LSA Reviews: The Lexus NX 350h - Ergonomic genius and nifty hybrid

2022-03-26 06:29:09 By : Ms. Tina Zhao

We got behind the wheel of the brand new Lexus NX 350h – Sporty-yet-luxe, tech-packed, and a self-charging hybrid crossover starting at Rs 65 lakhs (Ex-Showroom)

Being the second NX in the game, Lexus has a pretty clear vision of what they’d like to establish – Their “human-centered” approach towards building luxury cars, tech being their next weapon of choice and placing a strong hybrid chip on the table. By the looks of it, they’ve managed to pull it off in sheer Japanese style. It’s a family crossover that’s highly sensibly designed powered by a hybrid setup, but most importantly, it’s fun. It doesn’t seem like those stiff German SUVs. It’s a playful mix of all the right things. Last week, we went down to the Hilton Shillim Estate Retreat & Spa to experience the new Lexus NX 350h. Here’s what we think.

Let’s begin with design – It embraces the old NX silhouette, simply bettering what’s already brilliant. Although, it does look slightly sharper. We see this in a subtle play of details all through the car’s exterior. This is most prominent on the F Sport variant, which is its top-of-the-line model. The DRLs are with the lights along with four projectors, adding up to a much more compact yet sleeker look. The signature Lexus Spindle grille is now, better than ever. Also, being the sportier variant we see tons of minor trims, most notably, the slim metallic lining at the base of the front bumper. Overall, the NX 350h is quite handsome-lookin’ and boasts a visual command of its own. It’s sporty yet classy, which seems to be exactly what it’s going for. Also, it’s grounded by solid 20-inch wheels.

Impressed already? Wait until you see what’s inside the cabin. The NX 350h is definitely a pure driver’s car but it’s also a technogeek’s heaven. It’s almost as if Lexus booby-trapped the interior with cool tech features. No matter where you look and reach your arm out to, there’s an ergonomically thought of, and well-designed feat waiting for you. I think it was this aspect of the NX 350h that won me over. The attention to detail and how sensibly every control, knob, or button has been designed and placed, all to enhance the driving experience.

I’d have to write a separate article about the tech-packed interior but I’ll highlight the features that impressed me. First things first, the massive 14-inch touchscreen display. This is your one-stop destination for all things entertainment, cabin control, navigation, and driving settings. Also, very bravely, it’s entirely touch-operated, almost as if they’ve fitted an iPad mini onto the dashboard. Next up, is the E-Lock system. The door handles won’t mechanically pull open and close anymore, they’re electronically controlled by a tiny button on the handle. This nifty trick is inspired by the movements of opening and closing Japanese traditional sliding doors. Also, the 17-speaker Mark Levinson audio setup which comes with the F-Sport and Luxury variants. Finally, there’s one tiny feat I liked – the insides of the door handle boast a static-absorbing mat, just in case of any unseen shocks.

Lexus’s have a highly “human-centered” approach with their cars, and it’s something they’ve always taken pride in. This is more apparent than ever with the ‘TAZUNA’ concept we see in the new NX. It believes in “Eyes on the Road, Hands on the Wheel, intuitive interface”. This seeks for a deeper sync between driver and car, with various cockpit elements designed with this in mind. The heads-up display and the steering wheel come with an additional mission – eliminating the buffer period where our eyes adjust to the brightness of the roads and the darker electronic dashboard. While speed is already a part of the heads-up display, it’s also now a mini-screen for certain driving settings, all controlled by the high-sensitivity buttons on the steering wheel. You can simply glide your fingers over these buttons and watch them in real-time on the heads-up display.

To further assist drivers, the Lexus NX 350h boasts Pre-collision System (PCS) for vehicle detection with alarm, Dynamic Radar Cruise Control -All Speed, Lane Departure Alert & Lane Tracing Assist, Auto High Beam & Adaptive High beam System in Headlamps. Additionally, Blind Spot Monitor, Rear Cross Traffic Alert (RCTA) & Rear Camera Detection (RCD), and many more features. It’s safe to say, this car is loaded with tech, sensibility, and hybrid brilliance. 

Oh yes, it’s a hybrid. And not just any hybrid, a self-charging one. I think this is a great feat considering India’s transition to EV is still quite slow, in terms of charging infrastructure as well as simply getting accustomed to driving electric. Self-charging hybrids certainly leave you with one less thing to worry about – regular plug-in charges. The car constantly, and impressively switches between its 2.5-L V4 engine and its 259-volt battery pack, also with bare minimum engine noise overall. More so, it’s an AWD. While the drive is smooth and Lexus has substantially improved the handling and command, I was still looking for a punch of power, especially from the electric motor. The combined output is 240-horsepower which is definitely good but could stretch further in my opinion. However, Lexus has compensated for this with mileage and efficiency, thanks to the electric motor.

The Lexus NX 350h is definitely a driver’s car. It’s the kind of car you can drive to work in, zoom off on weekends, as well as travel long-range in. In typical Japanese fashion, it’s built with sensibility, efficiency, and packed to the brim with tech. At a time when the crossover, hybrid segment as well as factors like cabin tech, are constantly evolving, the NX 350h hits three birds with one stone. Sure, it costs a bit more than its competitors, but it certainly builds a convincing case for itself. Tech is a major theme here. Whether it’s driving tech, entertainment, or cabin control, I think it’s this factor that impresses me most. So if you’re looking for an intelligent driving experience and a well-designed cabin, this is it.

The Lexus NX 350h is available in 3 variants: Exquisite, Luxury, and F-Sport. Ex-Showroom prices all-India –

NX 350h Exquisite- Rs. 64,90,000/-

NX 350h Luxury- Rs. 69,50,000/-

NX 350h F-Sport- Rs. 71,60,000/-

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