2018 Lexus NX300h is the new entry-level model for the Japanese brand; offered in two variants using ES300h’s hybrid powertrain
We reported earlier that the latest entrant into the Indian market, Lexus, is considering the NX compact crossover for local debut and now it has been officially launched following a preview last month. In a similar fashion to the ES 300h and other Lexus model, the NX is fully imported from elsewhere. It competes against the likes of Mercedes-Benz GLA, BMW X1, Volvo XC60 and the Audi Q3 and be sold in two variants.
It has become the entry-level model in the Toyota luxury arm’s Indian lineup and is also the smallest offering from the brand in international markets. Lexus introduced a facelift to the NX at the 2017 Shanghai Auto Show in April and we are treated with the same version. The refreshed model did not have much in the way of significant styling tweaks but they made the SUV more attractive.
Also Read: 2018 Lexus NX Facelift with Improved Ride and Handling Revealed
Lexus said the whole front end of 2018 NX was revised but only watchful eyes can spot the differences compared to its predecessor. Main changes include a tweaked spindle front grille and restyled headlamps with tick-shaped LED Daytime Running Lights. The NX 300h and its Sport version, are sold here, features reworked air inlets and flog lamps as well with price of Rs. 53.18 lakh and Rs. 55.58 lakh (both prices, ex-showroom pan India).
At the rear, there is a set of revised taillamps, new underbody spoiler for the 300h, large chrome-tipped exhaust system, chrome L-shaped elements on the bumper sides, newly designed 18-inch wheels as option, etc. The NX crossover was never a dull vehicle in terms of looks and the new version we are going to have here has more road presence.
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The major highlight was the improvements made to the suspension for better ride and handling in the NX 300h we are going to get compared to its international predecessor. It features retuned springs, stabiliser bars and bushings for better response through corners. There is also a brand new shock absorbers for improved ride than the outgoing model.
The Adaptive Variable Suspension is carried forward as the LC 500 and it provides up to 650 instantaneous compression and damping adjustments. The standard NX 300 in foreign markets remained largely the same as the ousted NX 200t mechanical-wise for this year as it gets power from the same 2.0-litre turbocharged four-cylinder engine.
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On the other hand, the NX 300h retained 2.5-litre 2AR-FXE four-cylinder Atkinson cycle engine that is paired to a 2JM electric motor offering identical performance as before. Our market will get the same petrol-electric powertrain present currently in the ES 300h sedan. The hybrid system enables a combined power output of 202 bhp at 5,700 rpm and 213 Nm peak torque at 4,500 rpm. It is connected to a CVT automatic transmission driving all the four wheels.
The top-spec F-Sport variant gets paddle shifters and a head-up display. Stepping inside the cabin, the Lexus NX 300h features 10.3-inch touchscreen infotainment system with standard navigation, premium interior touches, projector beam LED headlamps, LED DRLs, high-standard leather materials, heated and ventilated front seats, power folding and reclining rear seats, 360 view monitor, power moonroof, etc.
The NX300h measures 4,640 mm in length, 1,845 mm in width and 1,645 in height and has a wheelbase of 2,660 mm with 170 mm ground clearance. It is positioned below the RX 450h and is about to face steep pricing as its other three siblings in the domestic range due to the high tax being levied for full imports.
With bookings already opened for Rs. 5 lakh across showrooms, deliveries are expected to get underway by March 2018. Lexus is considering setting up local assembly plant in India and if that pans out, we could see the prices of the lineup drastically reduce but the initial price announced itself is not a deal breaker.
It is available at Lexus Guest Experience Centers in Mumbai, New Delhi, Gurgaon and Bangalore, and Lexus authorized service corners in Chandigarh, Hyderabad, Chennai and Kochi. Lexus says its vehicles sold in India have 40% lower carbon emission and are 15-20% more fuel efficient than the rivals. The ARAI certified fuel economy of the NX 300h is 18.32 kmpl.