New Lexus NX vs Audi Q5: costs

We know Lexus’s new NX is a big improvement on its predecessor, but can it beat one of the best plug-in hybrid SUVs around: the Audi Q5 50 TFSIe?...

Audi Q5 50 TFSIe 2022 side

Buying and owning

Costs, equipment, reliability, safety and security

It’s company car drivers who enjoy the biggest tax perks by running a plug-in hybrid. However, not all plug-ins are taxed at the same rate; the amount of your salary you’ll need to sacrifice depends on a number of things, including the price of the car, its CO2 output and its official electric range.

It’s the latter that’s the biggest differentiator here, because plug-in hybrids that can do 40 miles or more on battery power are charged benefit-in-kind tax at a rate of just 7%. The Audi Q5’s shorter range places it in the 11% bracket, and that means a bill of £207 a month, compared with £132 for the NX. These figures will rise in April, but the £74-a-month difference will remain, and that means the Lexus NX will be the cheaper company car by more than £2300 over three years, assuming you’re a 40% taxpayer.

Audi Q5 50 TFSIe 2022 side

It’s the cheaper long-term option for cash buyers, too. Yes, it’ll cost you slightly more to buy in the first place, but that’s more than offset by the NX’s slower predicted depreciation and cheaper servicing bills. It’s also the more frugal car when running on an empty battery, averaging 36.7mpg in our test, compared with the Q5’s 30.6mpg. 

In fact, it’s only those signing up to a PCP finance agreement who will pay less for the Q5, and that’s because, at the time of writing, Audi is offering a £1500 contribution towards your deposit, whereas Lexus is offering diddly squat. So, put down a £6000 deposit and you’ll pay £727 a month for the NX over the next four years, compared with £650 for the Q5. Both deals assume a limit of 10,000 miles per year.

You get a much more generous standard kit list with the NX. It has bigger wheels (20in vs 19in) and full-leather (rather than part-leather) seats, for starters, along with adaptive cruise control, blindspot monitoring, traffic sign recognition and the electrically adjustable front seats we mentioned earlier. Both cars have seat heating in the front, but the NX gets it in the rear, too, plus it has a heated steering wheel and ventilated front seats to stop you getting a sweaty back in summer.

New Lexus NX 450h vs Audi Q5 50 TFSIe costs

If you have a proper wallbox installed at home, a full battery charge in either car will take around two and a half hours. You can plug in to a regular three-pin domestic socket instead, although you’ll need up to nine hours for a full charge. Alternatively, you can opt to charge the battery in either car while driving along using the petrol engine, although this isn’t a very efficient way of doing so; fuel economy takes a real dive.

Lexus has a brilliant reputation for reliability and finished top of our annual What Car? Reliability survey in 2021. The new NX wasn’t included (it wasn’t even on sale), but it’s a safe bet that it’ll prove more dependable than the Q5, which scored average marks for reliability in the large SUV class.

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