The 2019 Lexus UX is an all-new crossover designed to appeal to the entry-level luxury buyer. It also targets those who live in urban settings with smaller dimensions so it’s easy to park and easy to navigate through narrow city streets. The 250h is the hybrid version of this new crossover, which adds the bonus of improved fuel economy.
Power for the hybrid comes from the same 2.0-liter 4-cylinder engine found in the UX 200, but with the addition of two electric motors. It has 181 combined system horsepower and posts a 0-60 time of 8.6 seconds.
It’s not a powerhouse, but it is responsive and easily merges with heavy highway traffic. It also handles well making short work of quick lane changes. This is a small crossover so it has none of the top-heavy feeling of larger, taller vehicles.
Its size makes it a bit of a tight squeeze on the inside. Although there’s room for five passengers, you’re realistically looking at room for four. Three adults are only suited to the rear seats for the shortest drives and those who are taller had best mind their heads as they take a seat.
Cargo space is also on the low side. There’s 17.1 cubic feet behind the rear seats with a somewhat higher load floor. This can make loading heavy objects a challenge. As a daily driver for hauling groceries or luggage, however, the Lexus UX does just fine.
Aside from the powertrains, there’s one other major difference between the gas and hybrid models. The gas powertrain is front-wheel drive only while the hybrid is all-wheel drive only. If part of a the reason you’re looking at a crossover is all-wheel drive capability in winter weather, then you’re limited to the hybrid UX only.
The hybrid also comes with the benefit of improved fuel economy. The Lexus UX 250h gets an EPA-estimated 41 mpg in the city, 38 mpg on the highway, and 39 mpg combined making it a good choice as a commuter car.
Both powertrains are also available as an F Sport, which adds sporty design cues and enhanced performance for $2,000. Our test car was equipped with the F Sport package with its more supportive sports seats, a digitally-rendered instrument cluster, leather-trimmed F-Sport steering wheel, paddle shifters, leather-trimmed shift knob, and aluminum pedals and scuff plates. The F Sport package makes an already upscale interior feel one step higher on the luxury car ladder.
The outside gets a unique front grille and bumpers and more rigid 18-inch five twin-spoke aluminum alloy wheels for better handling. There’s also a sport suspension that makes a noticeable difference in how well the UX responds to driver inputs.
Standard infotainment features the Lexus Remote Touch Interface, which is a touchpad on the center console. If offers haptic feedback making it easier to use, but using it does take a little time to master and can prove frustrating to control over rougher road surfaces. A 7-inch color screen, Apple CarPlay, and Spotify with unique playlists created just for the UX are standard. Upgrades include a 10.25 inch screen with navigation.
The Lexus Safety System+ 2.0 is standard with features including pre-collision with pedestrian detection, all-speed dynamic radar cruise control, lane tracing assist, road sign assist, lane departure alert with steering assist, and intelligent high beams. You don’t need to add packages to get a comprehensive set of safety features.
The Lexus UX adds a more affordable crossover option to the Lexus lineup. Pricing starts at $32,000 for the UX 200 and $34,000 for the UX 250h. It’s an attractive choice for crossover shoppers who want a taste of luxury with a more modest budget.