Road Test: 2021 Lexus NX 300h F Sport Black Line

The Lexus NX 300h F Sport remains one of the sharpest looking hybrid crossovers on the road, and with the limited edition Black Line, it’s even more unique. Lexus unveiled the Black Line of the NX300 this past summer, promising only 1,000 would be made, so we were excited to have the opportunity to see the new Grecian Water paint, dark finish wheels, and blue stitching inside.

Exterior

Lexus pushes the envelope with NX, using unique colors, finishes, and textures that separate it from its rivals. The new paint looks stunning and contrasts well with the gloss black mirror caps.

The crouching, muscular stance of the NX stems in part from providing good ramp-over angles, while also having the highest point of the vehicle set back toward the rear of the roof. A sharply raked tailgate and integrated spoiler are punctuated by Lexus’ signature L-shape light clusters featuring seamless LED illumination, with tailgate detailing that echoes the updated spindle grille design.

The LED theme continues with standard power folding outside mirrors that house turn signal lights. And, a single LED elegantly streams a welcoming beam of light along the top of the door handle and to the ground as the driver approaches. We love the look.  

The F SPORT’s unique instrumentation was inspired by the Lexus LFA supercar. The driver can view real-time performance with the Lexus-first G-Force meter “G-ball” in the Multi Information Display. The G-ball moves in response to the vehicle’s lateral and longitudinal forces. The MID displays the peak force in each direction. Display bars indicate the steering angle, throttle opening angle and brake pressure. The MID also provides a turbo-boost display.

Interior

Body-hugging, quilted NuLuxe sport seats are exclusive to the F SPORT. The perforated leather F SPORT heated steering wheel and brushed metallic gearshift are unique too.

The heated/ventilated front seats work well. Renowned Lexus detailing shows in the front dome lights and map light that illuminate at the light touch of a finger. Footwell lighting accentuates the luxury ambiance.

Designers carved out maximum space with the NX design.  There is plenty of room to carry your passengers and gear – or anything else.  Storage in four compartments beneath the cargo floor provide space for keeping your valuables out of sight.  There’s a place for everything throughout the cabin, including a large glove box and console box, a console mid-tray, utility box, sunglasses holder, two front and two rear cup holders and front and rear door pockets. 

The standard 60/40 split rear seat with recline are comfortable and roomy. . The power liftgate, which includes memory height, likewise can be operated by switches on the instrument panel, door and key fob.

Cargo room is a fantastic 16.8 cu. ft. with the seats up and almost 54 cu. ft. with the rear seats down.

Powertrain

Under the hood, NX 300h uses a 2.5-liter four-cylinder hybrid engine producing 154 horsepower. It’s mated to a CVT and always feels peppy and ready to launch thanks to the instant torque of the electric motors.

Handling is smooth, responsible, and dare we say agile. You can feel a bit of the sporty IS 300 sports sedan in the NX’s bones.

The Drive Mode Select dial on the center console adjusts parameters for multiple systems, including throttle response and the power steering assist curve. The default setting is Normal. Sport mode sharpens responses, and ECO mode pushes more fuel-efficient driving.

AWD helps provide maximum traction and cornering control. Taking input from various sensors (vehicle speed, steering speed and angle, throttle angle and yaw rate), the system continuously monitors and actively governs torque distribution to the rear wheels, as needed.

Infotainment

For the interior design of the NX, the center console remains the focal point, thanks to a high definition display and a second-generation Remote Touch Interface (RTI) that’s 30 percent larger. 

Anyone who’s used a smartphone or tablet will feel immediately familiar with the RTI, which uses a touchpad with palm rest in the center console. The RTI helps the driver access various functions while staying focused on the road. The front-seat passenger can also easily operate the RTI.

Apple CarPlay is standard and works perfectly. Android Auto owners will also enjoy the intuitive system inputs through the RTI.

Safety

The Lexus Safety System+ 2.0, including low-light pedestrian detection and bicyclist detection technology, is standard. We’re impressed by how well the adaptive cruise works.

Ultrasonic sensors in the front and rear help in parking situations, and the backup camera is sharp.

Lexus Enform telematics is standard and includes the safety, security, and concierge features that make owning an NX that much more special.

Summary

With only 1,000 Black Line special editions being produced, this unique 2021 Lexus NX 300h F Sport is extra special. But the regular NX 300h F Sport is equally as fantastic, and with the right balance of size, efficiency, and luxury, we couldn’t be more impressed.

Summary Scorecard (1-10)
Ride and Handling9
Braking10
Powertrain and Fuel Economy10
Noise10
Headlights9
Interior Fit and Finish10
Seating9
Visibility9
Gauges and Controls10
Infotainment9
Crash-Avoidance10
Total Score95

Make: Lexus
Model: NX 300h
Trim Level: Black Line
Engine: 2.5L 4-Cylinder Hybrid
Transmission: CVT
Options: None

Base Price: $46,810
As-Tested Price: $46,810

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