2018 Lexus NX 300 Hybrid and F Sport adventure in the Okanagan Valley

Lexus updated the 2018 NX series with a new design and the latest driver assistance technologies with Lexus Enform and Lexus Safety System+. We recently got invited by Lexus Canada to test drive the new 2018 Lexus NX 300 Hybrid and F Sport in the Okanagan Valley. The NX series was the fist Lexus model to enter the luxury compact SUV segment and currently the 2nd best selling Lexus vehicle after the Lexus RX.

For 2018, the NX got a new signature spindle grille and redesigned LED headlights with triple projectors similar to those on the Lexus LC luxury coupe.

The sporty NX is available in 3 trim models: NX 300, NX 300 F SPORT, NX 300h Hybrid.

Upon arriving at Kelowna International Airport, we got a quick briefing and were ready to drive the 2018 Lexus NX 300h Hybrid to Penticton.

The NX 300h features Lexus Hybrid Drive built specifically for this model. It is powered by a 2.5L Atkinson cycle four-cylinder engine paired with an electric motor producing 194 horsepower. You can fine tuned the driving mode between Sport, Normal and Eco. For city driving, Eco mode was smoother and more balanced plus increased fuel efficiency to 7.1/7.7 L/100 km (city/highway).

On the highway, we switched to Sport mode which alters the powertrain for faster and more dynamic throttle response. Sport mode is alot more fun to drive along the scenic Okanagan highway.

Lexus is commitment to the principles of Omotenashi which means hospitality in Japanese. It’s taking pride in anticipating and fulfilling people’s needs in advance. The unique approach to hospitality is apparent in the luxurious cabin with leather and metal trim. The refined interior make you feel safe, comfortable and totally at ease. There’s plenty of headroom and legroom for both front and rear passengers.

New for 2018, the centre dashboard gets an upgraded 10.3″ display with a 8” audio display monitor. In addition, all models are standard equipped with paddle shifters, new larger console-mounted touchpad, smartphone wireless charging and USB ports.

Another brand new feature is Lexus Enform an all-in-one connectivity, navigation and infotainment system.

Lexus Enform Safety Connect offers you the peace of mind of knowing that Roadside Assistance can be there when you need it most. At the push of a button, it connects you to a 24-hour Safety Connect response centre agent. The agent can send emergency services to your vehicle’s location and stay on the line with you until help arrives.

While Lexus Enform Destination Assist is your 24-hour concierge service to help you book restaurant reservation, find local points of interest and remotely send the destination address to your vehicle’s navigation system.

Lexus Enform App Suite 2.0 is your in-car app library and you can download additional apps via your smartphone. It comes pre-loaded with Yelp, NPR One, Slacker Radio, Sports, Stocks, Fuel, Weather and Traffic.

The 2018 NX is equipped with Lexus Safety System+, a range of active safety and driver assistance features. The comprehensive safety system includes Pre-Collision System (PCS), Dynamic Radar Cruise Control System, Lane Departure Alert (LDA), Automatic High Beam (AHB) and Intelligent Clearance Sonar (ICS).

Another handy feature is Panoramic View Monitor. There are four high-resolution cameras mounted on the front, sides and rear of the vehicle to give you a bird’s-eye view of your surrounding. It will help assist you with parking and tight maneuvering.


For lunch, we headed to Chef Chris Van Hooydonk’s Backyard Farm in Oliver. The Chef’s Table is a private, intimate dining room that seats up to 20.

Inspired by farm to table philosophy, Chef Chris sources the freshest, seasonal and sustainable ingredients within his 2 acre farm or from local producers. All meats are ethically and sustainably raised non-medicated and without hormones and antibiotics. Seafood is sourced taking care to ensure they are Ocean Wise certified.

It was truly a unique culinary experience and Chef Chris’ love of his craft really show in every dish. We started with a grilled backyard heritage apple and triple cream brie ‘tatin’, house cured bacon-pumpkin seed shortbread, pomegranate, sunflower sprout and fig pulp emulsion.

Our main was peace country free-range wild boar cannelloni, autumn squash puree, parsnip and local mushroom cream, baby organic beet, thumbelina carrot, burst grape tomato and arugula.

For dessert, it was 55% cluizel chocolate and coconut panna cotta, anise caramel, red wine spiced backyard cherries and local wolf tree coffee-pecan wafer.

After being well fed by Chef Chris, we switched to the 2018 Lexus NX 300 F Sport. At first glance, it is more bold and aggressive with a pronounced mesh grille with jet-black plating and 18″ bright machined finish wheels.

Under the hood, the NX 300 F Sport is powered by a turbo-charged 2.0L four-cylinder engine paired with a six-speed automatic transmission producing 235 horsepower.

For maximum performance, we switched to Sport S+ mode which add steering and suspension-system enhancements to reduce body lean. As well as, the transmission’s shift points are automatically altered coming into and out of corners for sharper acceleration.

On the back country roads, the NX 300 F Sport shifted gear faster and had more dynamic throttle response. It turned a compact SUV into a sports car. It was fast and exhilarating!

The stylish F Sport cabin features a Flare Red interior trim, bolstered sport seats and separate readouts for turbo boost and G forces on the HUD display.

During the Okanagan trip, we stayed at the newly renovated Penticton Lakeside Resort. Located on the southern shore of Okanagan Lake, the West Wing Tower is the newest addition to the waterfront hotel. The six storey tower features grand atrium and staircase, large patios, floor to ceiling glass windows and local art displayed throughout the building.

The King Bed room is elegantly furnished with luxurious modern furnishings, extensive living space, comfortable seating area, fireplace and modern spacious bathroom. Every room has a view of the Okanagan Lake with floor to ceiling windows.

Spectacular Okanagan Lake and mountain views from the hotel room balcony.

It was lots of fun driving the 2018 Lexus NX series. Thanks Lexus Canada for an amazing trip in the Okanagan wine country.

James Chung

Vancouver Lifestyle, Cool Tech & Travel Adventure. Email: [email protected]

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