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How Far Can a 2022 Lexus NX 450h+ Plug-in Hybrid Go on Electricity Alone?

lexus-nx-450h2B-f-sport-2022-01-exterior-front-angle 2022 Lexus NX 450h+ | Cars.com photo by Aaron Bragman

Few companies on the planet do hybrids as well as Toyota and Lexus — they pretty much invented the segment a couple of decades ago now and have managed to stuff a gas-electric hybrid powertrain under the hood of just about everything they sell. And while we wait for full electrification from the brands, we have this to satisfy our silent motoring needs: the 2022 Lexus NX 450h+ F Sport plug-in hybrid. It’s the top version of Lexus’ NX luxury compact SUV, which is based largely off the Toyota RAV4’s underpinnings but sufficiently fancied up with some Lexus refinement and smoothness. Given it’s got an EV mode and a pretty decent EPA-estimated electric range of up to 37 miles, we decided to see how far we could go on a single charge before the gas engine kicked in to keep things humming along.

Related: 2022 Lexus NX Review: A Day Late, Not as Short

The Ride

2022 Lexus NX 450h+ | Cars.com photo by Aaron Bragman 2022 Lexus NX 450h+ | Cars.com photo by Aaron Bragman 2022 Lexus NX 450h+ | Cars.com photo by Aaron Bragman 2022 Lexus NX 450h+ | Cars.com photo by Aaron Bragman 2022 Lexus NX 450h+ | Cars.com photo by Aaron Bragman 2022 Lexus NX 450h+ | Cars.com photo by Aaron Bragman 2022 Lexus NX 450h+ | Cars.com photo by Aaron Bragman 2022 Lexus NX 450h+ | Cars.com photo by Aaron Bragman 2022 Lexus NX 450h+ | Cars.com photo by Aaron Bragman 2022 Lexus NX 450h+ | Cars.com photo by Aaron Bragman 2022 Lexus NX 450h+ | Cars.com photo by Aaron Bragman 2022 Lexus NX 450h+ | Cars.com photo by Aaron Bragman 2022 Lexus NX 450h+ | Cars.com photo by Aaron Bragman 2022 Lexus NX 450h+ | Cars.com photo by Aaron Bragman 2022 Lexus NX 450h+ | Cars.com photo by Aaron Bragman 2022 Lexus NX 450h+ | Cars.com photo by Aaron Bragman 2022 Lexus NX 450h+ | Cars.com photo by Aaron Bragman 2022 Lexus NX 450h+ | Cars.com photo by Aaron Bragman 2022 Lexus NX 450h+ | Cars.com photo by Aaron Bragman 2022 Lexus NX 450h+ | Cars.com photo by Aaron Bragman 2022 Lexus NX 450h+ | Cars.com photo by Aaron Bragman 2022 Lexus NX 450h+ | Cars.com photo by Aaron Bragman 2022 Lexus NX 450h+ | Cars.com photo by Aaron Bragman 2022 Lexus NX 450h+ | Cars.com photo by Aaron Bragman 2022 Lexus NX 450h+ | Cars.com photo by Aaron Bragman 2022 Lexus NX 450h+ | Cars.com photo by Aaron Bragman 2022 Lexus NX 450h+ | Cars.com photo by Aaron Bragman 2022 Lexus NX 450h+ | Cars.com photo by Aaron Bragman

Completely redesigned for the 2022 model year, we had our first spin in the NX way back in October of 2021, and while we were able to drive several versions of the NX (it has multiple available powertrains), our experience in the top 450h+ PHEV was limited due to the SUV’s battery being depleted by the time we were able to get some seat time in it.

Not so this time around. What we have here is a plug-in powertrain that combines a 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine, multiple electric motors and a lithium-ion battery pack. Its system output is 302 horsepower, and it can scoot the NX from 0-60 mph in just 6 seconds flat, according to Lexus. In addition to the aforementioned 37 miles of EPA-rated electric range, the NX 450h+ is rated 36 mpg combined when operating as a hybrid. An optional 6.6-kilowatt onboard charger makes quick work of recharging the NX 450h+ when using a 240-volt Level 2 charger; DC fast charging is not an option, but given how you have a gas engine for longer trips, it’s not needed.

Price as tested for this 2022 NX 450h+ F Sport: $63,530 (all prices include destination), a price which has gone up for the 2023 model year; a comparably optioned ‘23 version costs $64,800.

The Route

lexus-nx-450h2B-f-sport-2022-16-interior-center-stack-display 2022 Lexus NX 450h+ | Cars.com photo by Aaron Bragman

My PHEV testing route is a simple one: a 50-mile loop from the Cars.com Detroit bureau office in Ann Arbor, Mich., to Dearborn, Mich., and back. It consists of a mix of urban stop-and-go and higher-speed divided highway driving, and speeds are kept to 55 mph and under, always within 5 mph of the posted limit. Tires are checked before launch, the gas tank is full, and the climate control is switched off; this is a test to see how far the car can actually go, not a “real world” journey, so things that cause unnecessary load on the system are minimized. Hypermiling activities are not allowed, however; I keep up with traffic using regular acceleration and braking behavior. Everyone hates hypermilers. Don’t be that guy.

My test was performed on a recent chilly February day with an ambient temperature of 38 degrees Fahrenheit and some gusty tailwinds at my back for the eastbound half of the trip that became gusty headwinds for the westbound second half of the loop. Indeed, I was successful in answering the question: How far can a Lexus NX 450h+ actually go on EV power alone with a full charge?

The Results

2022 Lexus NX 450h+ | Cars.com photo by Aaron Bragman 2022 Lexus NX 450h+ | Cars.com photo by Aaron Bragman 2022 Lexus NX 450h+ | Cars.com photo by Aaron Bragman 2022 Lexus NX 450h+ | Cars.com photo by Aaron Bragman 2022 Lexus NX 450h+ | Cars.com photo by Aaron Bragman 2022 Lexus NX 450h+ | Cars.com photo by Aaron Bragman 2022 Lexus NX 450h+ | Cars.com photo by Aaron Bragman 2022 Lexus NX 450h+ | Cars.com photo by Aaron Bragman 2022 Lexus NX 450h+ | Cars.com photo by Aaron Bragman 2022 Lexus NX 450h+ | Cars.com photo by Aaron Bragman 2022 Lexus NX 450h+ | Cars.com photo by Aaron Bragman 2022 Lexus NX 450h+ | Cars.com photo by Aaron Bragman 2022 Lexus NX 450h+ | Cars.com photo by Aaron Bragman 2022 Lexus NX 450h+ | Cars.com photo by Aaron Bragman

One nice thing about the Lexus is that it allows you to select your drive mode (EV only, hybrid mix, or even a battery-charging mode) and the car sticks to it. Setting out from the starting point, I drove normally and as I typically would, and not once did the NX request to turn on the gas engine (unlike what a Lincoln Corsair tries to do). It might have been different had I turned on the climate controls to heat the cabin, but I didn’t — I instead made do with heated seats and steering wheel, plus a thick sweater, and I found this eminently tolerable.

The NX in full electric mode is perfectly excellent to drive — it doesn’t feel pokey or limited in the slightest. It will happily motor along at 55 mph in full EV mode, as well, and while that might not be its most efficient place, it’ll still do it, pleasing people who want their PHEV to be an EV until the battery is depleted to the point where it simply can’t anymore and the gas engine has to kick on. Though the EPA rates all-electric range of the 2022 Lexus NX 450h+ at 37 miles, my test saw the little SUV do 42 miles before the battery said it needed some dinosaur-derived assistance. Even at that point, the battery was not depleted — the meter said it still had one-third to one-quarter charge left, but this charge was needed to keep the NX operating in hybrid mode (full EVs also never totally deplete their batteries, despite what the gauges may tell you).

So as a plug-in hybrid, the NX 450h+ works quite well. It does emit some rather unusual noises, however, ones you’d think Lexus would’ve been able to quell by now considering its Toyota parent has more than two decades of hybrid experience at this point. And the rest of the NX itself is … competitive with its contemporaries in the class, but not class-leading in any way. It’s comfortable enough (the seats are oddly bolstered, though, and feel too high), handles well and features a huge new multimedia screen that looks good but wastes a lot of space without providing user-friendly features that competitors offer (there’s no “home” screen, for instance).

As for its availability, that’s gotten only marginally better as the chip shortage has eased: As of publication, there were just over 100 new or used NX 450h+ models for sale nationwide on Cars.com, meaning they’re still a rarity. If you’re interested in Lexus’ first-ever plug-in hybrid and want a compact SUV (a larger RX 450h+ is on the way), it’s worth seeking out the overdelivering NX 450h+ for your commuting needs.

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Detroit Bureau Chief Aaron Bragman has had over 25 years of experience in the auto industry as a journalist, analyst, purchasing agent and program manager. Bragman grew up around his father’s classic Triumph sports cars (which were all sold and gone when he turned 16, much to his frustration) and comes from a Detroit family where cars put food on tables as much as smiles on faces. Today, he’s a member of the Automotive Press Association and the Midwest Automotive Media Association. His pronouns are he/him, but his adjectives are fat/sassy. Email Aaron Bragman

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