28.11.2019Lexus UX 250h review
Compact SUVs are big business in both the mass-market and premium sectors, so it should come as no surprise that Lexus has the UX. It's stylish and economical, with the familiar hybrid powertrain on offer.
Review by Chris Lilly
Powered by a 2.0 litre petrol hybrid set-up, the Lexus UX 250h shares a powertrain with some of parent company Toyota's better models - the Prius and C-HR. Here it produces 182 hp, which will help the UX to 110 mph having first hit 62 mph in 8.5 seconds from zero. It's far from a performance crossover, but the power and performance are more than ample for most drivers, and the UX feels like a nippy little crossover. Driving enjoyment is stunted a little by the CVT transmission which doesn't like being worked hard, but the UX can pick up the pace when required. Instead of pushing on in the Lexus, treat it gently, and it responds nicely. It's really easy to drive, and deals well with urban environments in particular.
It's not a soft crossover, but neither is it too hard in terms of suspension set-up. The UX proves agile around tight turns, and it's fun to drive. It's got plenty of grip - and there's an all-wheel drive model too - and turn in is precise. The wheels pushed into the corners mean it can navigate car parks and the like easily, though it also settles down pretty well on the open road. It feels a smaller car to drive than the likes of the Volvo XC40 and BMW X1, and that compactness will appeal to many who have to regularly navigate narrow country lanes or tight city streets.
I really like the UX's looks. It's not a pretty car, but it is certainly striking. The current Lexus design language is all about creases and lots of grille, and it tends to work well - particularly on the UX which fights in a sector that places a high priority on appearance. The compact nature of the Lexus means that it isn't a spacious car inside. For a couple of adults, there will be no issues, but leg space in the rear for four adults is tight. A couple of kids seats fit fine in the rear though. Boot space is a surprise when you first open the boot - surprisingly small. The boot floor is high and there's not a lot of load height available. A cubby hole beneath the floor helps a little, but there are many rivals out there with larger boots. Practicality for daily life will be fine for most buyers, but a holiday's worth of luggage will have to be packed carefully.
COMFORT & CONTROLS
If interior space isn't great, at least the rest of the cabin's qualities are good. The styling is good, with a driver-focused centre console. The stalks from the side of the driver instruments are a nice feature, and mirror those of the excellent LC coupe. Switchgear is well placed and well made, though the infotainment system is fiddly to use. It sits nicely on the dash however, and is best appreciated with the larger configuration. The cabin is as comfortable as a Lexus should be, and the materials used are lovely. It's not a perfect interior, but a likeable one on the whole.
MPG & RUNNING COSTS
Fuel economy is a strength for the Lexus UX, with official figures as good as 120 g/km CO2 and 53.2 MPG. In real world conditions, the UX performs well too, with a trip computer average of 46.9 MPG displayed after 250 miles. It was a fairly mixed set of routes making up that mileage, and a greater mix of motorway work would see that figure improve considerably.
Driven gently, the UX will often stick to electric power when possible. Its hybrid system is a core element of the Lexus' attributes, and it works well to aid efficiency. There are drive modes to select, including EV and Eco, which boosts fuel economy, and the hybrid system uses brake energy regen to help top up the battery.
The UX price list is not an easy one to get your head around. There are three core trims - UX, F-Sport, and Takumi - but multiple packs to add on. It makes life easier for company car buyers, but the combination of trims means there are well over a dozen levels to choose from. UX trim includes a 7-inch infotainment system, Apple CarPlay/Android Auto, dual-zone climate control, reversing camera, 17-inch alloys, and LED headlights. F-Sport adds sportier styling details inside and out, parking sensors front and rear, auto-dimming rear view mirror, heated steering wheel, steering wheel gear shift paddles, active sound control, and sports suspension. Takumi includes adaptive high beam lights, head-up display, 10.3-inch infotainment system, smart keyless entry, wireless phone charger, 360-degree camera, power tailgate, and leather upholstery.
The UX is a small but likeable compact SUV. It's fun to drive, stylish, and frugal, and if you don't prioritise interior space, it ticks many boxes.
Model tested: Lexus UX 250h UX Premium Plus Pack
Body-style: Compact premium SUV
Engine / CO2: 2.0 litre petrol hybrid / 124 g/km
Trim grades: UX, F-Sport, Takumi
On-road price: From £29,950.
Warranty: Three years / 60,000 miles
In the showroom: Now
Review rating: 3.5 Stars