Skip to main content

The 2024 Lexus NX 350h bridges the gap between the gas-only NX and the 450h+ PHEV model. It is stylish, like all Lexus SUVs, even if it looks sportier than it is. Still, the NX 350h is distinct, but not necessarily in positive ways. I recently reviewed the 2024 Lexus NX 350h for a week, and while it’s a generally solid compact luxury SUV, its peculiarities hold it back.

For instance, the NX features a button to open the doors from the inside rather than a traditional pull. It’s not often you see cars with a sticker on the door handle outlining how to use it. Over a century of automotive engineering hasn’t rendered such a system outdated. Apparently, it’s used as a safety system so you don’t whack passing cyclists while exiting the cabin. But it also results in missed button pushes when you just want to get out. And every passenger is stuck inside until they figure it out or you tell them how to operate it.

The gear selector is borrowed from the Toyota Prius and Crown. It isn’t intuitive, either. The small lever is moved to the left to get out of park, and then forward for reverse or back for drive. I spent several occasions backing out of a parking spot and remaining stationary for a moment because I hadn’t pulled the lever back far enough, keeping the NX in neutral.

Stopping at a parking spot can also be a bit annoying. The NX’s switchover from regenerative to mechanical breaking isn’t cohesive. The mechanical braking is much more sensitive. As such, you can scrub speed gradually when coming to an intersection, but once the mechanical braking kicks on, you’re likely to come to an abrupt stop using the same pedal force.

2024 Lexus NX 350h interior
2024 Lexus NX 350h interior | Lexus

Using the infotainment system can also be an exercise in patience. I challenged my wife to change the SiriusXM station. She figured it out in due time, but had she been driving, the NX’s Nori Green Pearl paint would have blended in with the forest we would have crashed into. It’s not as frustrating as Lexus’ old touchpad system, thankfully, and there are two dials built into the massive 14-inch touchscreen. Having to use the voice command system to change the radio station because it’s easier, however, is still irksome.

At least a few of its quirks are appreciated, however.

The standard wireless charger is fitted to a slot under the center stack. You can then slide the pad under the dash to get your phone out of the way while it charges. The motion reveals a small storage cubby. It’s brilliantly simple and convenient.

The 2024 NX 350h also starts at $44,365. The 350h, even with its hybrid powertrain, undercuts the base MSRP of most compact luxury SUVs, hybridized or otherwise. It also stands out as a traditional hybrid. Most rivals only offer plug-in hybrids or only offer mild-hybrid systems.

But the NX 350h isn’t necessarily appealing enough to make up for its negative idiosyncrasies.

It’s powered by a 2.5-liter four-cylinder and two electric motors dishing out a total of 239 horsepower with standard all-wheel drive. It’s not overly powerful, but it has enough umph for those who don’t chase the redline. You wouldn’t want to, anyway, given its buzzy engine note. To note, it is efficient with an EPA rating of 39 combined mpg. But buyers still must spring for premium fuel. They don’t in the standard, gas-only NX 250.

Size matters, too, as the adage says. The NX is a bit smaller than many of its compact luxury SUV rivals, including the Volvo XC60, Genesis GV70 or Acura RDX. As such, its 22.7-cubic-foot cargo hold significantly trails the GV70 and RDX (along with the BMW X3 and Lincoln Corsair) by a handful of cubes. Passenger space, at least, doesn’t suffer.

The NX 350h is quiet (provided you’re cruising), and ride quality is certainly comfortable. Still, it doesn’t necessarily excel in either of those categories.

To review, the 2024 Lexus NX 350h has its strengths, but its quirks stand out because, overall, it doesn’t necessarily excel against its rivals in some key respects. It’s a luxury compact SUV that’s easy on the wallet and occupies limited space in its segment as a non-plug-in hybrid. But some buyers might want to consider paying more for a rival that’s easier to live with.