IT has to be said that this week’s cool test car is one mean-looking motor.
The new Lexus NX 300h compact crossover could easily be a Bond villain’s chariot of choice with its striking angular lines and menacing front end (Lexus describe the styling as ‘muscular’)… and it would be ideal for sneaking up on 007 too because, being a hybrid, it can motor along in silence in electric vehicle mode.
Mind you, the NX is really one of the good guys because that hybrid layout means it is saving fuel… and the planet.
The cool outside look continues inside with the angular centre console, jutting out from the stylish dashboard, and there are enough gadgets to keep your average super-villain happy.
There are three driving modes, Eco, Normal and Sport. You can also drive on electric motors only up to 30mph.
Then there’s DAB radio, sat nav, rear camera with all round parking sensors, electric heated leather seats, cruise control, keyless entry and start, power tailgate, all-round illuminated door handles with ‘puddle lights’, ABS, brake assist, traction control and tyre pressure monitoring.
One clever development is the fact the car boasts two electric motors so 4x4 driving is available in all modes.
Conventional power comes from a 2,494cc petrol engine which, with the electric motors running too, can deliver almost 200bhp meaning a respectable 0-62 time of 9.2 seconds and top speed is 112mph.
Considering it has that 2.5-litre petrol power plant (which takes over from the electric motors at 30mph or when you put your foot down hard) and it is not a light car (1.9 tonnes), mpg is respectable at more than 55 on a run and, as it is a hybrid, almost the same around town (53). CO2 emissions are more impressive at just 121g/km.
It has street presence in spades, is very comfortable and well equipped, has reasonable performance and fuel economy and prices are not bad too – starting from £29,495 for the two-wheel drive S model through SE, Luxury (our test car) and F-Sport topping out with the Premier version from £42,995.
●● The new Lexus NX