Launched in 2014, the original Lexus NX was a bestseller, with more than 175,000 sold in Europe and 1,050,000 finding homes globally. Now it is back, with 95% new parts. 

Outside, the NX350h looks identical to the NX450h, so think the same fresh look inside and out, a new platform and updated infotainment. The biggest difference is under the body, as the NX350h is fitted with the updated self-charging hybrid drivetrain. 

It is not easy to tell the new NX from the old, as the latest look is a tweaked version. The key identifiers are the more upright grille and headlights. The other big news with this model, is its Lexus Global Architecture K (GA-K) underpinnings. This means that although it looks basically the same, it is 20mm longer, has a 30mm longer wheelbase, is 20mm wider and 5mm taller.  

While the changes at the side echo the NX450h, the most noticeable design switch is in fact at the rear. This car benefits from the distinctive signature blade rear lighting – which spans the whole width of the car. In addition, the Lexus emblem is no more and instead is replaced by the word ‘LEXUS’ spelt out across the tailgate. 

Inside, the new NX gets a revamped cabin that is designed around the Tazuna driver concept – focusing on direct and intuitive controls inside the car. This means all the driver displays are grouped, so they can be read at a glance. There is new infotainment, with entry-level models getting a 9.8in screen, and top models getting a generous 14in high-definition touchscreen – one of the largest in its class. Highlights include up-to-the-moment route information and the updated infotainment is easy to use. 

The head-up display also has three modes, giving maximum or minimum information. 

There are no interior door pulls, as they are replaced with the e-latch system, with small buttons in the door panel to get out. In practice, they work in a smooth, Tesla-like way and are combined with a clever Safe Exit Assist system, which works with the blind-spot monitor, and will stop the doors being opened into the path of traffic.  

The overall feel is of a car that is less cramped than before, with the same 545-litre boot as the NX450h, which can be extended to 1,436 litres with the rear seats down. 

The plug-in NX450h+ that we’ve previously driven is the fleet highlight of the range with its 7% BIK figure. This NX350h is a self-charging hybrid and, as such, gets a 31% figure. It is powered by the same new four-cylinder 2.5-litre petrol engine at the front and a 40kW rear electric motor with an 18.1kWh lithium-ion battery. Although, the hybrid battery is in a slightly different place on the 450, to make way for the main PHEV battery. The NX350h has  241hp, with CO2 emissions from 136g/km 

On the road, the NX350h drives largely the same as the NX450h. The lower centre of gravity and wider tracks that are part of the new Global Architecture, mean the NX is a tidy handler despite its tall SUV silhouette. The ride is also impressively resolved and refined, even more so on our Premium Pack model, with its smallish 18in wheels – around town it certainly felt less troubled than the NX450h.

The NX350h starts in an eerie silence, defaulting to electric power. There is an EV mode, but there’s only sufficient power really for town work. Out of town, this Lexus seamlessly switches to petrol power. Like the ride, the drive is refined for the most part. The only time it isn’t, is under heavy acceleration or in the Sport mode – where the engine makes itself known with its thrashy tone.

The new Lexus NX350h is not cheap to buy, plus the self-charging hybrid drivetrain doesn’t offer as bigger savings as the 450 PHEV version. However, the new car offers more space, running costs are still low and it’s good to drive.

Lexus NX 350h AWD with Premium pack 

P11D: £39,985

Residual value: 47.93%

Depreciation: £19,166

Fuel: £8,503

Service, maintenance and repair: £2,908

Cost per mile: 50.96p

Fuel consumption: 44.1-47.9 mpg

CO2 (BIK%): 136g/km (31%) 

BIK 20/40% a month: £206/£413

Luggage capacity: 545 litres

Engine size/power: 2,487cc/241hp