I spent the last week and all weekend commuting in, cruising in, and otherwise getting to know the new for 2015 Lexus NX 300h. So, in keeping with our new review format, that means it’s time to sit down with the luxury-brand compact SUV and have some “real talk”.
It’s Not You, It’s Me
This is a tough car to wrap my head around. In theory, it’s an entry-level compact SUV that (as tested) was fitted with a number of modern safety features and creature comforts like the
much reviled Lexus Enform infotainment system that works with popular music and podcasting apps and what’s touted as a “Pre-Collision System w/ All-Speed Cruise Control”. The problem is that these features don’t work the way that I- and, I suspect, many other potential Lexus NX 300h buyers- expect them to.
Case in point: Lexus’ Pre-Collision System w/ All-Speed Cruise Control.
On cars like my wife’s Volvo or the Acura MDX and Acura TLX I drove last year, the smart cruise control systems really go above and beyond to keep your car in between the dotted lines and a safe, uniform distance from the car ahead. In both the Volvo and my Acura testers, the system will slow you down to a crawl when traffic gets jammed up, and even help you inch along in the stop-and-go, eventually accelerating itself to highway speed again once traffic clears up. Similar systems are in service at Mercedes-Benz and Audi, as well, and they’ve become so good at their jobs that the term “autonomous car” doesn’t scare me one bit. That’s how these systems are supposed to work.
On the 2015 Lexus NX 300h? I’ll just say that “it doesn’t work like that”, before adding that, on one occasion, I came up on another car’s rear bumper so fast that I felt compelled to slam on the NX’s brakes in as close to a “panic stop” as I’ve ever experienced on an open highway.
It’s bad enough that the Lexus NX 300h’s system seemingly fail to adapt quickly enough to the situation at hand, but what was worse was the fact that the car did not feel very solid under braking. Solid enough, I think, under most conditions- but I wouldn’t want to trust my life to it.
If the only cars I had driven in the past 10-15 years had been Lexuses (Lexii?), and I had absolutely no interest in test driving any other vehicle from a competing brand, I might find the 2015 Lexus NX 300h to be a fine little urban runabout. I suspect that description fits many Lexus buyers, though- my stepdad, included! Unfortunately, I am not one of those people, so I have to judge the NX against something other than the “information vacuum” of its target buyers. As such, I simply can’t imagine willfully parting with $52,013 of my hard-earned dollars for one … especially when I could get a similarly styled SUV with a similarly revered nameplate in the form of an Acura RDX for $10,000 less than this Lexus’ as-tested price.
And all of the Acura’s advanced electro-gizmos work!
Original content from Gas 2.