2024 Lexus NX 350h Luxury AWD: Would it be a Good Bugout Vehicle?

I’m no prepper, but living near Washington, D.C., it’s easy to evaluate one’s ability to pick up and head elsewhere. So, whether that need comes from rising tides or a full-on civil war, I decided to try something different with this review. Let’s see how this 2024 Lexus NX 350h Luxury AWD might handle a theoretical pick-up-and-go scenario. How much stuff can you fit in the back, how far can you go on a single tank of gas (assuming you can get gas), will it blend in or stand out? Important stuff here, folks, strap in. It’s going to get a little weird.

How does the NX stack up conceptually?

Wait, before we begin, is a compact SUV even a practical option? I think so. Any small SUV is a pretty solid choice for a bugout vehicle really. A compact crossover like the NX delivers more space than the average sedan while adding additional ground clearance in case you have to get off the main roads. Being a luxury SUV means some added comfort and convenience features to help you manage your stamina on long drives. So yeah, it’s pretty good conceptually. Moving on.

How’s the cargo space?

Many of you just thought: “Cargo space? Car no go space, car go road,” and that’s OK. Weirdo. The NX has 22.7 cubic feet of space behind the rear seats. That’s alright, but it is a tad smaller than some rivals like the Acura RDX and BMW X3. The Red Cross recommends a three-day supply of…stuff for evacuation. So the NX will allow you to bring a large bin of non-perishable food stuffs, some potable water (about a gallon per day), as much clothing as you can manage, and some other odds and ends like a medical kit, etc.

If you need more space and don’t have more than two people on board, you can drop the back seats and find up to 46.9 cubic feet of room. You could also use that as a spot to pull over and sleep depending on how bad things have gotten. The NX is 183.5 inches long, so that should work as long as you can put your supplies and gear up front.

Does it stand out?

Your new adventure could be a bit dangerous, and the last thing you want is a vehicle that will stand out. I noted in my review log that the NX is a little anonymous; I suppose the Atomic Silver paint adds to the overall effect. However, since Lexus is seen as a luxury brand, it could call attention to you and your fellow evacuees, particularly in some regions of the country. Overall, it shouldn’t draw much attention amidst the sea of crossovers moving around the country.

Is it comfortable?

It’s quite comfortable. Although the NX may share a platform with the lower-tier Toyota RAV4, its interior is built for comfort. Plus, this is the Luxury trim, which gets upgrades like a full leather interior, heated and cooled seats, and ambient lighting. Plus, with 36.1 inches of rear legroom, it’s a good spot for passengers in the back during a long trek.

The materials are all first-rate, with some pretty woodgrain on the doors. It’s also pretty ergonomic; the screen is angled slightly toward the driver, and everything is easy to reach. Add some great seats and a comfy ride, and it’s an excellent long-distance steed.

How about performance and range?

Hitting the open road likely hits differently when escaping something (someone? a horde?), so on-road performance and mile-per-gallon ratings become essential. Power begins with a turbocharged 2.4-liter four-cylinder, but this is 350h, so you get a total system output of 240 horsepower with the hybrid assistance. The 350h Luxury has a 4,080-pound curb weight, which is actually pretty okay for a hybrid SUV. The NX manages not to be fast or slow. It’s not a rocket off the line, but on the highway, passing power is adequate for most uses.

What would be potentially handy is the 7.7 inches of ground clearance. While that’s not off-roader SUV territory, it’s enough to tackle some light trails or farm roads if necessary. I noted in my road test journal that the added height meant that you could step right out vs. having to climb out of a lower vehicle.

However, the MPG rating is the party piece for the NX 350h. It gets an EPA-estimated 41 mpg city and 37 mpg highway for a combined rating of 39 mpg. That’s fantastic and will bode well for your long-distance escape from whatever is happening back home. Assuming the gas stations are operational. And accessible. And don’t have mile-long lines. And our monetary system still works. Eek…

How’s the tech?

You’ll need to stay connected and entertained during this unfortunate time. Naturally, you’ll get wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, though I occasionally had issues keeping CarPlay connected to my phone on the go. The Luxury trim has an upgraded 14-inch touchscreen (vs. 9.8 inches as standard), but the 17-speaker Mark Levinson audio system is a standalone option that isn’t included in this tester. It does have the optional digital rearview mirror, the upgraded panoramic view monitor, lane change assist, and front traffic alert. Plus, you get a Wi-Fi hotspot, which could be handy. Assuming the cell networks are still active.

So yeah, overall the tech is pretty solid.


The NX 350h is not free. The out-the-door price of this particular bugout vehicle is $55,275. That’s a mighty proposition from a financial perspective, especially considering what you can get for the money. Any mid-to-high-spec minivan is a better option for an excursion like this than a luxury crossover.

However, most people will base their vehicle purchase on something other than this type of scenario, and that’s probably a good thing. So, if you need an excellent daily driver that is super comfortable and gets nearly 40 mpg, the 2024 NX 350h Luxury is a great option. And if the shit hits the fan and you need to take off, the NX won’t be a bad bugout companion.

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