The UX (generous shorthand for “urban crossover”), is the first Lexus built on the company’s new Global Architecture Compact (GA-C) architecture. The subcompact UX is considered the smallest Lexus SUV. Its G-AC is lightweight, exceptionally strong and possesses a low center of gravity and unique suspension tuning, creating an agile and comfortable ride.
Chika Kako, executive vice president of Lexus International and chief engineer of the UX: “The Lexus UX is designed for the modern urban explorer seeking a fresh, contemporary and dynamic take on luxury driving. I wanted to positively overturn the image of a crossover with a high body that requires careful maneuvering, and offer a car with nimble performance and excellent maneuverability that makes it as easy to drive as a sedan.”
Says AutomobileMag.com reviewer Arthur St. Antoine: “Judging by my seat time, the platform is a standout. Ride quality is plush and composed despite the smallish 103.9-inch wheelbase, and the structure is vault-solid, helping to isolate the cabin from most wind and road noise. The UX may sit near the Lexus lineup’s entry doors, but it feels expensive. There’s a lot of polish on display here.”
He adds: “A new-gen hybrid powertrain built around a 2.0-liter four-cylinder gas engine drives all four wheels with 181 total system horsepower. A CVT with manual shifting mode is the one and only transmission available. This isn’t a sporty powertrain, nor is it meant to be. Instead, the UX is optimized for nimble, stress-free city motoring, and on that score it acquits itself well. Frankly, the UX feels more like a car than a crossover. You sit relatively low, maybe an inch or so higher than a sedan’s seat would be. Turning diameter is said to be a best-in-class 34 feet. The steering is smooth and quick, sportier than, say, a Mercedes GLA’s. And as noted, the ride is excellent—again, it’s a major contributor to the UX’s deluxe character. The acceleration won’t thrill you, as there’s not much that 181 horses can do with 3,600 pounds worth of vehicle and batteries, but during normal driving the UX operates with the calm poise of a good butler. It’s an efficient one, too: The UX250h is rated at 41 mpg in the city and 38 on the highway.”
Lexus claims its 2019 UX250h’s 39 MPG Combined Estimate gives it the Best-In-Class title (non-EV SUV). Says Lexus: “The UX 250h is not only the most powerful UX model, it’s the most efficient non-plug-in SUV available. Pairing a strong 2.0-liter engine with a powerful battery, the UX Hybrid delivers peak performance at peak efficiency.”
There are three trims: UX 250h ($34,150 MSRP), UX 250h Sport ($36,150 MSRP) and UX 250h Luxury ($39,350). The trim trio uses a continuously variable-speed automatic transmission, a 2.0L DOHC 16-valve I-4, permanent-magnet synchronous AC motor, two electric motor generators and a nickel metal-hydride (NiMH) battery pack; together they output 181 horsepower. A third electric motor is used to power the rear wheels when additional traction is needed, giving the 250h All Wheel Drive capability.
All three trims have a 10.6 gallon fuel tank and a Range in Miles (City/Hwy) of 434.6/402.8.
The 2019 Lexus UX was built with safety in mind with a standard Lexus Safety System+ 2.0, and a backup camera with dynamic gridlines. Lexus Safety System+ is an integrated suite of four advanced safety systems designed to help in certain circumstances. They include: a Pre-Collision System, Lane Assistance, Intelligent High-Beams and Dynamic Radar Cruise Control. Should the system detect a pedestrian or determine a frontal collision is imminent, it's designed to activate an audio and visual alert while automatically preparing Brake Assist for increased braking response. If the driver does not brake in time, the system is designed to automatically begin braking before impact and can even brake the vehicle to a stop at speeds above 6 mph.
Discussing the crossover’s cargo space, automotive reviewer Arthur St. Antoine says: “The UX is simply too small to carry the cargo easily swallowed by rival machines like the Audi Q3 and the BMW X1—and even Lexus’s own NX. That said, the UX250h Luxury is better equipped than the Germans, beautifully outfitted, extremely pleasant to drive, and trumps them all with its outstanding fuel efficiency. If size isn’t a priority but a premium driving experience is a must, you’ll likely find the new UX right on target.”
Standard features include 18-inch wheels, LED headlights, heated side mirrors, proximity entry and push-button start, selectable drive modes, dual-zone automatic climate control, simulated-leather upholstery, power-adjustable front seats, and a 60/40-split folding rear seat.
Technology highlights include the rearview camera, Bluetooth, an infotainment system with 7-inch touchscreen display, smartphone app-based navigation, onboard Wi-Fi, four USB ports, Apple CarPlay smartphone integration, six-speaker audio system, and satellite radio. Android is not available, because Lexus says 80% of its customers use iPhones.
Optional for the base UX 250h is a Premium package which adds heated and ventilated front seats, a sunroof, automatic wipers and "washi" interior trim inspired by Japanese fabric paper.
With the Luxury trim, you will get all of the Premium package's features along with sound-damping front side windows, auto-dimming side mirrors, a hands-free power liftgate, driver-seat memory functions, blind-spot monitoring, a navigation system, a 10.3-inch central display, and an eight-speaker sound system.
The F Sport trim is more of a performance package than a trim level, though Lexus considers it as a trim level. It includes unique 18-inch wheels, a sport-tuned suspension, LED fog lights, an augmented engine sound generator, steering wheel paddle shifters, sport front seats, and an upgraded digital gauge cluster.
Additional stand-alone options are available. They include upgraded triple-beam LED headlights, a sunroof, a windshield wiper de-icer, an auto-dimming rearview mirror, and a heated steering wheel. Tech upgrades include parking sensors with low-speed auto braking, a head-up display and a wireless phone charger.
Edmunds.com says: “We like the UX 250h with the Premium package since it offers some nice creature comforts (heated and ventilated seats) and tasteful interior materials, such as the Japanese fabric-paper panel motifs. With an EPA-estimated 39 mpg in combined city/highway driving, the hybrid UX 250h tops the subcompact crossover SUV class. Inside, the UX impresses with a classic Lexus formula of understated style and lots of standard features. Although the crop of luxury subcompact SUVs is growing, the UX 250h pretty much has the hybrid field to itself. For anyone seeking sharp style and excellent fuel economy in a pint-size package, the UX 250h merits consideration.”
REVISED JULY 2019
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