It’s easy to see your daily commuter as nothing more than a transportation appliance, but it doesn’t have to be that way. Lexus, once a purveyor of staid beige sedans has been on a streak of producing some adventurous stuff. A decade ago they brought us the LFA supercar, and ever since then it’s been clear that Toyota’s luxury brand is able to have a sense of theater, even in its mainstream lineup. I’ve been driving this Ultrasonic Blue Mica 2022 Lexus NX 450h+ F SPORT with Circuit Red leather interior for the past week and can say that it’s definitely not boring. However, let’s find out if it’s worth the $63,705 price tag!
2022 Lexus NX 450h+ Overview
Since Lexus treats the NX 450h+ as a different model compared to the standard gas-powered NX and the NX Hybrid, the breakdown of trim levels is pretty straightforward. You get the base version or the F Sport version. Considering the front wheel drive NX 250 starts at under $40,000, it should be no surprise that the “base” NX 450h+ is very well equipped at it’s $57,300 starting price.
Standard features on the base model include:
- Leather upholstery (power, heated, and ventilated)
- Power heated steering wheel
- Hands free power rear hatch
- 14-inch touchscreen infotainment system with navigation
- Wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto integration
- Voice control system
- 10-speaker premium audio system
- Dual-zone automatic climate control
- Head-up display
- Lexus’ Safety System+ 3.0 (basically everything)
Opt for the F Sport version and you’ll get additional kit like
- F Sport front seats with massive side bolsters (more on that later)
- Adaptive sport-tuned suspension
- More aggressive front and rear styling plus black roof rails
- Trim-specific 20-inch wheels
Our tester wasn’t done there, Lexus added another $5,730 in options (you can read for yourself above) bringing the all-in price to just over $63,700. Let’s get into the details on this NX 450h+ F Sport to see if it’s worth it.
2022 Lexus NX 450h+ F SPORT Inside & Out
Like most F Sport models the NX version is has an extroverted exterior. The Ultrasonic Blue Mica is a great color, though I like their lighter Grecian Water hue a bit better. Still, the NX has a good mix of brightwork and black accents, making it a bit of a head turner. Its compact(ish) dimensions (wheelbase is only 2.4-inches longer than a Golf R) give it a purposeful almost hot-hatch look. Overall, I don’t have any complaints about the NX 450h+ F Sport exterior, even the grille has grown on me (or I’ve gotten used to it).
On the inside, the NX made a a great first impression. The seats were massively well bolstered, but as I settled in I thought…”wait maybe this is too much bolster?” My brain went immediately to “can I adjust these…?” and when it finally realized that deflating the bolster wasn’t possible my brain just told my body to live with it. “It’s only a week, we like sporty stuff” it said. I’ll get into more of the interior first, and get back to the seats in a bit.
The Infotainment system is light years better than the old setup, if for no other reason there is finally a touchscreen! Plus, it’s nicely angle towards the driver. There are lots of small touches across the cabin, including the double hinged center console that allows both front passengers to easy open it from their side. Initially, my phone wouldn’t connect to the wireless Apple CarPlay via wireless or wired connection. It wasn’t until I turned the car off and back on that it connected, but I didn’t have any issues after that.
Lexus chose a great spot for the wireless charger just ahead of the shifter. It’s easy to reach for those who either pretend to never use their phone while driving, or those of us who sometimes grab it at stoplights to take a picture of a weird car or make notes about their press loaner. Overall ergonomics were mostly positive, it even has a volume knob! Though unlike some new cars, there are actually too many knobs and dials. You get two large ones for the HVAC, another one to select driving modes, then the actual volume knob. Heck, even the round power button distracted me a little bit as I reached out to crank some Metallica. More than once I found myself cycling my hand across each circle until I found what I wanted. It would likely be easier over time if you owned one.
Regardless, I absolutely love the blue to red fade and the high-end feel of those rotary knobs that you use to change the temperature. When the system is off, the cool fade remains. Lexus also has a really cool HUD that you can quickly modify by using buttons on the wheel. It’s very cool, I haven’t seen anything similar on other cars that I’ve tested.
Those bolsters though…during my first one+ hour drive, it was just not comfortable at all. The front seats have a solid 4-5 inch bolster that I would have loved when I was in my 20s and 30s. Now that my almost 46-year old self has filled out to six-feet tall and 200 pounds, it felt much too tight. I considered bringing a pillow to push me a bit further out from the seatback, but eventually cranked the bolster setting to the max. It changed the seat geometry just enough where it was no longer painful to drive for long distances.
The rear cargo area is pretty practical, with 22.7 cu. ft. of space behind the rear seats and 46.9 cu. ft. with the seats folded. That’s only a bit more than the 21.7 cu. ft. you get in the small Lexus UX but was more than enough to tackle ice hockey duty during the week.
2022 Lexus NX 450h+ F SPORT On The Road
All NX 450h+ are plug-in hybrid electrics (PHEV), so all trim levels get the same 2.5L four-cylinder engine with two electric motors (front and rear). That’s good for a combined 304 horsepower and 0-60 time of just under six seconds. That’s definitely sports compact car era quickness despite it’s 4,475 pound curb weight. Said weight does mean that the NX 450h+ isn’t going to do autocross duty on the weekends. Plus, the suspension is tuned more for comfort vs. performance, which makes sense. The target buyer isn’t going to spend over $60,000 and not be comfortable, which again makes the heavily bolstered seats a bit surprising. The brakes were solid and did not get “grabby” like they do in some EV-based applications.
Out on the highway it’s got plenty of passing power and I really like the little shifter come on falls easily to hand. It almost reminded me of an aftermarket short shifter based on height and shape. Thankfully, it is pretty simple to use, there are no confusing shift procedures present in some PHEVs. Our tester had the optional cross bars which add some practicality up top, but definitely added some additional wind noise.
The extra tech was generally welcomed, the NX has a great high definition rearview camera which gave me a perfect view, even at night when it was raining. On the flip side, Lexus uses a power door handle that seems overly complicated. Like some other EV vehicles, the door handle doesn’t “pull” out in the mechanical release sense, but is accessed by a button on the back of the (conventional-looking) door handle. On the inside there is a button to press to release the door. If you lose power, you can pull it out two times to release the door sans electricity.
You don’t really even notice that NX 450h+ has an EV side. You can toggle between EV and petrol power with a button. In full-EV mode, you’ll only get 37 miles range though. That would likely cover what I need to do for school drop off, and the system did stay in EV mode vs. switching to gas power when I got on the throttle.
However, it’s definitely not quick in EV mode, even in Sport+ it doesn’t have a lot of urgency. The range projection in all-electric does not change based on driving mode like it does in the Ioniq 5 and some other EVs I have driven. The charging cord locks securely in place when you lock the doors, and it even has a cap for the end of the plug to keep the gunk out.
Your commute doesn’t have to be dull, even if it’s practical. The 2022 Lexus NX 450h+ F SPORT is actually kinda cool and even a bit fun. With it’s bright colored exterior and bold interior, it didn’t feel boring whatsoever. And with 36 mpg on petrol-only, it’s pretty practical for said commute. There are a bunch of plug-in hybrid luxury SUV competitors out there, and more on the way. However, if you like the Lexus reliability angle, but want the option of EV and gas power, you should check out the NX 450h+.