2019 Lexus UX – Compact SUV
The Lexus UX is a compact SUV and will be badged "Lexus UX 250h". It is the smallest SUV Lexus produce and will compete against premium rivals such as the Jaguar E-Pace, Audi Q2 and the Volvo XC40. It's the third SUV in the Lexus range, following the mid-sized NX and the large RX.
The Lexus UX is striking and eye-catching from the front or rear. The body design is daring from front to back and certainly makes it stand out from the crowd. The front features the vast, dramatic signature Lexus grille, which like a few other features on the UX, gives it a bit of a 'marmite' look. Some will love the bold front appearance; others may find it a bit over the top. Another new feature can be found at the back. Lexus has fitted a continuous strip of 120 LED lights across the boot, joining together the rear light clusters. This is planned to become a new signature feature on new Lexus models.
The Lexus UX 250h is only available in the UK with one choice of engine. Lexus has taken a gamble, and unlike the rest of the SUV community, they have decided to omit diesel versions. Lexus has focussed all of its efforts on petrol-hybrid technology.
The UX 250h features Lexus' new fourth-generation Self-Charging 2-litre petrol engine Hybrid. The new engine will help to lower emissions and tax. Increasing its appeal to small families and also company car drivers, who will be able to save money but also still have a practical, stylish everyday vehicle.
The Lexus UX is the first Lexus to be built using its new GA-C platform. It's said to create a lightweight but rigid frame, a low centre of gravity, combined with a fresh suspension set-up to increase handling and ride comfort. The overall dimensions of the UX are not like the conventional compact SUV's. It is more hatchback car-like than any of its rivals, mainly due to how low it is. It is so low in fact that it is only 6.8cm taller than a VW Golf.
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Engine Technology and Economy
The UX 250h features only one engine option. It is a 2-litre petrol-hybrid powertrain developing 184HP paired with an automatic continuously variable transmission (CVT). The UX will come in FWD or optional 'E-Four' (four-wheel drive). Choosing the 'E-Four' option gives added stability and grip on slippery surfaces, but it does impact on the already small luggage space. In FWD there are 320 litres of boot space but choose the 'E-Four' version, and this drops to 283 litres. Compare this to a supermini, like the new Renault Clio, which offers 391 litres, or the rival Audi Q3 which offers 530 litres; you'll see how inadequate the boots space is. Especially given this car is aimed at families looking for a compact SUV.
Space inside the UX in the front is functional, with plenty of leg and headroom. The seats are comfortable and snug without making you feel pinched. The seats and steering wheel are both fully adjustable, so there's no trouble getting the best driving position for you. In the rear however space is restricted with limited legroom for adults mainly. Headroom is compromised due to the low roofline, and it can be a tight squeeze to get three adults in the backseat.
The benefits for the 250h come from the engine, as Lexus says it's a 'self-charging hybrid'. As a result, it does not have the battery range issues and costs related to plug-in (PHEV) or fully electric (EV) models. It also trumps on emissions, against the petrol and diesel engines of its rivals in the premium compact SUV sector. The Lexus UX 250h emissions figure of just 94g/km is 26g/km lower than the closest competitor in its class the BMW X1. Other rivals favoured much worse with the Volvo XC40 at 127g/km and the Jaguar E-Pace at 143g/km. These results are great for the UX 250h to target the company car market due to the excellent tax advantages available.
Interior Design and Technology – is it premium class?
As you would expect from Lexus, the interior of the UX 250h is logically set out with all buttons and screen angled towards the driver. The finish is exquisite and made from expensive and luxurious feeling materials. Lexus put this down to their expert craftsmanship which they call 'Takumi'.
The dashboard and steering can feel a little clustered with buttons seemingly everywhere, although it doesn't take long to get used to them. If however, you prefer a crisp and minimalist dashboard, then you may need to look elsewhere.
The Lexus UX 250h comes with a host of equipment as standard, including a 7-inch or 10.25-inch Infotainment screen, depending on the model. Both fit snugly into the dashboard. A new 7-inch digital TFT screen replaces the analogue instrument cluster. The infotainment system is controlled by a touchpad which is not very user-friendly and takes a lot of practice to use efficiently. A touchscreen or rotary controller found in most rivals perform much better. Other standard features include Bluetooth connectivity, sat-nav and 17-inch wheels.
Another feature on all UX250h's is Active Corner Assist, which monitors driving and will adjust the braking on the inside wheels when cornering, to help avoid understeer.
The Ux 250h has not yet been Euro NCAP safety tested. However, with the extensive list of safety features and systems included, it should easily achieve the full 5-star rating. Each UX comes equipped with the Lexus Safety System. This includes automatic high beam, traffic sign recognition, lane keep assist, adaptive cruise control and a pre-collision system including pedestrian detection. There are also optional safety packages available, including blindspot monitors and rear traffic alert.
The Lexus UX 250h compact SUV gives you a lot to think about when considering what Compact SUV to purchase.
The UX is indeed a stand-out car with striking looks and smart curb appeal. Its design is modern and stylish with just the right blend of exuberance to make passers-by turn and stare. The UX (Urban Crossover) is aimed more towards city driving not for off-road trekking or aggressive slalom driving around twisty roads.