maybe the ridiculously titled ’Blazing Carnelian’, which is essentially a copper that really shows off the NX’s sophisticated curves.
My final memories are of a stylish, comfortable, practical, highly efficient and relaxing cruiser that was always a pleasure to see parked on my drive. And while the problems I experienced were frustrating at the time, the dealer was so helpful that it restored my faith in the brand.
For all the latest reviews, advice and new car deals, sign up to the What Car? newsletter here
Read more on our long-term Lexus NX >>
Read about more long-term test cars >>
Best large SUVs 2023
The best large SUVs are practical, luxurious and good to drive, with sensible running costs. Here we count down the top 10 – and reveal the ones that we'd avoid
Mazda CX-60 long-term test
The Mazda CX-60 is the Japanese brand's largest SUV and its first plug-in hybrid. Our consumer editor is finding out if it's a good alternative to a conventionally fuelled off-roader