By on September 9, 2017

2018 Lexus NX300h - Image: LexusThe Lexus NX, set for a MY2018 refresh, is one of America’s three most popular premium brand utility vehicles, but Lexus clearly wants customers to feel even more free to choose the pricier NX hybrid.

For the 2018 model year, CarsDirect has learned that Lexus will include the full compliment of Safety System+ active safety features as standard equipment on both the NX300 (formerly known as the NX20ot) and NX300h, but the hybrid’s additional kit is accompanied by a significant $1,385 price cut.

In fact, with the additional equipment factored in, the price reduction is even more noteworthy. Pre-collision and dynamic radar cruise control were worth $900 on the 2017 Lexus NX300h, which essentially means the NX300h’s base price has been chopped by $2,285.

Perhaps Lexus isn’t content with holding the gold and bronze-medal positions on the luxury SUV/crossover sales leaderboard. Could serious price alterations be what it takes for Lexus to be the builder of America’s two best-selling luxury utility vehicles in 2018?

One thing we know: the Lexus RX isn’t about to give up its top perch. Consistently the top dog in America’s luxury SUV/crossover wars, the RX is outselling the second-ranked Cadillac XT5 by a 57-percent margin — a 24,222-unit sales gap — through 2017’s first eight months. The Lexus NX, meanwhile, is roughly 5,600 sales back of the Cadillac.

By all accounts, the Lexus NX was never supposed to be this much of a hit. Early on, we realized that Lexus was benefiting from the NX’s insertion into the lineup because it wasn’t cannibalizing the RX, also a two-row semi-affordable luxury crossover. That brotherly love is continuing despite the fact that the NX generates twice as many sales as Lexus anticipated. Lexus hoped to sell 2,200 NXs per month in the United States. So far this year, Lexus is selling 4,600 NXs per month.

But Lexus clearly wants the NX300h to play a bigger role in the lineup’s success. According to, the NX hybrid accounts for just 5 percent of the NXs sold in America so far this year. Compare that with an 8-percent share for Lexus’ RX hybrid and Toyota Highlander Hybrid and an 11-percent take rate for the Toyota RAV4 Hybrid.

With the 2018 Lexus NX300h’s price cut to $39,330, it’s just $950 more than the cost of getting into a non-hybrid all-wheel-drive Lexus NX300. (The NX300h comes standard with all-wheel drive.) Last year, the leap to the NX hybrid was worth $3,235.

[Image: Toyota Motor Corp.]

Timothy Cain is a contributing analyst at The Truth About Cars and and the founder and former editor of Follow on Twitter @timcaincars and Instagram.

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12 Comments on “Shrinking Hybrid Premiums: 2018 Lexus NX300h Gets More Equipment, Much Lower Price...”

  • avatar

    If only it had got a nose job. The front of that thing looks like some awful facial deformity.

    • 0 avatar

      That’s the F Sport nose. The standard nose is not pretty by any stretch, but it’s far less heinous the F Sport’s.

      Part of it can by explained by my becoming numb to the ugly designs of the 2010s, but the non-F Sport NX doesn’t look as bad in person as it does in photos. It wears the current Lexus design language better than does the RX. Damning with faint praise, I realize . . . .

  • avatar

    Interesting that hybrid share is so low (generally under 10%) when the price gap has gotten so small. Toyota’s hybrids generally have an ok to very good reputation for drivability, reliability, and durability, so any lingering consumer concerns about those issues should be minor. Given that so many of these Toyota/Lexus hybrids now come in the SUV/CUV body style so beloved by soccer-moms, the fuel savings should be substantial for urban school-run duties. On the other hand, if supply constraints are the problem, then it would seem likely that Toyota doesn’t wish to sell more perhaps because they lose money on the hybrid versions, but then it doesn’t really make sense to cut the prices unless they are again fixated on taking global number 1 sales status away from VW, or need the sales to allow more pickup sales without running into CAFE compliance problems.

  • avatar

    You mean “complement.” A “compliment” is when someone says something nice about you, such as “Gee, this site spends money on proofreading.”

  • avatar

    Shrinking Hybrid Premiums? Lincoln has never asked you to pay a premium for a hybrid MKZ.

  • avatar

    What I don’t understand about people buying these. The issue is that the interior quality and luxury or not very high. Yet folks are picking this over and MKC which by the way has his own issues in droves.

    • 0 avatar
      el scotto

      Has the “L” on the nose, Toyota reliability, Lexus service, Lexus resale value, and Lexus Total Cost of Ownership (TCO). Sadly, Lincolns make a great used car buy. Lincoln’s pick-up/deliver your car for maintenance may change things in the luxury car market. However a 5’4 person fits nicely in an MKC and it has purseholder too. Wait! Designed for a shorter person? little touches that matter, and never having to deal with “J.R. and ma’am your floor mats need defuzzed for $79.95”? Lincoln might just become the American Acura. That ain’t a bad thing.

    • 0 avatar

      People buy this and the other FWD-based crossovers on the value proposition, compared to the RWD-based crossovers from MB and BMW.

  • avatar

    I have always considered the NX an ultra-niche vehicle, having seen about 5 of them since they were first released (the f*cking RX, love it or hate it, seems to be standard issue for people in virtually all walks of life).

    I also never really understood the CT, but I was just glad to see any premium brand hatchbacks around.

  • avatar

    Because nobody wants them, car companies are building them to just satisfy CAFE, which means the rest of us are subsidizing hybrids.

    The NX is a hot seller, so they fact that are forced to cut the hybrid premium means they are having problems moving that specific option on them.

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