As we stroll into a world where crossovers are the priority to the consumer needs, they’re starting to come in nearly every shape and every size. Now it’s Lexus’ turn to get on this ground floor with their new sub-compact UX crossover – an entry point into the brand for the younger, more viable, escapade seeking demographic that’s never more than a mile from the nearest coffee shop.
Its name, ‘UX’ was inspired with the urban go-getters in mind. The kind that like to go caching on the weekends, enjoy the occasional vintage clothing store and stands in line for three days for a concert. Offered in two variants, UX200 and UX250h – the UX200 is the less performing equipped with a 169-horsepower, 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine while the UX250h hybrid features a more performance appealing 181-horsepower 2.0-liter four-cylinder and electric drive motor with standard all-wheel drive.
The UX is offered in three enthralling forms from its base-entry with no name, F SPORT and Luxury. However, between us, the F SPORT is the way to go, as such is featured in this article. Starting at $36,000 our UX250h F SPORT is absolutely stunning in its glittery sparkling Cadmium Orange paint. The F SPORT heightens the curb appeal on the UX with a more aggressive, sportier application. The corporate standard black mesh Lexus spindle grille generates an appealing center piece to the UX’s sculptured design. With crisp lines flowing down the belt line into the rear taillights, the design continues to wrap fully around with an LED strip over the trunk lid housing 120 lights to tie it all together.
The hybrid technology found the UX250h marks the fourth generation from Lexus history. Designed specifically for this platform, the hybrid engineering found in this little cute-ute is rather really good. Escaping last nights Tinder date takes just shy of 8-seconds to 60 mph and the brakes are firm with a quick enough response to keep you from hitting last week’s Bumble stalker. Hybrid systems in mainstream consumer cars aren’t typically known to be performance oriented; however, Toyota/Lexus is starting to change the way we view these alternative engine lifestyles. With linear power and consistent performance, the UX250h is a city slicking adventure junkie. Using an Active Sound Control system, the UX hybrid places the sound of a traditional automatic upshifts – it’s a little cheesy but cute at the same time.
The all-wheel drive found in this hybrid is not like a traditional hybrid, there is no driveshaft connecting the rear wheels. Instead, what we have is the gasoline engine and electric motor at the front driving the front wheels and a separate, smaller electric motor at the back driving the rear wheels. Providing enough torque at launch from a stop, the all-wheel drive only works from speeds 0-6mph. From there, the all-wheel drive is on-demand and gets applied on a “need traction” basis – ideally for harsh weather conditions.
Incorporating the F SPORT idealism to the chassis on the UX, it makes for a sharp handling little terrier. The steering is nicely weighted with decent responsiveness and supported by the adaptive dampers in the suspension that provide composed execution when making a turn. The ride also warrants decent body control and calm road mannerisms. Feeling the road underneath, the UX suspension isn’t firm, but isn’t soft either – providing that perfect balance of road feel with premium comfort.
Wanting to go for a minimalism design, the UX’s interior is very streamline. With a small cabin, space is definitely an issue and Lexus incorporated little details to help maximize space while keeping the interior very ergonomic. The climate controls are laid out in a straight line with easy access while all the radio controls are located on the center console – this also makes for ultimate driver control when it comes to operating the radio.
Most importantly, while the UX is the smallest crossover in the Lexus lineup, it hasn’t lost any of that Lexus premium appeal. Leather fills the cabin with soft touch materials on every surface, including the dash. The F SPORT seats are snug and ultra-comfortable with ventilated and heated functionality. Rear seat space is a tight squeeze and won’t make for an ideal Uber, but for a quick dash around town with a few friends as it’s not overly uncomfortable.
Being the underdog, there is no shortage of technology. Lexus incorporates its huge 10.3-inch high definition display as part of the technology package. With the F SPORT package, we have a customizable TFT cluster display. And of course, the UX, like every Lexus, comes with Lexus Safety Sense 2.0 – incorporating forward collision alert with emergency braking, adaptive cruise control with full stop and go, lane keep assist with departure warning, high beam assist and road sign mitigation.
With nearly 500 miles on the odometer of mixed city and highway driving, our UX250h had its own urban adventure of its own averaging 37 mpg combined. So when it comes to the urban living, it just goes to show we don’t need a enormous car to live in the big city.
Model: 2019 LEXUS UX 250H HYBRID
Starting Price: $34,000
As Tested: $43,450 – WITH F SPORT PACKAGE
Engine: 2.0-LITER FOUR-CYLINDER ENGINE & ELECTRIC HYBRID MOTOR
Horsepower/Torque: 181-COMBINED HORSEPOWER
Transmission: CVT (CONTINUOUS VARIABLE TRANSMISSION)
Drivetrain: ELECTRONIC ALL-WHEEL DRIVE
Fuel Economy: EPA RATED: 41-CITY / 38-HWY / 39-COMBINED
(AS TESTED: 37 MPG COMBINED)
Fuel Range: 370 MILES
0-60 MPH: ±8.0 SECONDS