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Lexus NX 450h+ Plug-in Hybrid Review Singapore 2022 - 2.5 F Sport (A)

Updated: Oct 17, 2022

The Lexus NX is a mid sized SUV that goes up against the likes of the BMW X3 and Audi Q5. Among the versions in Singapore, we have the standard NX 350 and hybrid versions such as the NX 350h, as well as the NX450h+ plug-in hybrd. In the 450h+ F Sport, the car comes with 3 driving modes, full leather steering wheel, cruise control, coloured heads up display, ventilated seats, and wireless Apple Carplay.

Topping off the Lexus NX range in Singapore is the NX450h+, which incidentally is also only available in F Sport trim locally - which is just as well, because the NX looks definitively sporty. Decked out with the F Sport front grille, F Sport 20" wheels, F Sport steering wheel, F Sport side badging, F Sport scuff plates, and that beautiful blue paint job - the car looks athletic, mean, and surprisingly youthful by Lexus' standards.

The design is one that is sporty in a way that's quite accessible and acceptable to what I think will be a wide range of buyers. While continental options in their respective sports level trims have the tendency to look extremely loud and bombastic, the F Sport trim on the NX retains a level of modesty, allowing even the more introverted among us to enjoy its beautifully sculpted physique.

On the inside, the F Sport trim offers another level of appeal. Called F Sport smooth leather, the seats have this modern and youthful matt finish to it, yet isn't visually dull in the way that Alcantara leather is. Instead, along with the rest of the dashboard and centre console, there is this high quality sheen, which is just matt enough to be modern, but has just enough shine to feel like a proper luxury vehicle. It also helps that the car's 14" infotainment unit is absolutely massive and assists the overall look in the tech department. I'd be careful about your song choice showing up on the massive screen though - wouldn't want Vengaboys or Aqua from your 90s phase to show up on screen while ferrying your colleagues to lunch or something to that effect.

Despite running off the identical 2.5L engine and E-CVT transmission as the NX350h, there is quite a bit more grunt in the 450h+, and it delivers 64 more horses than the NX350h. Weirdly though, the Nx450h+ has a lower torque rating, which does not feel like the case when you put your foot down and push the car. The inclusion of a Sport S and Sport S+ mode that is easily accessible through a dedicated dial on the centre console also helps to add more expression to the NX450h+'s acceleration and driving dynamics. That said, the car is still fundamentally a luxury SUV rather than a performance SUV, and does its best work when driven in a civil manner.

Due to the presence of the E-CVT transmission as opposed to the torque converters found on Lexus' non-hybrid options, the 450h+ still drones when pushed, and it isn't the most endearing sound if I'm being perfectly honest. Performance is there though, and the car is deceptively quick, moving along very nicely in a manner that is unfussy and quite surprising. Otherwise, once up at cruising speeds, the 450h+ is faultless, delivering an ultra smooth ride with the assistance of its hybrid drivetrain, and is extremely comfortable and quiet.

At close to $280,000 without COE, the 450h+ is an expensive car, but thanks to the 2.5L power plant, road tax on the 450h+ isn't as ridiculous as what consumers experienced with older Lexus models, which makes the entire purchase a tad more palatable when scrutinising the financial viability of the car. If you are looking for a luxury SUV in that price segment, there are admittedly many capable options to consider, such as the BMW X3 or the Audi Q5 - In fact, both options are actually cheaper to buy. However, if you are also the sort of driver who wants a fuss free daily driving experience with an emphasis on luxury, comfort, and relaxation, with little interest on the technical details of a vehicle, then the NX450h+ is a superb option, as it is the sort of car that will quietly and seamlessly find a way to fit into your lifestyle while elevating it at the same time. That said, if you're not the flamboyant type and aren't really fussed about F Sport badging and the additional 64 bhp, the NX350h is probably the one to buy as it is cheaper, more subtle, and isn't very far off from the 450h+ in terms of performance.


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