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Video review: Lexus NX 450h+

Date: 16 June 2022   |   Author: Richard Bush

Lexus finally gives its NX hybrid the plug-in treatment, but is it worth the hefty price bump?

True, the plug-in NX 450h+ is a little late to the party, especially considering that the Toyota RAV4 plug-in - an almost identical sister brand model - has been occupying the roads for quite a while now. But the NX 450h+ promises to offer something a little more prestige, with an inflated price tag to match. 

Underpinning the NX 450h+ is the same electric powertrain as the Toyota RAV4 plug-in hybrid, consisting of a 2.5-litre naturally aspirated petrol engine, which works alongside a pair of electric motors and an 18.1kWh battery. There's a CVT automatic gearbox facilitating this hybrid system too. All-in, you get 306hp on tap and the ability to drive up to 40 miles on all-electric power.

We found the 40-mile electric range in the 450h+ to be fairly bang-on, with its EV (electric), HV (hybrid) and AUTO modes helping you manage how and when you utilise this range. There's a regen mode too, which helps recoup battery charge via regenerative braking. 

While on paper, Lexus claims that fuel economy of 250-300mpg is achievable, realistically, you're going to be looking at somewhere between 50-70mpg on average, depending on what kind of driving you're going to be doing and how diligently you keep the battery topped-up. Speaking of its small battery will take around 3 hours to charge from flat via a 7kWh home wall box charger.

There isn't much between the NX and NX 450h+ when it comes to average mpg figures and running costs, especially considering that you'll likely spend most of your time behind the wheel of the 450h+ in HV mode. The plug-in does come with huge BIK tax benefits however, with a low 8% tax bracket for 2022/2023 - which may be reason enough to pay its £10,000 caveat.

Like the standard self-charging NX, the hybrid system in the 450h+ works like a charm, seamlessly switching between petrol and electric power. The CVT is nicely matched too. CVT gearboxes can be a bit hit and miss, but alongside a plug-in hybrid system it just seems to work, taking charge effortlessly when the electric power cuts out.

Although the plug-in hybrid gubbings of the 450h+ adds an extra 200kg of weight, this NX still feels surprisingly nimble on the road, with body roll kept well in-check - even when cornering at speed. The steering isn't half bad either, with plenty of feedback and enough sharpness to inspire sporty driving. It's no BMW X3, but it's certainly got more character than the Toyota RAV4. It still manages to hit luxury Lexus expectations however, with a well-insulated cabin, a cushioned suspension and an excellent, elevated SUV driving position. 

The impressiveness of the 450h+ continues to the cabin, with subtle but eye-catching inlays that manage to look sophisticated without being garish. Standard kit is solid across the range, with heated seats, parking sensors, a 9.8in touchscreen and a whole host of clever safety kit included. The flagship Takumi trip we tested benefits from a larger 14in screen, a 360-degree panoramic parking camera, leather seats, a rear-view camera display and a sunroof. 

Lexus has recently gotten rid of its clicky touchpad on the centre console and replaced it with two multi-function steering wheel controls that can help you navigate the instrument cluster and HUD display functions. Once you get used to these, they are incredibly intuitive and practically eliminate the need to take your hands off the steering wheel. If they're not your cup of tea however, thankfully, the touchscreen is sharp, responsive and a breeze to use.

Space in the rear of the 450h+ is ample, with leg and head room all-round being on-point - even for middle passengers, although there is a transmission hump they'll have to navigate. Rear passengers get USB charging points, heated seats and windows that wind all the way down too.

Boot space stands at a competitive 545 litres, with a wide opening, virtually non-existent load lip and a fold-flat parcel shelf that can be easily removed. While you do get a bit of under floor storage, you'll find the charging cables are tucked away there - but you can swap them out to conceal valuables if need be.

Lexus NX450h+ Takumi 

P11D: £59,645

Residual value: 43.51%

Depreciation: £33,691

Fuel: £1,724

Service, maintenance and repair: £3,247

Cost per mile: 64.43p

Fuel consumption: 256.8 mpg

CO2 (BIK %): 25g/km (8%)  

BIK 20/40% a month: £79/£159

Luggage capacity: 545 litres

Engine size/power: 2,487cc/305hp