If you’re in the market for a small luxury SUV that offers a blend of style, performance, comfort, and technology, you might want to take a look at the 2023 Lexus NX 350.
This sleek and sophisticated crossover is the second generation of the NX model, which debuted in 2015 as Lexus’ entry-level SUV.
The new NX 350 has a lot to offer, from its revamped exterior design and spacious interior to its powerful turbocharged engine and advanced infotainment system.
In this article, I’ll give you a detailed review of the 2023 Lexus NX 350 and tell you why it’s a hot ticket for luxury SUV shoppers.
The Good and the Bad
The 2023 Lexus NX 350 is a great choice for a luxury crossover, but it also has some drawbacks that you should be aware of.
Before going into the details of each section of the car, here are some of the pros and cons that we found during our review.
- The engine is smooth, quiet, and powerful, with 275 hp and 317 lb-ft of torque. It offers quick acceleration and good performance for everyday driving.
- The handling and ride quality is excellent, especially on the F Sport model, which has an adaptive suspension that makes the ride smoother and reduces body roll. The steering is also well-tuned, with a heavier feel than some rivals that gives more confidence and feedback.
- The interior is spacious and luxurious, with high-quality materials and features. The luxury model comes with real leather upholstery in four color options, open-pore wood trim, a power tailgate with hands-free abilities, a 14-inch touchscreen display, triple-beam LED headlights, and more.
- The display is impressive. The NX offers two different display sizes: a standard 9.8-inch touchscreen or an optional 14-inch touchscreen on the luxury model.
- The safety and convenience features are comprehensive and reliable. The NX comes standard with the Lexus Safety System+ 3.0. You can also add optional features such as a 360-degree camera system, a rear camera mirror, parking sensors, and a panoramic view monitor. The NX also has achieved an IIHS Top Safety Pick+ award, which means it’s one of the safest vehicles in its class.
- The space in the rear seat and cargo area is limited compared to some rivals. The NX has less legroom and headroom in the rear seat, and less cargo capacity behind the second row and as a maximum.
- The NX uses piano black plastic in the interior, which is prone to scratches, scuffs, and dust particles. It also reflects light and glare easily, which can be distracting or annoying. We wish Lexus would use a different material instead, such as brushed aluminum plastic or more wood trim.
- The electronic door handles are unnecessary and extra. They don’t add any value or convenience to the vehicle, and they take away from the signature Lexus door handle design that was actually a nice touch in the previous generation.
- The base 10-speaker audio system is poor. It does not sound that great and does not match the premium character of the vehicle. You really have to upgrade to the Mark Levinson option if you want a better sound experience.
- The NX is hard to get, especially if you want a hybrid or plug-in hybrid model. There are long wait times for these models due to high demand and low supply. You may have to wait up to eight or nine months for an NX 350h hybrid. These models also have fewer options available than the gas models, such as no Mark Levinson audio system for the plug-in hybrid model.
The 2023 Lexus NX stays true to its signature Lexus design language, with a large and distinctive spindle grille that dominates the front fascia.
The grille has a gray finish and a stacked mesh pattern on the luxury model, but you can also opt for a more aggressive look with the F Sport model, which has a blacked-out grille and other exterior accents.
The headlights are also a highlight of the NX, as they feature standard full LED lighting with an arrowhead daytime running light. You can also upgrade to the optional triple-beam LED headlights, which have a crystal design and cornering abilities. The lower bumper houses LED fog lamps as well.
Moving to the side profile, you’ll notice the sleek and aerodynamic shape of the NX, as well as the chrome accents that run along the windows and the roof rails.
The luxury model comes with 20-inch alloy wheels with a smoked chrome finish, which adds some bling to the look. The mirrors are also fully loaded, with auto-dimming, power-folding, heating, and blind spot monitoring functions.
The rear design of the NX is clean and classy, with a full-length LED light bar that connects the taillights. The taillights have LED brake lights, reverse lights, and turn signals, giving the NX a three out of three score for LED lighting.
The rear also features an exposed wiper, a power tailgate with hands-free abilities on the luxury model, and a plain diffuser. None of the NX models have exposed exhaust pipes, though. The tow rating of the NX is 2,000 pounds, which is enough for a small trailer or a U-Haul.
The interior of the 2023 Lexus NX 350 is where it really shines, as it offers a spacious and luxurious cabin with high-quality materials and features.
The luxury model comes with real leather upholstery in four color options: black, tan, dark red, and cream and black. The cream and black option is our favorite one, as it creates a stunning contrast and adds some flair to the cabin.
The seats are also very comfortable and supportive, with thick bolsters and advanced stitching details. They are 10-way power-adjustable on the luxury model, with three-person memory settings on the driver’s side.
The door trim is also nicely finished, with soft-touch plastic on the upper part, leather on the armrest and center section, and open-pore wood trim on the luxury model.
The dashboard is also soft-touch plastic on top, with leatherette wrapping around the console for your knees to rest against. The center area has piano black accents that add some gloss to the look.
The gauge cluster of the NX consists of a seven-inch multi-function display in the middle, flanked by traditional gauges on the sides.
There is no option for a full digital gauge cluster on the NX, but you do get an excellent head-up display that projects all kinds of information on the windshield in front of you. You can control it with touch-sensitive buttons on both sides of the steering wheel.
The steering wheel itself is leather-wrapped with a thick rim and paddle shifters behind it. It is power-adjustable on premium models and above, and it also has heating on models with the cold weather package.
Powertrain and Fuel Economy
The 2023 Lexus NX offers four different powertrain options: two gas engines (NX 250 and NX 350), one hybrid engine (NX 350h), and one plug-in hybrid engine (NX 450h+).
In this review, we’ll focus on the NX 350 model, which is powered by a 2.4-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine that produces 275 horsepower and 317 pound-feet of torque. This engine is paired with an eight-speed automatic transmission that delivers smooth and responsive shifts.
The NX 350 comes standard with all-wheel drive (AWD), while the NX 250 offers both front-wheel drive (FWD) and AWD options. The AWD system on the NX can distribute up to 50% of the torque to the rear wheels when needed, enhancing traction and stability.
The fuel economy of the NX 350 is rated at 25 MPG combined (22 city and 29 highway), which is a solid figure for this segment. The NX 250 is slightly more efficient, with 28 MPG combined for both FWD and AWD models.
Of course, if you want even better fuel economy, you can opt for the hybrid or plug-in hybrid models, which offer up to 36 MPG combined and 36 miles of electric range, respectively.
Safety and Convenience Features
The 2023 Lexus NX comes standard with a comprehensive suite of safety and driver assistance features, thanks to the Lexus Safety System+ 3.0.
This system includes forward collision warning, automatic emergency braking, pedestrian and cyclist detection, lane departure warning, lane keep assist, lane tracing assist, adaptive cruise control, road sign recognition, blind spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic alert, automatic high beams, and rear seat reminder.
You can also add optional features such as a 360-degree camera system, a rear camera mirror, parking sensors, and a panoramic view monitor.
As for convenience features, the NX offers plenty of them to make your life easier and more enjoyable.
The luxury model comes with a power tailgate with hands-free abilities, keyless entry and ignition with remote start and digital key options, dual-zone automatic climate control with physical knobs integrated into the display, three-stage heated and ventilated front seats, wireless phone charging, a 12-volt power outlet, two USB ports, and four fully automatic windows.
Display and Audio System
One of the highlights of the 2023 Lexus NX is its display and audio system. The NX offers two different display sizes: a standard 9.8-inch touchscreen or an optional 14-inch touchscreen on the luxury model.
Both displays run on the new Lexus Interface software, which is fast and responsive and supports wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. You can also opt for built-in navigation if you want.
The display also has a dedicated section for climate controls at the bottom, with physical knobs that are integrated into the screen. This creates a cool and seamless look while also allowing you to adjust the temperature easily.
The audio system on the NX consists of either a standard 10-speaker premium sound system or an optional 17-speaker Mark Levinson sound system. The standard system offers adequate sound quality for most people, but if you’re really into music, you’ll definitely want to upgrade to the Mark Levinson option.
Ride Quality and Handling
The 2023 Lexus NX offers a smooth and comfortable ride quality that suits its luxury character. The suspension does a good job of soaking up bumps and road imperfections without compromising stability or agility.
The luxury model does not have an adaptive suspension like the F Sport handling model does, but it still handles well around corners without too much body roll.
The steering on the NX is also well-tuned, with a heavier feel than some of its rivals. This gives you more confidence and feedback on where the wheels are positioned. The brakes are also strong and responsive, bringing the NX to a stop without any drama.
Pricing and Warranty
The 2023 Lexus NX has a very attractive starting price of under $40,000 for the NX 250 with FWD. This makes it one of the most affordable options in its segment, although it does have less power than some of its competitors.
The NX 350 with AWD starts at $43,515, which is still very competitive for what it offers.
The F Sport model starts at $48,615 and adds sportier styling and features to the mix. The luxury model starts at $49,315 and adds more premium features such as real leather upholstery, open-pore wood trim, a power tailgate with hands-free abilities, a 14-inch touchscreen display, triple beam LED headlights, and more.
You can also add some optional packages such as
- the cold weather package ($315), which adds a heated steering wheel and windshield wiper de-icer;
- the navigation package ($1,860), which adds built-in navigation and a rear camera mirror;
- the panoramic sunroof ($1,500); and
- some other accessories such as illuminated door sills ($459) and all-weather floor liners ($269).
The warranty on the NX is also very solid, as it covers four years or 50,000 miles for basic coverage; six years or 70,000 miles for powertrain coverage; eight years or 100,000 miles for hybrid components coverage; four years or unlimited miles for roadside assistance; and two years or 20,000 miles for complimentary maintenance.
The 2023 Lexus NX 350 is a hot ticket for luxury SUV shoppers who want a stylish, comfortable, powerful, and tech-savvy crossover.
The NX 350 has a lot to offer, from its bold and elegant exterior design and roomy and attractive interior to its powerful turbocharged engine and advanced infotainment system. It also has many desirable standard features, a bundle of useful driver aids, and a competitive value proposition.
It’s certainly not perfect (like any other car), as it has some drawbacks, such as dull handling, less cargo space than some rivals, and lower gas mileage than some alternatives.
But overall, it’s an all-around solid compact luxury SUV that deserves your attention. If you’re interested in the 2023 Lexus NX 350, you can check out its official website or visit your local Lexus dealer for more information. You won’t regret it!