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The FREE Complete Bay Area Auto Enthusiast Guide
NX 300h A WORTHY ADDITION TO LEXUS LINEUP

By NITISH S. RELE – motoringtampabay@gmail.com
The compact luxury crossover segment just got “richer,” sort of, with the entry of the 2015 Lexus NX 300h. The all-new model is a pleasure to drive, responding with agility in any driving situation while packed with luxury and tech goodies expected from this upscale division of Toyota.
A 2.5-liter DOHC inline-4 cylinder gas engine with Atkinson cycle develops 154 horsepower @5700 rpm and 152 pounds-feet of torque @ 4400 rpm. It is coupled to electric motor/generators, which boast hp up to 194. Zero to 60 mph is clocked at around 9.1 seconds with top speed limited at 112 mph. The crossover also is fitted with a 244.8-volt nickel-metal hydride battery, which is recharged by energy captured as the driver applies the brakes or coasts. Also, the Continuous Variable Transmission-equipped car gets a regenerative braking system. When the car is coasting or the brakes are applied, the electric power functions as a generator, capturing kinetic energy that would normally be lost. Instead, it converts the energy into useable electricity for recharging the batteries.
The NX 300h operates in three modes: EV, which allows the car to travel for about a mile at 20 mph in perfect conditions; eco, which enables the driver to control throttle opening; sport, for the enthusiast behind the wheel. Just keep an eye on the hybrid-system indicator in the instrument panel and you will eke out substantial fuel savings.
Dual front and side airbags, side curtain airbag, driver knee airbag are standard along with side-impact door beams, four-wheel antilock brakes, Electronic Brake Distribution and Brake Assist, Vehicle Stability and Traction Control, rearview camera, push-button start, three-point seatbelts with pretensioners, and front and rear crumple zones.
That this is a hybrid is evident from the blue tint in the Lexus emblem on the traditional spindle grille, flanked by L-shaped LEX headlights. Available in front-wheel or all-wheel drive, the NX 300h also sports a brawny, hunkered-down posture, especially when you glance at the raked lift gate and the roof-mounted rear spoiler. As soon as we stepped into the airy and well-appointed cabin, the gated automatic shifter caught our attention. A 4.5-inch TFT LCD screen displays audio, fuel consumption, mileage, outside temperature, odometer and tire pressure readings. Some niceties include dual-zone auto climate control, 10-way power driver and 8-way front-passenger seats, 60/40 rear seat, power tilt/telescopic steering column, Lexus analog clock and dark umber trim. A cool mouse-like Remote Touch can be used to toggle navigation, climate, audio and phone controls.
If in the market for a compact luxury crossover with potent engine under the hood, decent gas mileage and numerous creature comforts, the NX 300h fits the bill. Indeed, its addition to the Lexus lineup makes sense. And a lot of difference. 

LEXUS NX 300h (FWD)
Wheelbase: 104.7 inches
Length: 182.3 inches
Width: 73.6 inches
Height: 64.8 inches
Suspension: MacPherson strut front; double wishbone rear
Steering: electric power
Tires: P225/65R17
Fuel capacity: 14.8 gallons
Mileage: city 35, highway 31; combined 33
Weight: 4,055 pounds
Base price: $39,720
Web site: www.lexus.com

CALLING ALL LEXUS DEALERS IN THE TAMPA BAY AREA: if you would like to be listed here as one of the test-drive dealerships, e-mail us at motoringtampabay@gmail.com