Few cars divided opinion at this year’s tests like the Lexus NX300h. Some loved it for its performance and stability. Others hated the engine noise when accelerating flat out and couldn’t get on with the fidgety ride.
The hybrid drivetrain worked brilliantly at times but also frustrated. Driven steadily the combination of electric and petrol power is smooth and can be eerily quiet, but when towing, the petrol engine often has to work hard, turning up the volume as well as the pace. And it does shift along at a respectable rate, pulling a caravan weighted to the 1500kg legal towing limit from 30-60mph in 13 seconds.
At motorway speeds the Lexus NX is stable. Only when the wind picked up did we notice any movement from the caravan. The Lexus also handled the lane-change test well, staying on course however dramatically the caravan slid around behind it.
Some hybrids we’ve tested in previous years struggled with the hill-start test, but the Lexus pulled confidently to the top of the 1-in-6 slope.
As a practical family tow car, the NX’s biggest problem is the tiny boot. There isn’t enough space for holiday luggage. The Lexus lost further marks for the absence of a trailer stability system and its very low maximum noseweight of just 60kg.
The NX makes most sense for company car drivers, who will pay modest tax bills because of the car’s impressive emissions. Whether you’re a business driver or a private owner, the NX is comprehensively equipped, reasonably priced and should prove very reliable.