Meet the newest and smallest edition to the growing Lexus SUV family: the 2019 Lexus UX. Lexus makes it easy on us by offering it in just two trims: the 200 or the 250h. They go up against the likes of the Audi Q3, Volvo XC40 and BMW X1. The UX 250h is special, however, because it’s the only hybrid in the segment which makes it a leader by far in fuel economy. It also comes with standard all-wheel drive, a premium cabin and standard Apple CarPlay, along with Lexus’ track record of reliability and a host of standard driver assist features.
The 4th-generation 181-horsepower hybrid system features two electric motors in the front with the 2.0-liter gas engine and a third in back to power the rear wheels. The engine is mated to a 10-speed CVT, but this is a CVT I can live with. It’s the same one in the Corolla Hatchback. It basically adds a first gear for a noticeably quicker start off the line. You can choose between Eco, Normal and Sport drive modes. The 250h comes with standard all-wheel drive, but it’s not available at all on the 169-horsepower 200 trim.
The UX delivers an expected Lexus ride and it’s fairly smooth except when it comes to braking which I found to be surprisingly abrupt. Steering was on the loose side for my taste, at the steering tended to wander and need correction, but the F sport suspension tuning includes revised springs and stabilizer bars for a tighter ride.
The UX rides on the same platform as the Toyota C-HR but the UX is lower, wider and also a few inches longer. The outside is pure Lexus with the familiar grille in front, bi-LED headlights, and a cool 120-LED taillight strip. Its shape reminds me of a hatchback and it has a wing type spoiler in the back. My test models premium Cadmium Orange paint is an extra $595.
My F Sport trim adds appearance features like a black grille and bumpers and aluminum front door scuff plates. It rides on F Sport 18-wheels, that are more rigid than standard UX wheels, and comes equipped with run-flat tires. Inside you get special F Sport seats and aluminum pedals.
The cabin is unmistakably Lexus with soft touch surfaces and a stylish and functional design. The faux leather driver seat if 10-way power adjustable with power lumbar. It’s a bit too bolstered for my posture needs but does keep you snugly in place.
You’ll find a tilt-and-telescopic, leather-wrapped heated steering wheel with paddle shifters, along with a leather gear shift. The center console is the perfect size and did not eat into my legroom. Above it you find simple dual zone climate controls and buttons to activate the heated front seats. If you just can’t seem to get rid of your CDs you’re in luck, there is a CD player there as well. Rear seat space is okay with enough leg-room for my 5’6 height. There was ample headroom and good visibility out the rear window.
Other than some engine noise during initial acceleration , the UX delivered the Lexus quiet ride we’ve come to expect.
In terms of utility, you have 17.1 cubic feet of cargo space with the 60/40 split manual rear seats up. It’s a bit less than you get in the 200 because the hybrid battery is stored in the back. The UX has aluminum roof rails and heated outdoor mirrors along with mud gaurds and wheel arch moldings. a Tonnaeu cover and carpet floor mats. My tester comes with an optional $600 power rear door with kick sensor.
The UX has push button start that lights up Lexus’ familiar, colorful retractable digital tachometer where you can access driver information via controls on the steering wheel. I like that it provides road sign assist information. My test model gets the upgraded $2,200 Navigation with 10.3-inch infotainment screen package that also features a high-resolution backup camera with grid lines that move. That’s an upgrade over the F Sport’s 8-inch and the standard models 7-inch. Lexus’ infotainment system, which you operate via touchpad and unique controller on the center console, supports Apple CarPlay (standard across lineup) and Alexa integration but not Android Auto. It’s also voice controllable, too. The Nav upgrade also comes with a great 10-speaker premium audio system. There are four USB ports throughout the cabin. A wireless charger is a $75 option.
Perhaps the biggest advantage the 250h has over competitors is its full economy since it’s the only hybrid in its class. It delivers 41 city, 38 highway for a combined 39.
The UX does not skimp on driver assistance. Lexus is equipping all of its vehicles with standard Lexus Safety System 2.0 which includes:
- Pre-Collision System (PCS) with Pedestrian Detection
- All-Speed Dynamic Radar Cruise Control
- Lane Departure Alert with Steering Assist
- Lane Tracing Assist
- Road Sign Assist (RSA)
- Intelligent High-Beam headlamps
My test model was also equipped with Blind Spot Monitoring ($500) and Parking Assist with Rear Cross Traffic Alert ($565).
What You’ll Pay
The UX 200 front-wheel drive starts from $32,000. The UX 250h F Sport AWD starts from $36,000, which is comparable to other range toppers in its class like the Audi Q3, Volvo XC40 and BMW X1 Xdrive. My model as equipped stickers for $42,785. (The Navigation with 10-3-inch infotainment screen is well worth it in my book.)
The UX small crossover is designed for the urban dweller and if that’s you, and you like how Lexus vehicles ride and drive and want a bunch of standard safety offerings and best-in-class fuel economy, you’ll be happy with the UX 250h.
2019 Lexus UX 250h F Sport AWD
- What I liked most: Overall premium cabin with 10.3-inch infotainment screen, rear LED lightstrip.
- What I would change: Please give me smoother brakes.
- MSRP: Base price $36,000; as equipped $42,785 with transportation.
- Fuel Economy: 41 city/38 highway/39 combined.
- Official Color: Cadmium Orange
- Odometer reading when tested: 1,311 miles.
- Weight: 3,605 pounds.
- Spare Tire: none.
- Length-Width-Height: 177” long/ 72.4” wide/ 60.6” high with sharkfin antenna.
- Fuel Tank Capacity: 10.6 gallons with filler on driver side.
- Towing Capacity: N/A
- 2019 Lexus UX 250h F Sport in a few words: A confident urban dweller that will win Lexus fans over and bring others into the fold with its fuel economy and standard safety features.
- Warranty: 4-yr/50,000 miles; 5-year/60,000 powertrain; 6-year unlimited corrosion;8-year, 100,000 miles hybrid battery/components.
- Final Assembly Location: Miyawaka, Fukuoka, Japan.
- Manufacturer’s website: Lexus