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Hybrid SUVs are the hot ticket item these days, and for good reason. Many drivers love the roominess and road feel of SUVs. More than ever before, SUVs are dominating our roads. However, alongside their popularity is the fear of rising gas prices. Thanks to the leaps that hybrid technology has made over the last few years, hybrid SUVs are stealing the show. Consumer Reports picked the 2023 Lexus NX Hybrid as its best hybrid SUV. It even beat the massively popular Toyota RAV4 Prime.  

A blue Lexus NX350h hybrid crossover SUV driving through the desert for a promotional photo, cacti visible in the background.
2023 Lexus NX350h | Toyota Motor Corporation

The 2023 Lexus NX Hybrid is the one of best hybrid SUVs

Hybrids used to be a segment cursed by noisy, ugly, slow things that robbed joy from nearly all who saw them, much less drove them. That is no longer the case. There are hybrid Ferraris, pickup trucks, and even F1 cars. Hybrid is one of the finest ways we have found yet to move a vehicle. 

Of all the great SUVs buzzing around these days, some were surprised to see Edmunds love the 2023 Lexus NX Hybrid so much. The Lexus NX is good in an objective way. However, it doesn’t leave much of an impression for auto enthusiasts. Given the massive popularity and specs of the 2023 Toyota RAV4 Prime, a less popular model like the NX stacking up this well against it is quite an accomplishment.

What makes the 2023 Lexus NX Hybrid so good?

The 2023 Lexus NX Hybrid received massive updates below the surface, although the new model looks nearly identical to the previous one. 

Edmunds testers note that the NX is responsive in the corners and rides a touch firm but still comfortable. The 2023 Lexus NX Hybrid also sports two hybrid engine options, a 240-hp 2.5-liter four-pot and a 304-hp 2.5-liter. Both hybrid engines pair with a CVT. Between these super-efficient engines and the Lexus NX’s smaller size, it averages 38 mpg. 

One of the biggest reasons the NX is rated so highly is its Toyota lineage. The NX is said to be reliable, tough, and satisfying. One of the only downsides is its stout starting price of $56,555. Here is where the 2023 Toyota RAV4 Prime can almost sneak in. 

Even still, Edmunds notes that “the Lexus NX returned last year reinvigorated with revamped styling, a larger engine, more power, a new transmission, and a vastly improved infotainment system. The changes have helped the 2023 Lexus NX 350 better challenge rival small luxury SUVs like the Acura RDX, Mercedes-Benz GLC, and newcomer Genesis GV70.” This is a strong play, especially when compared to the Toyota.

How much is the 2023 Toyota RAV4 Prime?

Front angle view of red 2023 Toyota RAV4 Prime plug-in hybrid crossover SUV
2023 Toyota RAV4 Prime | RAV4

Starting at $42,340, the RAV4 Prime is a strong competitor for the Lexus NX. The RAV4’s secret weapon is its PHEV powerplant which offers up to 40 miles of range on only electric power. After that mileage is spent, the gas engine kicks in. This means at full charge, the 2023 RAV4 Prime can get 74 mpge. The RAV4 Prime is nicely equipped, efficient as all hell, and cheaper. So, why is it ranked lower than the Lexus NX? Reliability. 

Consumer Reports gave it a lower predicted reliability score than the Lexus NX. This proves to be a dagger for the RAV4 Prime. 

Despite the success of the new Lexus NX, somehow, I doubt it will ever be as popular as the 2023 Toyota RAV4 Prime.