2022 Lexus NX450h+ review

  • Doors and Seats


    5 doors, 5 seats

  • Engine


    2.5i/134kW Hybrid, 4 cyl.

  • Engine Power


    270kW (comb), 227Nm

  • Fuel


    Petrol (95) 1.3L/100KM

  • Manufacturer



  • Transmission


    1 Spd Auto (CVT)

  • Warranty


    5 Yr, Unltd KMs

  • Ancap Safety




An all-new platform, updated tech, and a fresh plug-in hybrid option – has Lexus’s medium SUV finally found its sweet spot?

  • Boot is bigger than key competitors
  • Streamlined infotainment looks great, works well
  • All the fun of an electric car without the range anxiety

  • Rear visibility could be better
  • Some creative design elements are more form than function
  • Battery charge time is always at least 2.5 hours (from empty to full)

Is the Lexus NX450h PHEV a good car?

The previous-generation Lexus NX had an ‘always the bridesmaid, never the bride’ feel to it. 

There wasn’t anything obviously wrong with it – and yet Lexus’s medium SUV often battled against its European competitors in the sales stakes, landing neck-and-neck with Audi’s Q5, BMW’s X3 and Mercedes-Benz’s GLC despite offering a marginally lower price point.

Recurring complaints were that it lacked the packaging and polish of its rivals, without their impressive infotainment and technology, and with less interior space and functionality. 

Lexus has sought to remedy old issues with the NX by building it on a new platform and making substantial updates both under the skin and inside the cabin. Key changes are a new infotainment system, more cabin space, and a slightly higher price point to match. 

One of the biggest changes is the addition of the car I’m reviewing here: the 2022 Lexus NX450h+, an all-new variant in the NX range that also happens to be the brand’s first-ever plug-in hybrid. 

It’s offered in one specification grade – the flagship F Sport – and represents the most expensive point in the entire NX range, with a starting price of $89,900 before on-road costs.

That’s almost $30,000 more than the entry-level NX variant, and substantially more than Lexus’s existing (non plug-in) hybrid NX variants, which start at closer to $70,000. 

The 450h+ is also, according to Lexus, the most powerful NX to date, with an impressive level of performance from the hybrid system and a sizable 87km of claimed electric range.

For those unfamiliar with plug-in hybrids, the details of the NX450h+’s drivetrain might feel a little headache-inducing, so consider yourself warned.

It’s all-wheel drive courtesy of a hybrid system that combines a 2.5-litre, four-cylinder petrol engine that drives the front wheels via a continuously variable transmission, with two electric motors that drive the front and rear axles, and can run off electric power only courtesy of a 18.1kWh battery pack.

Lexus quotes a combined 227kW power output from the system overall – that breaks down to 136kW/227Nm from the petrol engine, 134kW/270Nm for the front electric motor, and 40kW/121Nm for the rear electric motor. But as with its regular hybrids, Lexus doesn’t provide a combined torque figure for the system overall. 

Traditionally, full hybrids are something Lexus has done well, thanks to the Toyota Group’s ongoing commitment to providing customers with economical, affordable and functional ways to lower emissions, but plug-ins are a new territory altogether and a risky one at that.

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With full hybrids the obvious favourite amongst shoppers – representing 26,982 car sales in the first four months of 2022 – plug-in hybrids are still lagging behind with just 1675 sales in the same period. 

So does the Japanese marque’s first effort have what it takes to sway Lexus loyalists and, eventually, convince the masses?

What is the Lexus NX450h like inside?

For its first-ever NX450h+, Lexus has added some optional equipment elsewhere in the NX range as standard, including a sliding moonroof, digital rear-view mirror, and heated steering wheel.

That last one was a godsend during a week of very chilly Melbourne weather, along with heating (and ventilation) on the power-adjustable front seats.

The seats in our test car were finished in a snappy black-and-white leather and had a race-car look to them, but may feel a little snug at the sides for broader drivers. 

Still, despite a fairly wide centre console, front occupants will find leg, head and shoulder room more than satisfactory.

The centre console features a few sneaky sliding panels that reveal extra spots for house keys, breath mints or whatever else you require in your car. Two cupholders, sizable door bins, and a two-way opening glovebox cap it all off. 

The new NX has benefitted from an overall size increase on the old model, with a marginally longer wheelbase and added width and height contributing to extra cabin room.

In the back seat, outboard passengers score nice wide seats, with head clearance and access to wide armrests on the door and a centre armrest with cupholders.

Middle passengers might find it a tighter squeeze and will fight for foot room. The middle seat is even cosier if you have a child seat in the car. 

My Britax Brava slotted in easily via the NX’s ISOFIX tether points, thanks to the width and depth of the outboard seats, but left a fairly cramped space for the middle occupant. It’s doable – just not comfortable for longer trips. 

Boot size has also increased from 475L in the old NX to 520L in the new one, with all seats in use, with not boot space penalty for opting for the plug-in model. 

Compared with major competitors, that 520L is actually segment-leading. The hybrid BMW X3 offers 450L, the hybrid Mercedes-Benz GLC provides an even smaller 395L, and Volvo’s hybrid XC60 has 483L.

All the charging cables for the hybrid system are stored under the floor, and there’s no spare wheel, which frees up space but means you have to make do with run-flat tyres. 

Still, it means there’s ample room for luggage, prams, supermarket shopping, whatever you need – and a power tailgate adds convenience and can be raised remotely via the key.  

I’d be remiss not to at least mention the quirky ‘e-Latch’ door handles, which forego physical handles in favour of a small button you push to trigger the door’s release. I found it needlessly convoluted, and while I’d probably get used to it, it would drive me nuts if I were regularly switching between two cars. 

2022 Lexus NX450h+
Seats Five
Boot volume 520L seats up / 1411L seats folded
Length 4660mm
Width 1865mm
Height 1670mm
Wheelbase 2690mm

How big is the screen in the Lexus NX?

Previously, the cockpit of an NX was a fairly overwhelming place to be. There were switches and dials aplenty, with unnecessary additions like a handheld mirror, miniature analogue clock, and a touchpad that took immense focus (and patience) to manage on the move.

Mercifully, the interface on the new NX has been streamlined and consists mainly of two large screens – one 14.0-inch touchscreen for the infotainment controls, and an 8.0-inch non-touchscreen for the driver display.

It’s clean, impactful and functional. There’s also plenty of tech to play with, including a wireless phone charger and a digital rear-view camera that uses cameras to circumvent obstacles like headrests and provide an augmented view of what’s behind you.

I’m usually an Apple CarPlay devotee, and while the NX offers that and Android Auto via cable connection, I thought I’d trial the car’s Bluetooth connectivity and in-built satellite navigation instead. My phone seamlessly remained paired during my time in the NX and audio quality was excellent. 

My main issue was with the car’s in-built voice-command system, which is activated with the phrase ‘Hey Lexus’, was slow to process requests and occasionally misunderstood commands or was unable to complete an action. 

Otherwise, the car’s satellite navigation interface was fantastic. The route was easy to follow, with directions also appearing on the head-up display, and it also provided helpful warnings about upcoming gridlocked traffic, or pop-up labels showing petrol prices at nearby service stations.

Lexus Connected Services provide this functionality, as well as providing access weather and parking info, and remote connection to the vehicle to check fuel, lock the car from a distance, or pre-condition the climate control.

A small gripe – when using the sat-nav, the touchscreen climate controls are automatically minimised, which can mean you’re left madly swiping through menu options to turn fan speed down when on the road.

Additionally, steering wheel controls serve dual functions and manage the music, phone and cruise control. I found this set-up finicky and potentially distracting behind the wheel, meaning it may warrant some practice. 

Is the Lexus NX450 a safe car?

The new NX received a five-star rating from independent safety assessor ANCAP. It scored 91 per cent both for the ‘safety assist’ category, thanks to its numerous active safety features, and for the ‘adult occupant protection’ category, offering ‘good’ protection for occupants during a frontal or side impact (it received a 1.2 penalty because the car’s front structure represented a moderate risk to passengers of an oncoming vehicle in a collision).

Meanwhile, ‘child occupant protection’ was rated 89 per cent – losing points for only offering ‘adequate’ neck protection to a child occupant – and ‘vulnerable road user protection’ was rated at 83 per cent, with some structural elements of the car receiving ‘poor’ or ‘marginal’ results in ANCAP’s pedestrian impact testing.

For the new-generation NX, Lexus has made speed-sign recognition, autonomous emergency braking for intersections and reverse autonomous braking, emergency steering assist, a pre-collision system with pedestrian and daytime cyclist detection, and adaptive radar active cruise control with lane-trace assist all standard across the range.

Dual frontal, side and head curtain airbags, as well as a driver knee airbag and a centre airbag, are all standard.

The NX also debuts Lexus’s new safe-exit assist feature, which will warn you if there are vehicles or cyclists coming up from behind the car and even prevent the door from opening – particularly great for children.

The car’s safety systems are zealous, with the front and rear sensors making a particularly big racket when reversing, or alerting you if a pedestrian or cyclist crosses your path while you’re stopped in traffic. 

All that beeping can prove a little much at times, but to borrow an overused adage, I’d rather be safe than sorry.

The panoramic-view monitor – which gives you a bird’s-eye look at your car as you park – is especially fantastic in small streets, and I really missed it upon getting back into my regular ride. 

How much does the Lexus NX450h+ cost in Australia?

The single-spec NX450h+ starts at $89,900 before on-road costs, but Lexus’s website returns a drive-away price, with the eye-catching optional Cobalt mica paint, of $100,043 in Victoria. 

That price point is far from cheap, but is actually lower than several of its key competitors in the premium, plug-in hybrid SUV space. 

For example, Volvo’s plug-in hybrid XC60 starts at $97,990 before on-road costs, while the Mercedes-Benz GLC plug-in hybrid starts at $95,700 before on-roads. BMW’s X3 in plug-in hybrid form is pricier still, starting at $104,900 before on-road costs.

In summary, you’re not driving away in a premium plug-in hybrid SUV for less than $100,000, no matter which way you slice it. 

As such, arguably the NX450h+’s stiffest competition comes from within its own stable, with an all-wheel drive, hybrid NX350h kicking off from $70,400 before on-road costs – and you don’t need to worry about charging it. 

Lexus is throwing in some extra perks, however, with its first plug-in hybrid. Those include installation of a complimentary home wall charger, something that can normally cost around $1500.  

You’ll also receive free membership to Lexus’s Encore Platinum owner program – the highlight of which is access to free Lexus loan cars when travelling interstate. 

The NX450h+ receives a five-year, unlimited-kilometre warranty, plus a 10-year, unlimited-kilometre warranty for its battery.

Capped-price servicing is available for three years at 15,000km intervals, with each service capped at $495 – or $1485 in total. That’s solid value, especially when you consider Mercedes-Benz charges $2850 for three years of servicing on its GLC. 

Lexus quotes 1.3L/100km of fuel consumption for the NX450h+, but that’s assuming you have a full battery and don’t need to use much petrol power. 

For the first half of my week of driving, I stuck mostly to EV Priority mode, which I loved because it felt like I was driving a fully electric car and I barely touched my fuel reserves.

Once I switched to the combination drive modes, real-world fuel consumption sat at 5.6L/100km. That’s pretty impressive for a medium SUV, but remember it requires 95-octane premium unleaded at a minimum. 

Of course, if you can keep your car’s battery fully charged, you’d theoretically be able to use solely electric power for your daily trips and maintain a full tank of fuel for weekend road trips.

Lexus claims 87km of electric-only range (according to the more generous NEDC testing), but fully charged our test car had a real-world figure of 67km.

It took me almost four days to run that range down to zero with some pretty thorough urban driving in electric-only mode, and the car’s trip computer was very accurate in its calculations of how much distance the battery had left. 

To charge your car’s battery, you’ll receive two different charging cables included in your purchase of the NX450h+. 

The first plugs into a regular wall socket, which will charge your battery from empty to full in 7.5 hours, and the second is a Type 2 plug for a public AC charging station, which will take 2.5 hours. 

An at-home wall charger will also fully charge the battery in as little as 2.5 hours.

At a glance 2022 Lexus NX450h+
Warranty Five years/unlimited km
Service intervals 12 months/15,000km
Servicing costs $1485 (3 years)
Energy cons. (claimed) 20.8kWh/100km
Energy cons. (on test) 21.2kWh/100km
Battery size 18.1kWh – 87km electric range (NEDC)

Unfortunately, it’s worth noting that the NX’s on-board charger is only compatible with AC chargers, meaning you can’t use the extra-fast public DC chargers that can fully charge an electric car battery in as little as 20 minutes. 

During my time with the car, I relied mostly on a regular wall socket in our work carpark, which added enough juice to the battery to tide me over until my next charge.

I only used a public AC charger once – it was free, courtesy of the Chargefox network, and took an hour to add 34km of electric range, suggesting a full battery would require at least two hours of charging. 

Fuel Usage Fuel Stats
Fuel cons. (claimed) 1.3L/100km
Fuel cons. (on test) 5.6L/100km
Fuel type 95-octane premium unleaded
Fuel tank size 55L

What is the Lexus NX450h+ like to drive?

For PHEV first-timers, Lexus has made it easy to understand what kind of power you’re using when behind the wheel of the NX450h+, courtesy of four different drive modes.

EV mode uses electric power only, and the petrol engine only kicks in when battery charge is low, or you’re driving at high speeds or in extreme temperatures.

Auto EV/HV mode still prioritises electric power, but is quicker to offer assistance from the petrol engine, like when you really put your foot down. 

HV mode operates the car like a full hybrid, keeping the battery level steady and using electric and petrol power in tandem.

Finally, battery charging mode means the petrol engine runs consistently, but uses idle power to recharge the battery – great for when you’re doing freeway driving, and want to accrue EV range for later use.

The EV mode is where the plug-in hybrid really offers added benefit over a full hybrid, allowing you to run the car as a fully-electric vehicle until it runs out of battery.  

Closed-loop or ‘regular’ hybrids, meanwhile, only offer this up to a particular speed (usually around 40km/h), and for very short distances – enough to get you out of your street or an underground carpark. 

I really, really enjoyed driving this car in electric-only mode. It was quick and silent, with lightning-fast acceleration from a standstill and that addictive instant torque contributing to a warp-speed sensation.

The shift between petrol and electric power is well-executed, although going from utter silence in electric mode to sudden engine noise can occasionally paint the dull drone of the continuously variable transmission in a less-than-flattering light.

It might sound like the engine is struggling when you put your foot down, but that’s likely because you’ve grown accustomed to speeding up without any sound effects. 

The petrol engine is a little less exciting than its electric counterpart, but it has the right amount of oomph for freeway driving and power is delivered steadily but effectively. 

There are sport modes to sharpen driver dynamics, but I was far too concerned with the different hybrid drive combinations to give them a proper test. 

Steering feel is light and the response is direct and precise, taking minimal input to elicit maximum response and handling sharper corners with ease. 

An 11.6m turning circle meant a few U-turns turned into three-point turns, but it’s still a pretty manoeuvrable car in smaller streets. 

I spent my week with the NX450h+ driving in fairly wet weather and the all-wheel drive system was a capable and confident companion.

Ride comfort over slippery tram tracks and puddle-scattered roads was also very good. The NX absorbed the shock of speed bumps and cruised over undulating road surfaces, but occasionally felt fidgety on sustained harshness or unexpected jagged edges. 

It’s not a totally wafty, marshmallowy ride, but what you do feel in the cabin is minimal and gives the sensation of being engaged with the road, adding to an overall racier and more dynamic experience. NX F Sport models use adaptive variable suspension, so it can adjust to suit conditions.

Also adding to the racy handling is the fact the NX seems to have a lower centre of gravity than your typical SUV, with the battery packaged under the vehicle’s floor. 

On the flipside, it also meant I didn’t feel as though the driving position was as elevated as other SUVs, and this contributed to an overall sensation of diminished visibility in the cabin. 

In particularly, rearward visibility is compromised by the sloping roof and slanted rear windshield, which make the back feel narrow and like there are a few more blind spots to contend with.

Key details 2022 Lexus NX450h+
Engine 2.5-litre four-cylinder petrol

Dual electric motor plug-in hybrid
Power 136kW @ 6000rpm petrol

134kW front electric motor

40kW rear electric motor

227kW combined
Torque 227Nm @ 3200–3700rpm petrol

270Nm front electric motor

121Nm rear electric motor
Drive type All-wheel drive
Transmission Electronic continuously variable automatic (e-CVT)
Power to weight ratio 111kW/t
Weight (kerb) 2050kg
Tow rating 1000kg braked, 750kg unbraked
Turning circle 11.6m

Should I buy a Lexus NX450h+?

The Lexus NX450h+ lands with plenty of on-paper promise, and I’m happy to report it did what it said it would and even delivered some pleasant surprises.

The electric-only range will get you further than you think it will, and makes the car not only economical to run, but also smooth, silent and super quick off the line. 

It’s practical and easy to handle around town, but without compromising on the fun factor. I’d enjoy it just as much doing errands as I would hitting the Great Ocean Road. 

The $90,000 starting price is by no means a bargain, but Lexus has packed the plug-in hybrid NX with plenty of standard equipment, while the addition of a home charger, Lexus Encore membership, and a five-year warranty really sweeten the deal when compared with similarly pricey competitors. 

Whether you’re looking at it as a plug-in hybrid or a luxury medium SUV, it seems the NX has finally hit its stride. 

Ratings Breakdown

2022 Lexus NX NX450h+ F Sport Wagon

8.2/ 10

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2022 Lexus NX450h+ review