After meeting the Lexus NX 300h a few days ago and taking it out a few times, it was time to really flog the car and see what it was really like when no one else was around. You can call this “driving impressions” or “deep dive” section of our multi-part review of the 2015 Lexus hybrid. We’re calling it the third date.
How Was It?
Before I tell you how it was, allow me to put a few things into context. First, I want to say that I really wanted to like the little Lexus NX 300h hybrid. It’s an attractive size, has an attractive shape, and- most of all- it has an attractive nameplate. It’s not what the Lexus doesn’t have, then, that set the tone for what driving it was like. It’s this:
Lexus’ Enform was already my absolute, least-favorite of all the automotive infotainment systems when I was forced to deal with it in the Lexus CT 200h F Sport and RX 450h. This is because there was no quick-and-easy way to “feel” the controls or touch the part of the screen you wanted to activate. Instead, you had to use this stupid, in-dash mouse thing and “boop- boop- boop” your way through the menus. Worst of all, while you were doing all this boop- booping, you were forced to take your eyes off the road.
You would think that Lexus, with this all-new design, would have addressed this obvious safety issue by introducing some kind of haptic feedback in the mouse to alert you of when, for example, you were in the audio menu as opposed to, say, the nav menu. Or, perhaps Lexus would have introduced a different sound for each menu, instead of the same, monotonous “boop”. You would think that, of course, because you are not a horrible designer and/or a sociopath.
The interior designers at Lexus, however, are horrible designers and/or sociopaths. As evidence, I present this stupidity:
That, dear readers, is a trackpad.
Much like the trackpad in your dad’s laptop, the trackpad in the 2015 Lexus NX 300h is bizarrely over-sensitive and overly eager to read a “click”. Worse yet, it requires a very patient and practiced hand to get it to do what you want. Even after a few days of driving the NX, it never seemed to get more intuitive. Worse still, it forced me to take my eyes off the road for even longer periods of time than the old “mouse” version of Lexus’ Enform did.
All of which is the very, very long way of saying: it was bad.
What Do I Expect Now?
My troubles with the Enform system fitted to the Lexus NX 300h I drove last week was so front-and-center that it’s hard to think of anything else when I think of the car. The seats were great, for example. They were comfortable, supportive, and the ventilation system worked really well. My fuel economy was excellent, too, and I never dipped below the claimed EPA figures of 33/30, no matter how aggressively I drove. Still, fruitlessly fingering that Enform system for (what seemed like) ages to get it to do what I wanted is what sticks in my mind, today.
I’ll see the Lexus a few more times and see if I can come to terms with its Enform touch pad before we have our “we need to talk” moment … but that’ll be here sooner than later. Stay tuned!
Original content from Gas 2.