Seemingly less than an SUV yet more than a hatchback, "crossover" best describes the Lexus UX. This unusual little vehicle is the brand's entry-level model, seeking to bring buyers into the Lexus experience with upscale touches and impressive value. Introduced for the 2019 model year, UX is said to stand for "urban explorer," making clear its pavement-oriented purpose. The UX is available with either a gasoline or hybrid powertrain.
It's expected that entry-level luxury vehicles only give a taste of their manufacturers' finest. Such is the case with the Lexus UX, although many buyers will find it has too many compromises.
The UX's interior trimmings and quality are quite nice, although the back seats are very cramped. Fuel economy is great, too, particularly on the hybrid model. The features it includes for the price point make it a strong value, to say nothing of Lexus' renowned reliability.
Still, the UX is one of the slowest vehicles we've tested in recent years, and it feels troublingly underpowered out on the road. Perhaps even more concerning is the punishingly stiff ride quality. SUVs—even small ones—should have some modicum of all-terrain ability, and the UX got bogged down in our simple off-road tests.
For drivers seeking the luxurious atmosphere expected from the Lexus brand, there are better options. But, as an entry-level luxury SUV, the UX has its merits.
In the UX200, a 2.0-liter inline four-cylinder produces 169 hp and 151 lb-ft of torque. That's channeled to the front wheels via a CVT automatic. We tested the UX200's 0-60-mph acceleration at 8.7 seconds. Expect fuel economy to be similar to last year, when the EPA rated the UX200 at 29/37 mpg city/highway.
Choosing the UX250h adds an AWD hybrid powertrain. Power rises to 181 combined, and 0-60-mph acceleration improves slightly to 8.1 seconds. Fuel economy gets even better, particularly in the city; the 2021 UX250h was EPA-rated at 41/38 mpg.
Does Lexus make an all-electric car? It's complicated. The UX300e is a battery-powered version of the brand's subcompact crossover. It's motivated by a 53-kWh battery pack that provides about 260 miles of range on European standards (which typically yield higher results than United States testing). When we drove the UX300e, the exterior and interior looked and felt much like the standard car. Acceleration was the biggest difference, which, unlike with the recalcitrant gas engines, felt immediate and effortless in the EV.
So, why the complication? As of now, Lexus has no plans to sell the UX300e in the United States. That's despite the electric crossover segment taking off, with competitors like the Volvo XC40 Recharge and Audi E-Tron models hitting the scene. To us, selling the UX300e here seems like a no-brainer—maybe Lexus will come around.
We expect the 2022 UX to earn similar crash safety ratings as it did last year. The 2021 UX earned a five-star overall safety rating from the NHTSA, the highest possible score. From the IIHS, models equipped with the available triple-beam LED headlights received Top Safety Pick designation. Regardless of headlights, it earned the highest Good score in all six crashworthiness tests.
As standard the UX includes numerous driver assist and active safety features. Among them are adaptive cruise control, lane keep assist, blind-spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic alert, front automatic emergency braking, and automatic high-beams.
Even among luxury subcompact crossovers including the Audi Q3, passenger and cargo capacity inside the UX is limited. Front passengers enjoy plenty of legroom, but rear passengers will feel cramped. Split-folding second-row seats are standard, although Lexus does not provide a cargo space measurement with those folded.
Cargo space (behind first/second rows):
Legroom (first/second rows):
Headroom (first/second rows):
As standard, the UX is equipped with a 7.0-inch infotainment display that includes Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, and Amazon Alexa compatibility. A larger 10.3-inch display is available and adds built-in navigation. Neither of these is a touchscreen. Rather, each is controlled by a trackpad on the center console. The gauge cluster features a display measuring 7.0 inches as standard or 8.0 inches on F Sport models. Four USB ports are arranged throughout the cabin. A six-speaker audio system is standard, and an eight-speaker setup is available. Other tech options include a head-up display, wireless charging pad, and nifty illuminated air vents that run off wireless power.
Even though it costs about $2,200 more than the standard gas engine, we suggest choosing the UX250h and its hybrid powertrain. Slightly quicker acceleration is one thing, but much improved city fuel economy is more appealing. After that, we think it's best to stay with the base trim, which runs for approximately $37,000. It includes features like a leather-wrapped steering wheel and shift knob, dual-zone climate control, a digital gauge display, and numerous driver assist goodies. Choosing the F Sport trim adds bolstered front seats and other sporty touches, and the Luxury trim gets niceties including hands-free tailgate activation and acoustically laminated windows. Those are all nice, but don't strike us as worth the extra cost over the base UX250h.
|$1000||Lexus announces Bonus Cash on select models for eligible Military personnel. [Regional Incentive. See dealer for availability.]||03-31-2022|
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|$1000||Lexus announces a Bonus Cash on select models for eligible current owners. [Regional Incentive. See dealer for availability.]||03-31-2022|
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|$0||2.99% Financing for a maximum term of 72 Months - Lexus announces special APR financing on select models. [Regional Incentive. See dealer for availability.]||01-31-2022|