Is the Lexus NX 300 the best SUV for family adventure? Vegetarian TravelingMom Judy Antell spent a week driving in NYC and was impressed with the luxury crossover’s sweet spot: big enough for a family for five, but small enough the maneuver through city streets.
In New York City, every inch matters. Sub Zero refrigerators come in slightly smaller versions to fit into apartment elevators and through brownstone doors. Bikes fold up. A longer car can’t be parked as easily on the street, or requires an extra large parking spot in a garage, with an extra monthly charge. So the slightly downsized Lexus NX 300 is ideal when driving in NYC.
Is the Lexus NX 300h the best SUV for family adventure?
For the Lexus NX 300h, less is more. This luxury crossover is a couple of inches smaller than its bigger sibling, the RX. But the SUV still has the refined feeling, along with plenty of legroom and headroom, that you expect from a luxury car. When my sibling came over with his Lexus RX, I drove everyone for ice cream comfortably in the NX. An adult family adventure with no complaining!
Moreover, that slightly smaller size, plus a 4 cylinder (as opposed to 6 cylinder) engine means the hybrid version, which I drove for a week, gets 33 miles per gallon in the city. And in New York City, where gas stations are as endangered as white tigers, having to fill the tank less often is a blessing.
The Lexus hybrid actually gets better mileage in the city than on the highway, though it is a respectable 30 miles per gallon on the highway.
Optional (but necessary) equipment
The Lexus NX that I drove had wireless device charging – though you need a special case for this to work – along with several charging ports.
The Qi wireless charging was just one option on this fully loaded vehicle. It also had a navigation package that included a premium sound system and a remote touch interface. It was easy to master the touchpad on the center console. This helps you maneuver around the infotainment system easily.
Get to the navigation screen or audio system quickly and there are steering wheels controls as well. You can’t enter an address in the navigation system while the vehicle is in motion, but if you haven’t pre-loaded your destination before setting off, use the voice commands or call up directions from an actual human being. The voice commands worked well, as long as you followed the prompts, and the live directions quickly downloaded to the system.
The Lexus also had a luxury package with wood interior trim, heated leather steering wheel, heated and cooled leather seats in the front, rain-sensing wipers, and a power moonroof. The luxury options made me think of all the luxuries that New Yorkers demand. We have to have orchestra seats for a hit Broadway musical, of course, but premium orchestra seats (and three times the price) are what we require. And anyone with the Open Table app can get a reservation at a restaurant, but a New Yorker has more exclusive apps, like Resy, for even more exclusive restaurants.
Fully loaded, the Lexus NX 300h retails for almost $52,000. Though it doesn’t qualify for tax credits like a plug-in hybrid, you do save on gas. And you get 24/7 roadside assistance, so no need for AAA.
Holiday driving in New York
I drove the Lexus NX 300h over the July 4th weekend, a time when many New Yorkers head for their second homes. This means that traffic is light, and you can drive around Manhattan with ease. On a hot day, we drove to the Upper East Side to explore Central Park. We also drove to a beach in a gated community that is only accessible by car.
I filled the generous hatchback with plants from a nearby garden store and shopped for a barbecue at Fairway. The cargo area is roomy enough for luggage for a five and is easily accessible via the key fob. Hands-free is so sensible when you are juggling packages, children, and strollers.