Seven years after unveiling the first-ever NX and selling about a million units globally, Lexus introduced the second-gen NX for the 2022 model year. Aptly named after its compact size and aspirations, the ‘NX’ in the name stands for Nimble Crossover.
The company has carried forward the redesign to the 2023 model year without changes. Compared to the first-gen, though, the 2023 Lexus NX packs a host of improvements, with the Lexus NX 450h+ plug-in hybrid variant being the most important addition. Here are ten things you need to know about the 2023 Lexus NX PHEV, the first plug-in hybrid electric Lexus model worldwide:
Features Toyota’s Dynamic Force Engine
The powertrain of the 2023 Lexus NX plug-in hybrid clubs the A25A-FXS 2.5-liter engine with two electric motors. One motor powers the front wheels, and the other unit powers the rear wheels. The engine is the same ‘Dynamic Force Engine’ naturally aspirated that Toyota employs in the RAV4 Prime (RAV4 Plug-in Hybrid).
The second-gen Lexus NX sits on the same platform as the fifth-gen Toyota RAV4 – GA-K – and both models belong to the same segment. The plug-in hybrid powertrain of the Lexus produces 304 hp of total system power, 2 hp more than the Toyota’s powertrain.
Offers 4 drive modes
The 2023 Lexus NX 450h+ allows the driver to choose from four drive modes: EV mode, AUTO EV/HEV mode, HEV mode, and Self-charge mode.
The vehicle runs on the electricity stored in its traction battery in the EV mode, thus emitting no CO2 from the tailpipe. In the AUTO EV/HV mode, the vehicle automatically selects the drive mode, either pure electric or hybrid, depending on the amount of charge remaining in the traction battery, route, traction information, and other data. The powertrain uses both gasoline and electricity in the HV mode to allow maximum performance. In the Self-charge mode, the traction battery charges itself up using the engine’s power.
Drivable 37 miles in EV mode
Being a technical cousin of the RAV4 PHEV, the NX PHEV also has an 18.1 kWh lithium-ion battery pack. However, while the Toyota model can travel up to 42 miles (EPA-est.) in EV mode on a full charge, the Lexus model’s EV range (EPA-est.) is 37 miles. The combined fuel economy (EPA-est.) is 84 MPGe, about 11% lower than the RAV4 Prime’s (94 MPGe).
Another commonality between these plug-in hybrid SUVs is the capacity of the onboard chargers. Like Toyota’s RAV4 PHEV, Lexus’ NX 450h+ comes with a 3.3 kW onboard charger as standard. Similarly, there is an option to upgrade to a 6.6 kW onboard charger. Fully charging the battery pack takes approximately 4.5 hours with the 3.3 kW charger or about 2.5 hours with the 6.6 kW charger.
As fast as the Toyota RAV4 PHEV (EV mode)
The 2023 Lexus NX plug-in hybrid allows driving at a max speed of 135 km/h (84 mph) solely on electric power. That’s the same EV mode top speed as the RAV4 PHEV, one of the popular plug-in hybrid models in the mass market segment. Toyota’s plug-in hybrid SUV can accelerate from 0-60 mph in 5.7 seconds, while Lexus’ plug-in hybrid SUV can accomplish the same in 6 seconds. The 2023 NX 450h+’s track top speed is 124 mph.
Uncompromising boot space
The plug-in hybrid variant’s significantly bigger battery doesn’t compromise its practicality. The cargo space and the fuel tank capacity are the same as those of the gasoline variant. The cargo space is 22.7 cu. ft., and it’s possible to expand that to 46.9 cu. ft. by folding down the rear seats. The fuel tank capacity is also the same – 14.53 gal.
Highly digital interior
The 2023 NX has a highly digital interior with many new/improved technologies over the first-gen model. Lexus is offering a 7-inch HD MID and a 10-inch head-up display, although a larger, 12.3-inch HD customizable display similar to the German rivals would have been nicer. Even the (Euro-spec) Toyota Corolla Cross comes with a 12.3-inch fully digital instrument cluster. The steering wheel has new ‘Touch tracer’ switches with a touch-based operation.
In the center stack, there’s an all-new Lexus Interface multimedia system. Developed in the U.S., it integrates a 9.8-inch touchscreen or a significantly larger, 14-inch touchscreen. Lexus Interface features cloud navigation, a new Voice Assistant, dual microphones, enhanced noise-cancellation, wireless Apple CarPlay, and wireless Android Auto. Nature-inspired Thematic Ambient Illumination with 14 mood lighting theme options, a wireless smartphone charger, and Digital Key make the 2023 NX more appealing than the first-gen model.
New Lexus Safety System+
Lexus Safety System+ 3.0 is standard on every new NX model, including the plug-in hybrid. In addition to the current safety features for NX, including Road Sign Assist, Pre-Collision System, Lane Departure Alert with Steering Assist, Intelligent High Beam, and Dynamic Radar Cruise Control, the new version of the Lexus Safety System includes four advanced safety features.
Risk Avoidance Emergency Steer Assist applies brakes gently and steers the vehicle when needed to keep the car within the lane and avoid a collision. Left Turn Oncoming Vehicle Detection/Braking warns the driver and engages the brakes if the driver is about to make a left turn in front of an oncoming vehicle. Right/Left Turn Oncoming Pedestrian Detection/Braking warns the driver and applies the brakes if the driver turns left or right in front of an oncoming pedestrian or cyclist. Dynamic Radar Cruise Control with Curve Speed Management manages the vehicle’s speed even in curves when the driver has enabled cruise control.
Lexus has confirmed the following standard features for the U.S.-spec 2023 NX 450h+ F Sport Handling:
- F Sport front fascia and mesh grille insert
- 20-inch split-five-spoke alloy wheels with Gloss Black finish
- F Sport front fender badges
- F Sport Gloss Black ORVMs, window trim surround, and roof rails
- F Sport rear bumper with rear valance
- Color-matched (body-colored) wheel fender arches
- Dark Graphite Aluminium trim
- Aluminum pedals
- F Sport front seats with enhanced bolsters
- F Sport perforated leather-trimmed shift knob and steering wheel
- Race-inspired paddle shifters
- G-meter and energy monitor displays
- 10-inch head-up display
- Adaptive variable suspension
- Performance dampers (front and rear)
- Bi-LED headlamps with Adaptive Front Lighting System and daytime running lights
- 14-inch touchscreen infotainment system
- Drive Connect trial with Cloud Navigation, incl. Google POI data; Intelligent Assistant, incl. Hey Lexus; and Destination Assist
- Ambient lighting
- Front-seat ventilation
- Lexus Memory System for driver’s seat, steering wheel, and ORVMs
- Power tilt-and-slide moonroof
- Power rear door with kick sensor
- Rain-sensing windshield wipers
- Intuitive Parking Assist with Automatic Braking
IIHS Top Safety Pick+ rating
Like the Tesla Model Y, the second-gen Lexus NX is an IIHS Top Safety Pick+ model, receiving a ‘Good (G)’ rating in all the parameters of crashworthiness. IIHS found the headlights of the Japanese SUV offer Good (G) safety across variants, whereas the Tesla offers the same level of safety in the Performance variant only.
Another aspect where the NX outperforms the Model Y is the design of child seat anchors. The latter’s lower anchors are deep in the seat, but the former’s lower anchors aren’t. The NX received the highest, ‘Good+ (G+)’ rating for child seat anchors, while the Model Y was awarded the Average (A) rating for the same.
The 2023 Lexus NX 450h+ costs USD 57,705 in the base trim and USD 58,955 in the F Sport Handling trim. Both prices include a USD 1,150 DPH fee.
Early units of the 2022 model were only coming from Japan, where production takes place at the Tahara Plant and the Kyushu Miyata Plant. In April 2022, the Toyota Motor Manufacturing Canada factory in Cambridge, Ontario, also started making the second-gen NX. However, Japan continues to be the exclusive manufacturer of the plug-in hybrid variant.
2023 Lexus NX 450h+ exterior colors
- Eminent White Pearl
- Atomic Silver
- Cloudburst Gray
- Cadmium Orange
- Nori Green Pearl
- Grecian Water
- Ultra White (F Sport Handling exclusive)
- Obsidian (F Sport Handling exclusive)
- Ultrasonic Blue Mica 2.0 (F Sport Handling exclusive)
2023 Lexus NX 450h+ interior colors & trims
- Black leather and Black Open-Pore Wood trim
- Black/Rich Cream leather and Black Open-Pore Wood trim
- Palomino leather and Black Open-Pore Wood trim
- Rioja Red leather and Black Open-Pore Wood trim
- Circuit Red NuLuxe and Dark Graphite Aluminum trim (F Sport Handling exclusive)
- Black NuLuxe and Dark Graphite Aluminum trim (F Sport Handling exclusive)
2023 Lexus NX FAQs
What is the 2023 Lexus NX release date?
The 2023 Lexus NX is now on sale in the U.S. in gasoline and hybrid versions.
Which models are considered the 2023 Lexus NX rivals?
Audi Q5, BMW X3, Cadillac XT4 & Mercedes GLC are credible Lexus NX competitors.
What is the 2023 Lexus NX plug-in hybrid price?
The 2023 NX plug-in hybrid’s prices start at USD costs USD 57,705.
Featured Image Source: Lexus