The Lexus NX300 was a great looking car in a beautiful sparkling pearlescent paint and the front of it looked so good that I was hoping it would stack up as a good BabyDrive! Its video game style indicator lights were interesting too! The great exterior styling continued to the interior where it all looked really stylish and the bright red leather made it really stand out!
As a BabyDrive it actually wasn't too bad either! The boot space was surprisingly good, holding 12 shopping bags when empty! All configurations of tandem and single Britax Flexx strollers fitted with shopping bags alongside them and the Britax Holiday compact stroller fitted easily with 10 shopping bags too, or you could fit a medium sized dog in the boot.
I was also very surprised that, at a squeeze, I could fit three child seats across the back row of seats! There are two sets of ISOFix points, one in each of the outer seats, and top tethers in all three seats. The outer two seats have top tethers in their seatbacks and the central seats top tether is in the ceiling along with the central seatbelt. I struggled with the central seatbelt as the first buckle for it is halfway underneath the outer seat base which made installing the seats really tricky!
I managed to fit the three Britax child seats using the seatbelts rather than ISOFix but they were really squeezed in. It was a much better fit with two child seats installed using the ISOFix, there was a lot more space around the seats and they weren't cramped! I think realistically it is a two child-seat car and three on rare occasions.
Storage in the cabin of the NX300 was good, although it did feel compact in the front as the central console and dashboard really wraps around you.
The media system did not have Apple CarPlay or Android Auto but was not too difficult to navigate or to connect to and the sat-nav was easy to use and mute the announcements on the screen!
The Lexus NX scored a five-star ANCAP safety rating in 2017 and has seven airbags as standard.
How much can you fit in the boot of the Lexus NX300?
From empty I could fit 12 shopping bags in the boot which is a fair amount!
The boot of the NX300 is not very deep at all; underneath the boot floor are all the repair kits etc but there is also a large plastic area that you could put wet or dirty items to separate them from the rest of the boot.
There is a 12V socket and an automatic light in the boot too. The floor is nicely carpeted which makes it perfect for an emergency nappy change!
The Britax Flexx single stroller fitted with six shopping bags beside it.
The Britax Holiday compact stroller fitted with 10 shopping bags around it. You could put the Britax Holiday stroller in the footwell in front of a child seat as it really is so compact and give yourself the full boot space for other items.
Or you could put a medium sized dog in the boot but you need to remove the parcel shelf as it is solid, not a retractable blind.
The boot space and its functionality are really important. I like to have a big boot space and little side wells or areas I can divide things into. So something I don’t want to move around while I’m driving such as Tulsi’s lunch bag or her wet swimming gear can be sectioned off in a little well where it’s not going to spill or get squashed by the rest of the things in the boot.
Hooks for securing shopping bags to are also favourites of mine, I like being able to secure the bag containing more fragile things like eggs so they don’t move around on the journey.
I measure the boot space in freezer shopping bags, prams and dogs. Not because I think all there is to a mum’s life is food shopping, prams and dogs. (Although it can feel like it sometimes!!) But because these are visually mesurable items we can all associate with. For me, the car company boot measurement of litres is not an amount I can easily visualise and 400L in one car may differ in usability to that in another due to the configuration or shape of the space.
The storage inside the cabin is good. There are two cup holders in the central console which would hold my large refillable water bottle or a reusable or disposable coffee cup as well.
Beside them is a removable mirror with space underneath as a glasses case as there is not one in the ceiling.
The central console storage box lid doubles as your armrest. Inside there is a tray in the top for cordless charging an iPhone and below is a felt lined storage box of a good size with two USBs, an AUX and a 12V socket in the central console storage box.
The glove box is a really good size too, it is felt lined and has the manual and a first aid kit in there too. I could easily fit my wallet and iPad in with them.
The door bins in the front are not enormous. They will hold a 600ml bottle and iPad or wallet, but they will not hold a large refillable water bottle.
There are little storage wells as handles in all the doors which I find really useful when putting bub in and out of the car for putting the keys or whatever little thing she has in her hands while I buckle her in!
In the back the central seatback has a fold-down armrest with two cup holders in, which would hold a reusable or disposable coffee cup.
The rear door bins will hold a large refillable water bottle but nothing else.
There are two map pockets in the back too, they are solid and will hold an iPad.
How noisy is the Lexus NX300?
The reversing camera has a nice big image that is a little pixelated.
I found the reversing sensors alerted you on the screen in front of the steering wheel as well as on the media screen and loved that the beeping was easily muted using the button on the right of the steering wheel rather than pressing on the media screen.
The lane departure warning in the NX300 is quite a quiet vibration rather than an alarm and would not be disturbing to passengers. You can turn it on and off with a button situated on the steering wheel on the right.
The indicators are nice and quiet too and would not disturb sleeping passengers.
Becoming a parent I soon realised there are some noises and sounds I feel are unnecessary and I could happily live without if it meant my baby stayed asleep!!
That often the distraction of my screaming, distressed baby is more dangerous when driving than not having a lane departure warning for example.
If it is the lane departure warning beeping that creates distress with my baby then which is safest?
It’s where I think we need to be able to strike a balance and choose when we can mute the warnings or swap them to a vibration in the steering wheel or flashing light perhaps?
A lot of these noises come with the increase in technology and especially linked to safety features and alerts. For me these all have their place.
Another thing I have realised is I spend my time in a lot more places where small children roam, parks, beaches, play gyms, swimming lessons, daycare centre etc. I have become more aware that when I’m reversing or manouvering in the car parks I have to tripple check for small children running around behind me or being in my blind spot when reversing. For this I LOVE reversing cameras, I just don’t like their beeping sounds!!
I have become so much more aware of safety and potential accidents or hazards since having a child and so I love the peace of mind that I get from the cameras and sensors combined with my own vision from windows and mirrors as I don’t trust cameras alone.
The sat-nav voice can be turned off easily by touching the volume logo on the left of the screen using the control pad to simply mute the sound. You do not have to search deep within the settings, which is good. The directions for the sat-nav also show up on the digital display in front of the steering wheel as well as on the media screen.
There is no Apple CarPlay or Android Auto in the NX300 and the media system is not too bad to use and connect your phone to.
The windows of the NX300 do open and close nice and quietly. Lexus has a slow close mechanism on their windows which means they do not close with a thump like other car windows do.
You can come to a stop in the Lexus NX300, leaving the engine on and get out of the car without an alarm sounding which is really good for not waking sleeping passengers!!
Since becoming a mum I spend A LOT of time parked up somewhere with a nice view while my daughter is asleep in the back! If it's hot I need to leave the engine running and the aircon on but I do like to get out and drink my cuppa tea in the fresh air while enjoying the fact my limbs are free from said dangling child!!
SO this is a very important test as I have found that sometimes I have been held hostage by a cars BEEEEPING alarms when I have taken off my seatbelt or opened the door while the engine is still running!! (I only stand outside the car, I am not a bad mother!!)
The engine had a definite grunt, I don't think it was disturbing for passengers but I was surprised by it! There was very little road noise which was good!
The seatbelt removal alarm sounded if any seatbelt was removed while driving.
How many child seats can I fit in the Lexus NX300?
There are two ISOFix points in the back of the Lexus NX300, one in each of the outer seats. They are not within plastic guides, but are hidden in the gap between the seat base and seat backs and I found they were quite easy to connect to.
There are three top tether points in the back; for the two outer seats they are in their seatbacks and easily accessible through the boot, while the one for the central seat is in the ceiling just behind the headrest. They are all within plastic guides and easy to locate. But because the central seatbelt also comes from the ceiling, combined with the top tether they really affect rear visibility for the driver.
I found I could install three child seats in the back of the NX300 using the seatbelts instead of the ISOFix. I did have to use a towel to level the rear-facing Britax Graphene child seat because of the shaping of the seat base. I installed the Britax Maxi Guard Pro and Britax Kid Guard Pro forward facing. It was a very tight squeeze and was made even more difficult because the central seatbelt is a two buckle system with one halfway underneath the outer child seat, making it really difficult to connect to.
Two child seats fitted really nicely using the ISO Fix, they had space around them and it wasn't such a tight squeeze. I would definitely recommend it as an occasional three child seat car rather than being used in this way full time.
With a rear-facing child seat installed you have 22cm of legroom for the front passenger which is really good! One thing I dislike about the Lexus front seats is when you turn off the engine the driver's seat moves back, giving the driver space to get out but crushes the person or child seat sitting behind it!!! I later found you could turn this feature off though.
Posting bub in and out of their child seats was fine, the ceiling was high enough in the back that you had room and from the outside the door openings were big enough.
Australia being a country of weather extremes- blazing sun and torrential rain, mean you may find it easier to put Bub into their seat from inside the car sometimes. If it’s hot you can get the air-con going, cool the car down and not stand out in the sun while you fasten them in or shelter from the rain and not get soaked yourself whilst you’re doing it. So it is important to test whether Bub can be easily installed from either direction!
With only one child seat installed you could feed bub in the back easily with enough space.
Is the Lexus NX300 a comfortable car?
I found the seats to be very comfortable; they are electronically adjusted with switches and they are both heated and cooled with lovely little compact buttons and switches on the dashboard.
The headrests do not allow for a ponytail though which was disappointing.
I had spent hours styling my hair this morning to get this ponytail just right too… said no new mum ever!!!
The steering wheel was fully adjustable up/down and in/out with an electric joystick adjustment on the side. I really like this method of adjustment as I feel like you can get the steering wheel exactly where you want it rather than the clunky manual levers.
The cruise control was accurate at high speeds on the motorway for example, but I found at 60km on undulating roads it ran away with itself and really struggled to stick to the set speed and got carried away up to 10km over the set speed! The controls were easy to use and situated on a separate stick behind the right of the steering wheel.
You can change the display in front of the steering wheel easily using the buttons on the right of the steering wheel to show you the distance to empty with the fuel which I find really useful.
The distance to empty display becomes extra important as a mum because getting fuel with a baby is a whole new world of difficult. If they are screaming in the car you definitely do not want your journey prolonged with a fuel stop! If they are asleep the turning off of the engine, doors opening and locking and unlocking, then re-opening the doors and closing, starting the engine again, beepers going off because you haven’t got your seatbelt on when you start the car or because you blink in the wrong direction, do you take them out of the car when you go in to pay? If you do will you get them back in the seat again or will they have a complete meltdown and you’ll be stuck on the fuel station forecourt with a screaming baby!! Hopefully you are starting to gather the anxiety that what was once a simple fuel stop can be for a mum!!!!
The aircon controls on the dashboard of the NX300 are really nice discreet little dials that are easy and simple to use without being enormous, they are one of my favourite features in the NX300!
There are four vents across the dashboard, two in the centre and one at either end.
In the back, there are air vents in the back of the central console box
Visibility is difficult out of the rear of the NX300, especially the because the rear side pillars are enormous areas of black plastic causing huge blind spots. The third side windows are tiny little triangles that do not offer any visibility at all really.
The side windows slope up towards the back too so you do have to rely heavily on the sensors, cameras and side mirrors. This also affects visibility for rear passengers in front and rear-facing child seats especially. Add the central seatbelt and top tether coming from the ceiling and three child seats in the back and as the driver, you really can't see much out of the back of the car at all!
One thing I have noticed since being a mum is I hate it when I reach a destination or get home from being out and Tulsi has either done really well in the car or she is screaming her head off and I have done really well to keep it together for the entire journey (usually the latter!!) and it takes 10 minutes to park the car! It can be really stressful. Usually I dread when we get cars with poor visibility as they take longer in our tight apartment block carpark, although the NX300 is only a mid sized SUV it was tricky to reverse park because of the prro visibility!
There are lit vanity mirrors in both front visors but they are not extendable visors.
The interior lights in the back are reachable from the front, they are in the ceiling between the front seatbacks so you can turn them on and off while driving. The interior lights are also touch-on and have nice dim lights that are good for night time driving.
I have found Tulsi does not like travelling in the dark in the car so if it gets dark whilst travelling then I reach back and turn the interior light on for her. So it’s really important for me that I can reach the rear ceiling light.
Also if I am traveling home and it is getting near to bed time and I DEFINITELY DON’T want her to fall asleep in the car as even a 5minute nap in the car means bed time is all over!!!! I lean back and pop the light on so it’s not dark and try to keep her awake!! Along with screaming/singing at the top of my voice!!!
It is also useful when there are lights situated above the doors where the handles are usually positioned. These are good for when putting baby into their child seats when visibility is poor, so you do not have to reach across them to a light situated in the ceiling centrally etc.
Driving the NX300 felt sturdy on the road and was good to drive around town as well as on motorways. It was very easy to speed in the Lexus as you definitely do not feel the speed you are travelling and are quite cocooned from the outside world.
There are handles in the back that could hold a baby toy but they are positioned a bit too far back along the ceiling.
There are nice carpet floor mats throughout the car and there is keyless entry and a powered tailgate that gives one initial loud beep to open and to close.
The Lexus NX300 is a very nicely styled car inside and out. It feels like the surfaces are of a good quality and the contrast stitching to tie in with the contrast red leather is a nice detail too. The seats are perforated though, which of course traps crumbs, sand and other child detritus and is not as easy to clean as smooth leather seats.
The doors do not use the perforated leather so they would wipe clean easily. They do have a nice silver metal reptile skin metal panel which has an interesting feel and texture.
The Lexus NX is equipped with seven SRS airbags as standard. Front and side airbags for both front passengers and a knee airbag for the driver, as well as curtain head airbags offering protection for the rear side passengers.
The NX scored a five-star ANCAP safety rating in 2017, getting 35.39 out of 37.
In the frontal offset test, the Lexus scored 14.39 out of 16, with a perfect 16 points awarded in the side impact test and a maximum 2 points in the pole test. Whiplash protection was rated ‘good’ and pedestrian protection ‘acceptable’.
The NX range comes with adaptive cruise control (ACC), antilock braking system (ABS), autonomous emergency braking (AEB), automatic headlights, automatic high beam, electronic brakeforce distribution (EBD), emergency stop signal (ESS), electronic stability control (ESC), emergency brake assist (EBA), lane support system (LSS), daytime running lights (DRL), reversing collision avoidance and hill launch assist as standard. Some variants come with blind spot monitoring (BSM).
Some of these safety features are also features that drive me crazy as a mum! Like the lane departure and forward collision alert or the parking sensor beeping sound. I want all the safety technology AND to be able to mute the sound when Tulsi’s asleep!