Christopher Little

Quick Spin: 2021 Lexus NX 300h F Sport

Exactly 7 years to the week, we enjoyed our first drive of a pre-production 2015 Lexus NX200t. Now in its final year before a new second generation, Lexus is giving the first-gen luxury crossover a bit of a victory lap. We decided to reacquaint ourselves with the NX300h F Sport Black Line to send off one of the first all-new models we’ve ever tested.

The NX 300h F Sport Black Line is a 1000-unit special edition model that comes with several visual distinctions, some of which have not available on any NX to date. Our Grecian Water tester’s bright and deeply metallic blue hue is one of three special exterior colors along side Ultra White and Obsidian. The F Sport model also receives the brand’s sportier front grille and bumper design and 18″ dark chrome wheels. Black mirror caps and color-keyed fender arches help set the Black Line apart from any other NX. Inside, the blue theme continues with blue stitching and floor mats with matching blue piping. Its a refreshingly bold color for a crossover, and the extra flair from the painted wheel arches give this Black Line NX a bit more glam. One special perk of being a lucky Black Line Special Edition owner is a customized two-piece set of travel cases from Zero Halliburton. That means your NX will arrive ready for wherever the road takes you.

This 2021 NX 300h F Sport combines output from a 2.5L four-cylinder engine and a high-torque electric motor. The combined platform delivers 194 horsepower. The NX 300h also gets on-demand all-wheel-drive thanks to a second electric motor that can drive the rear wheels. If that recipe sounds familiar, it’s because the 2021 Toyota RAV4 Hybrid utilizes the same powertrain. That’s not a bad thing, netting us 28.1MPG in a week of mixed driving. But the NX arrived on the heels of a week with the Toyota RAV4 Prime, a PHEV with a powertrain so good, it left us a bit disappointed at the helm of the NX. Not only did we miss the greater electric torque, the NX’s regenerative brakes felt dated versus the Prime’s brake pedal. We’ll have more on the 2021 Toyota RAV4 Prime next week. And fret not, Lexus buyers, the 2022 NX will feature a trim with that same PHEV powertrain.

Inside, the NX 300h F Sport combines Lexus’ trademark material quality and attention-to-detail with the F Sport trim’s touches of slightly more contoured seats and sport steering wheel. Its a very nice place to be. But the first-gen NX suffers with a bit too much road noise, especially noticeable on local roads when the engine cuts out. We were also dismayed that our $46k luxury crossover didn’t have onboard navigation or Android Auto connectivity. The 2022 NX should come to the rescue again here, as well, as it promises to feature an all-new infotainment system and interface. We’ll be glad when the track-pad days are finally behind us.

The 2021 Lexus NX 300h F Sport Black Line Special Edition is a suitable send-off. The sedate luxury crossover shines in a bright color, the sharp styling and flared fenders accented by the Grecian Water blue. The F Sport front end, dark wheel, and black mirror caps provide some contrast for the deeply metallic paint job. The blue accents carried cohesively throughout the cabin adds to the appeal. A comfortable cabin and excellent fuel economy round out the NX’s strong suits. But it is showing its age. A new 2022 Lexus NX is around the corner, and we can’t wait to jump behind the wheel.

-Christopher Little

2021 Lexus NX 300h F Sport Black Line Special Edition$46,840
Destination Charges$1,075
As-Tested MSRP$47,915

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