The 2022 Lexus NX450h+ PHEV (plug-in hybrid) sits at the top of the Lexus NX lineup as the best performing and most technology-packed member of the NX family. Based on the fantastic Toyota RAV4 Prime, Lexus elevates the NX450h+ in a way that leaves the competition in the dust.

Video Walkthrough

Lexus NX450h+ Hybrid Overview

The Lexus NX450h+ is a 5-passenger luxury compact SUV plug-in hybrid featuring 302 combined horsepower from the 2.5-liter inline-four cylinder engine and dual electric motor hybrid system. All-wheel drive is standard. The NX450h+ has an 18.1 kWh lithium-ion battery and has an EPA estimated EV range of 37 miles when in EV mode. The EPA estimated combined fuel economy is 84 MPGe.

A 3.3 kW onboard charger is standard on the NX450h+, while our tester was equipped with the optional $800 6.6 kW onboard charger. The optional 6.6 kW charger can charge the battery in about 2.5 hours using a Level 2 charging system.

In North America, the Audi Q5 55 TFSI e and Volvo XC60 Recharge are the Lexus NX450h+ closest competitors, and both fall short in EV range compared to the Lexus. The Audi only manages 23 miles of EV range and the Volvo even less with only an 18-mile EV range.

As with all PHEV vehicles, the NX450h+ automatically switches to gas power once the battery has depleted. On the ICE engine alone, the NX450h+ is down to 181 horsepower but is still no slouch.

Lexus says that with the ICE and EV systems working together, the NX450h+ will do 0-60 in a very respectable 6.0 seconds, though the butt-dyno says those numbers are conservative. While slower than the Volvo XC60 Recharge, the significantly larger range gives the NX450h+ our nod over the Volvo.

Exterior Design

Our Lexus NX450h+ tester wore gorgeous Cadmium Orange paint and is a perfect example of “getting it in the good color.” This second-generation NX design is less angular than the first generation, opting for subtle, bold edges instead of hard angular shapes everywhere. The Lexus signature “Spindle Grille” looks great on the NX.

Our NX tester featured optional $800 triple beam LED headlights with integrated DRLs. These headlights produce fantastic light output and add to the high-tech feel of the NX450h+. The rear taillamp assembly is a full-width LED light bar, adding to the NX’s futuristic styling. The traditional Lexus L logo is replaced with a modern, bold block letter LEXUS logo.

Parts of the lower fascia are finished in a gloss charcoal metallic finish, along with 20″ dark grey metallic wheels. While I’m not usually a fan of black wheel arches on a non-ruggedized SUV, they seem to work well on the NX.

The NX door handles are not traditional pull-style handles but rather fixed grab handles with touch pads on the inside.

Lexus has done a fantastic job with the styling on the NX450h+ and helps it stand out from the competition. Whatever you do, buy the NX in a bright color like this Cadmium Orange one. The design deserves to be shown off.

A Modern Interior

The phrase “modern interior” isn’t often used when speaking about a Lexus, but the 2022 NX450h+ has been given an interior loaded with modern tech and features that almost make up for the sins of the awful Lexus trackpads of years past.

The most prominent feature of the Lexus NX450h+ interior is the huge 14-inch infotainment touchscreen. This touchscreen controls all the media, navigation, and climate functions within the NX450h+. Apple CarPlay (wired and wireless) and Android Auto are standard, as is the new “Hey Lexus” voice assistant. Surprisingly, the voice assistant is well thought out and can change radio stations, climate settings, and even wiper speeds with simple voice commands.

Optional internet connectivity subscriptions can link the NX450h+ to Amazon Music and other connected functions within the navigation system.

The new interface is responsive and intuitive and helps keep clutter on the dash down to a minimum. My biggest gripe is that the piano black finishes around the screen, and the screen itself are fingerprint magnets. The fingerprints are disgustingly visible when the system is off or in the direct sun. Carry a microfiber cleaning cloth with you if fingerprints bother you as much as they bother me.

Below the screen is a wireless charging mat, USB-C port, and USB-A port. Adding to the new technology stack are 360-degree advanced cameras and high-definition rearview cameras when reversing.

The Lexus NX450h+ instrument cluster is a digital display that sits behind a stitched heated leather steering wheel and features a very easy readout of all the expected telemetry. Four different drive modes display different digital gauges depending on the mode selected.

The front and rear seats in the Lexus NX are comfortable and supportive. The rear seat (see video above) is larger than it looks and provides taller occupants with plenty of legroom. Front seats feature a 10-way power adjustment for the driver and an 8-way for the passenger. Both front seats are heated and ventilated.

The cargo room in the NX is rated at 22.7 cubic feet with the rear seats up and 46.9 cubic feet with the rear seats folded down.

Safety Features

The 2022 Lexus NX450h+ includes the Lexus Safety System+ 3.0, which features the following safety technologies:

  • Blind Spot Monitor
  • Risk Avoidance Emergency Steer Assist
  • Left Turn Oncoming Vehicle Detection/Braking
  • Right/Left Turn Oncoming Pedestrian Detection/Braking
  • Oncoming Vehicle Detection added to the Pre-Collision System
  • Dynamic Radar Cruise Control with Curve Speed Management
  • Road Sign Assist
  • Improved Pre-collision System
  • Lane Assistance
  • Intelligent High Beams

Driving Impressions

The Lexus NX450h+ is Lexus’ first PHEV, but not Toyota’s first PHEV. The engine and hybrid powertrain work effortlessly together to provide a wonderfully seamless driving experience. The CVT transmission can sometimes be noticeable, but not in a way that detracts from the driving experience.

The NX450h+ feels balanced and smooth for an SUV of its heft. The variable drive modes can stiffen the suspension when Sport mode is engaged, delivering an even sharper throttle response and more planted experience in corners at the expense of ride comfort.

Final Thoughts

The 2022 Lexus NX450h+ PHEV is a futuristic-looking, technology-packed delight of an SUV. The NX450h+ is so good that it caught me completely by surprise. I was expecting another lukewarm compact SUV, but it is anything but boring. Lexus has done an incredible job bringing the NX up to par with other modern SUVs in its class but, in many ways, has rocketed right past them with a great Hybrid system and a well-thought-out technology stack.

The 2022 Lexus NX450h+ PHEV starts at $55,650 and our tester totaled $61,885 before the $1,075 destination charge. The all-in price of $62,960 is a lot of money, but the NX450h+ also provides a lot of value with its level of performance, luxury, and technology. The Lexus NX450h+ should be at the top of any Luxury Compact SUV shopping list.

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Zerin Dube

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