The Lexus CT is long gone from our shores, but that doesn’t mean that Lexus has given up on the entry-level segment. In its place, Lexus has introduced the UX crossover, which is a cute little urban-friendly crossover. The UX is offered in two versions, the gas-powered UX 200 and the UX 250h hybrid. After spending a week with the green version, the UX 250h, we can say that we’re impressed.
The UX is now the smallest SUV in the brand’s lineup. While Lexus markets the UX as a subcompact crossover, you can think of it more as a slightly lifted hatchback. The UX isn’t designed to tackle rough terrain like the Lexus GX and LX SUVs, instead it’s more at home in the city. The UX is based on the brand’s new Global Architecture Compact (GA-C) platform.
Under the hood the non-hybrid UX 200 is powered by a 2.0L four-cylinder with 169 horsepower and 151 lb-ft. of torque that’s mated to a 10-speed automatic transmission. The UX 250h is powered by a 2.0L hybrid powertrain that generates a total 181 horsepower. Unlike the UX 200, the UX 250h features all-wheel drive thanks to an electric motor mounted on the rear axle.
Although the UX 250h does generate more power than the standard UX, it’s not exactly sporty. The UX 250h takes 8.6 seconds to reach 60 mph, which is 0.3 seconds faster than the non-hybrid version. The good news is that the UX 250h is rated at 38 mpg in the city and 41 mpg on the highway, which is a 9 mpg improvement in the city and 4 mpg improvement on the highway over the UX 200.
The UX may be labeled a crossover, but on the road the UX 250h drives more like a compact hatchback than a crossover. Its low seating position and nimble chassis make it fun to zip around traffic in the city. The suspension does a good job of quieting the road’s imperfections and its steering is quick, making it a bit more fun to drive than you might expect. With 181 horsepower on tap, the UX 250h won’t exactly win any drag races, but during everyday driving, it has more than enough power.
Inside the UX has a stylish interior that is both modern and luxurious. The materials are all high quality and the overall design is pleasing. On the tech front, there’s plenty of tech features to satisfy the millennial crowd, including a 10.3-inch infotainment system with Apple CarPlay and Amazon Alexa connectivity. There’s also a Wi-Fi hotspot, a head-up display, wireless charging for your cellphone and an eight speaker audio system.
The UX comes standard with the Lexus Safety System 2.0+ safety suite, which includes automatic emergency braking with pedestrian detection, lane tracing assist, lane departure warning with steering assist, road sign assist, adaptive cruise control and automatic high beams.
The interior is a bit snug, but the UX will easily fit four passengers. Given its small footprint, it’s no surprise that there isn’t much cargo room. There’s only 21.7 cubic feet of space with the rear seat up in the UX 200, which drops down to 17.1 in the UX 250h, since the rear mounted electric motor eats into the space.
With a starting price at $32,150, the UX 200 is a bargain and stepping up to the UX 250h isn’t going to hurt much, since it starts at $34,150.
After spending a week with the UX 250h, we were impressed with the Lexus’s new entry-level crossover. While it may be the cheapest Lexus you can buy, the UX feels just as luxurious as the brand’s other models. The interior is wrapped in high quality materials and the stylish exterior helps it stand out in the growing subcompact luxury SUV segment.