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  • Writer's pictureMitchell Weitzman

2024 Lexus NX 350h review: Mainstream quirks

Updated: Jun 18

Some fussy controls blight the stylish and luxurious 35 MPG NX 350h

2024 lexus nx 350h review | The road beat

2024 Lexus NX 350h review with The Road Beat

Words and pictures by Mitchell Weitzman

Undeniably pretty, the Lexus NX is also a mainstream luxury crossover with a surprising amount of quirks and character to it. Unfortunately for its own sake, these are not quirks for the better. Even despite some problematic controls, the NX is a beautifully finished, styled, luxurious, and crazy efficient when equipped as a hybrid like so. In fact, the gas mileage is so good, you might be left wondering why to even bother with a fully-electric vehicle. Spoiler, it gets 34 MPG overall.

Gone are the days of the awkwardly placed 'Predator' face (yes, like the movie villain - or hero to some - Predator), and in it's place is, well, still a Predator grille, butt it just works now oddly enough. Predicting Lexus to come through with some of the best styling of cars in the 2020s was not on my bingo card 10 years ago. With tightly wrapped panels tapering to its nose, what once was ugly is brilliantly attractive now thanks to constant refining every few years, with proportions and angles massaged into sharp cohesion. Besides the also beautiful Genesis GV70, this is probably the most aesthetically pleasing crossover on sale today. And when it comes to luxury products, looks do matter. Though people are actively still buying BMW 7-Series, so what do I know.

2024 lexus nx 350h luxury interior

Inside is the expected level of quality and luxury one would expect from Lexus, with exquisite finishing and no rattles whatsoever in daily operation. It's appropriately quiet and comfortable to boot, too, and I like the size of the NX, bearing enough space for most rear passengers and has a usable, if modest, cargo storage. However, it's the luxury that has likely inspired the electronic gimmickry presented here that follows.

Confidently I can say that it wasn't just me that as left cold by its odd exterior and interior door actuators, but several passengers commented on it as well. On the surface, there's an exterior door handle that looks like a regular door handle, only it doesn't move, instead just sensing your hand being placed around it. Though, despite not being actual, moving mechanical door handles like we're used to, they're excessively bulky and cumbersome items visually and lack confidence in use. Look, if you're going to try and reinvent entry into a car, don't take the common practice and make it worse. Why have those big handles at all? And inside, there's a push button release that's puzzling to say the least because the doors don't naturally pop out enough upon release couple with a lack of any mechanical feedback. Placed next to the release button is a backup lever, almost as if Lexus knew people would prefer that method. In 2005, Chevrolet introduced push-button items as a means of exit in their then-new C6 Corvette, and nearly 20 years later, these buttons are just plain worse to use.

2024 Lexus NX 350h

The quirks extend to the heads-up display where unlabeled steering wheel switches operate your common controls in the HUD, such as operating cruise control and skipping to the next song on the Mark Levinson stereo. To engage in their lousy functioning, you have to first rest your finger on the buttons to even bring up the digital menu ahead of you, and then there's even a 'more' button to see all your options. The idea that this is less distracting is a fallacy, as it's only needlessly complicated and requires a too-steep learning curve. Again, reinventing something simple by making it harder. If people start having crashes in their NX because they're too busy trying to figure out the cruise control, I would not be surprised. Also worth mentioning is the difficulty of even seeing the HUD if you wear polarized sunglasses like myself, which in certain lighting conditions, will become completely invisible and thus inoperable.

At least this otherwise mainstream product has some real character to it, even if that character is represented by quirky, but real-world inconveniences. Still, it's nice to see some different thinking; it's just the wrong thinking in this instance. These issues don't take away form the fact that the NX 350h is a very pleasant car to get in each and every day and drive. Though I was left literally cold and curious why this particular example didn't have a heated steering wheel in a rather frigid California December, but this is a nice car and environment to be in. Plus, I rather like red interiors. That said, the piano black trim pieces are prone to smudges and the emergency brake button is oddly small and can be difficult to press unless you touch the very edge of it.

2024 Lexus NX 350h red seats

Get it out on the road, and you'll find the steering is nicely judged and accurate, making for confident placement on the road. The chassis might lack enthusiasm and motivation for cornering, but it does at least have decent composure when carrying speed above the suggested velocity signage in turns. It's unfortunate that something that looks so sharp and tightly wrapped possesses no sporting inclination, but it at least does a great job for the everyday commute. If you want a driver's luxury crossover, you'll want to look elsewhere, specifically the Genesis GV70, but a GV70 can't deliver over 30 MPG like this Lexus can. Which yes, back to that power unit: it's a 2.5L four-cylinder mated to a three electric motor hybrid system for 240 total modest horsepower.

As a result, pace is not it's forte, needing almost eight seconds to do 0-60 MPH, and the combustion engine is a bit coarse and loud when wound up. When it comes to transitioning between electric propulsion and hybrid combustion, it's smooth in operation without any hiccups and is a clear class leader for hybrid tech and implementation. Like other testers have commented, though, I did notice the brakes took some acclimation at slow speeds, where some of the hybrid regenerative braking can be unpredictable when slowing for stop signs, where the use the actual actual brake pedal is needed for the final slowing effort. Not a problem per se, rather just some character.

2024 Lexus NX 350h interior

Lexus has done the unpredictable by giving a strangely quirky car in a highly mainstream and competitive segment. Quirks can be welcome, but I found myself mostly annoyed by the quirks in the NX 350h. If you can greet its characterful gimmicks with open arms, then it's a spectacularly efficient hybrid with a predictably luxury flair and quality inside. Not many cars of this size can average nearly 35 MPG, offering an orderly option as an alternative to the rise of fully-electric vehicles. And besides, this Lexus at $56,430 is a heck of a lot more luxurious than what a similarly priced EV would provide.

2024 Lexus NX 350h Luxury AWD

Price as-tested: $56,430

Pros: Tight looks; Luxe interior; Exceptional MPG

Cons: Weird electronic controls

2024 Lexus NX 350h mark levinson

2024 Lexus NX 350h interior review

2024 Lexus NX 350h red interior

2024 Lexus NX 350h exterior

2024 Lexus NX 350h cloudburst gray


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