2025 Lexus NX Review: Hybrid efficiency, Goldilocks size

2025 Lexus NX Review: Hybrid efficiency, Goldilocks size

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Pros: Hybrid and PHEV are efficient and fun; sharp styling; lots of standard tech; top safety scores; good cargo space

Cons: Some of that tech is frustrating to use (especially the nonsensical HUD); less back seat space than some rivals

Lexus clearly sees value in zigging where others zag when it comes to the size of its various SUVs. The 2025 Lexus NX is technically a compact SUV given its exterior dimensions, lining up with the Mercedes GLC, for instance, but inside it’s more like a GLA or various subcompact luxury SUVs. Its pricing more closely aligns with them too. That makes the 2025 NX an alternative to both segments, which honestly isn’t such a bad thing. It probably lands in the Goldilocks zone for a lot of buyers because of it.


Ultimately, though, the NX’s most appealing attribute is choice of hybrid powertrains. It offers conventional and plug-in variants, neither of which are in great supply in the luxury SUV realm. If you want to save on gas while still enjoying a small luxury SUV, you pretty much have to consider the Lexus NX 350h and 450h+.

Besides those hybrids, the NX offers a well-made cabin and lots of features, though the touchscreen interface can frustrate and back seat space is on the cramped side. The cargo area is surprisingly useful, though. All told, the NX family certainly isn’t among our top choices in the segment, but its distinctive attributes make it worth a serious look.


Interior & Technology   |   Passenger & Cargo Space   |   Performance & Fuel Economy

What it's like to drive   |   Pricing & Trim Levels   |   Crash Ratings & Safety Features

What's new for 2025?

There are only minor updates for 2025. Two USB-C ports are now included in the front center console, while wireless phone charging is available on all versions. Automatic wipers, power liftgate and automated parking assist with automatic braking are now standard equipment.

What are the NX interior and in-car technology like?

The NX has a handsome, extremely well-made cabin that gets even better when spruced up with two-tone color choices. While three of its powertrains may just be copy-pasted over from the Toyota RAV4, the interior most certainly is not. It’s in keeping with the rest of the Toyota lineup.

That unfortunately does include issues with the tech, however. The infotainment system features either a standard 9.8-inch screen with dedicated physical climate control toggles or an optional 14-inch unit that incorporates a dedicated blend of touch-sensitive and physical comfort controls blended into the screen’s lower bezel. No matter which you choose, you get a physical volume knob. This represents a vast improvement over that found in the previous NX, but lacks split-screen functionality and some other basic items, like a dedicated home screen. Going between the native Lexus functions like radio or navigation, and the standard wireless Apple CarPlay/Android Auto connectivity screens is a constant source of tap-tap-tapping frustration. We’ve also found the satellite radio interface to be poorly designed.

The infotainment screen is fitted to a panel that blends into the instrument display, which itself features a 7-inch screen. Sixty-four-color ambient lighting is available, along with wireless charging and the bizarre 10-inch head-up display (pictured below left) that's controlled by unmarked buttons on the steering wheel (pictured below right). It's weird and difficult to use.

How big is the NX?

The Lexus NX fits into the compact luxury SUV segment. Populated by the likes of the BMW X3Audi Q5Acura RDX and Genesis GV70, this class seems to grow larger every year — both in terms of the size of its constituents and the sheer quantity available. The NX itself gained an additional 5 cubic feet of cargo volume with its redesign two years ago but that did virtually nothing to improve its stature in a field where it remains one of the smallest entries, comparable to the likes of the Alfa Romeo Stelvio. In fact, although the NX’s exterior dimensions significantly exceed those of subcompacts like the BMW X1 and Mercedes GLA, its interior dimensions are quite similar.

That said, we found that the cargo area is more useful than its modest 22-cubic-foot measurement would suggest. In our luggage test, we managed to fit our usual six pieces of baggage with room to spare. That includes the sizable under-floor storage bin found on every NX model (in fact, cargo space is equal regardless of powertrain), which not only provides enough space for a duffel bag or groceries, but is designed to thoughtfully store the cargo cover inside the car.

What are the NX fuel economy and performance specs?

The NX comes with four available engines and is offered in both front- and all-wheel-drive configurations.

The NX 250 has a 2.5-liter naturally aspirated four-cylinder. Paired with an eight-speed automatic, it produces 203 horsepower and 184 pound-feet – just as that engine does in its platform relative, the Toyota RAV4. Its 0-60-mph time of 8.2 seconds is one of the slowest of any luxury-brand vehicle. With front-wheel drive, this is rated at 26 mpg city, 33 mpg highway and 28 mpg combined. Opting for all-wheel drive only costs 1 mpg (both city and highway), but the combined figure is oddly the same.

The NX 350 and its 2.4-liter turbocharged inline-four are good for 275 hp and 317 lb-ft of torque. That output exceeds the BMX X3 xDrive30i, Mercedes GLC 300 and Acura RDX, especially in terms of torque. Oddly, though, its estimated 0-60 time of 6.6 seconds is also about a half-second slower than the X3 and GLC despite its power advantage. It’s rated at 21 mpg city, 28 mpg highway and 24 mpg combined with its standard all-wheel drive.

The NX 350h hybrid produces 240 total system horsepower. This system incorporates an electronically controlled continuously variable transmission and because of its standard rear motor, includes all-wheel drive. Fuel economy checks in at 41 mpg city, 37 mpg highway and 39 mpg combined.

Ultimately, the most appealing and distinctive powertrain option is found in the NX 450h+ plug-in hybrid. Its electric motor provides the smooth, effortless punch expected of a PHEV thanks to its 304 total system horsepower. EPA estimates have the electric-only range at 37 miles. The miles-per-gallon-equivalent rating used to estimate a PHEV's fuel economy comes in at 84 MPG-e.

What's the NX like to drive?