Only 1 Small SUV Made It to Consumer Reports’ Top Auto Picks Under $55K List

Consumer Reports runs vehicles through rigorous testing and uses research to make recommendations based on several key ownership factors. The publication is known for its critiquing. Many nameplates have fallen from grace in the eyes of Consumer Reports after reliability or quality issues. Only one small SUV model made it to Consumer Reports’ top auto picks under $55,000 list, and it’s a Lexus.

Consumer Reports recommends the Lexus NX350h

A blue 2023 Lexus NX350h small luxury hybrid SUV is parked.
The 2023 Lexus NX350h | Lexus

The Lexus NX350h is a small hybrid SUV based on the Toyota RAV4 Hybrid. The RAV4 Hybrid is making major waves in its vehicle segment. The NX350h is a more upscale version of the popular small hybrid SUV. So, think RAV4 Hybrid, but classier and with more standard creature comforts.

The 2023 Lexus NX350h starts at $43,805 (before taxes and additional fees). It uses a 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine and hybrid powertrain system to make 240 horsepower and 167 lb-ft of torque. The NX350h gets 41 miles per gallon in the city and 37 miles per gallon on the highway.

Car and Driver praises the NX’s refined interior and attractive exterior. The NX350h comes standard with all-wheel drive, Lexus NuLuxe interior trim, and SmartAccess with push-button Start/Stop. It also includes a leather-trimmed steering wheel and shift knob, heated front seats, and a 9.8-inch touchscreen display.

According to CNBC, the Lexus NX350h was one of just two vehicles that made Consumer Reports’ top auto picks from $45,000-$55,000 list. Part of the reason that the NX350h made the list is because of the brand’s history of producing reliable hybrid vehicles.

Is the 2023 Lexus NX350h a good SUV?

A white 2023 Lexus 350h small hybrid SUV is parked.
The 2023 Lexus 350h | Lexus

Toyota is currently producing some of the best hybrid SUVs on the market. The Japanese automaker has been an authority on hybrid technology for decades. The Prius is regarded as the first-ever mass-produced hybrid vehicle. Since the Toyota Prius hit the scene way back in 1997, Toyota has developed several successful standard hybrid nameplates and hybrid versions of popular gas vehicles.

Lexus may not have the same prestige as other luxury automakers like Mercedes-Benz and BMW, but reliability is its strong point. If you want a reliable luxury SUV that can stand the test of time, Lexus vehicles provide sufficient value for the money more often than not.

The NX350h is a particularly interesting model because it represents a new era for Toyota and Lexus. Electrification is on the horizon for the entire automotive industry. As a result, hybrid vehicles have become more popular than ever before. Hybrid and plug-in hybrid vehicles are becoming a comfortable middleground between internal combustion engine and battery electric vehicles. Expect the Lexus NX350h to become increasingly popular as more drivers are intrigued by hybrid powertrain systems.

What is the best small hybrid SUV on the market?

A blue 2023 Kia Sportage Hybrid smal hybrid SUV is driving on the road.
The 2023 Kia Sportage Hybrid | Kia

2 Best Used Lexus NX Model Years Under $25,000 in 2023

Since the Toyota RAV4 is currently the most popular small SUV, it’s natural to assume that the RAV4 Hybrid is the best small hybrid SUV option for the money. The RAV4 Hybrid is certainly near the top of its vehicle segment. Some other exciting options that are worth consideration for many drivers are the 2023 Kia Sportage Hybrid, 2023 Hyundai Tucson Hybrid, and 2023 Honda CR-V Hybrid.

As far as small luxury hybrid SUVs go, it’s tough to beat the Lexus NX350h when it comes to value. Luxury hybrid models can potentially get very expensive, especially after factoring in taxes and fees like destination charges.