The Lexus UX 200 and UX 250h compact crossovers are the newest additions to the Lexus lineup. Slotted just under the NX, they are similar in size, but very much better vehicles – especially the UX 250h Hybrid version.

Since you asked, according to Lexus, UX stands for Urban Explorer. Lexus says it is targeted to discriminating young buyers who seek a dynamic luxury drive experience relevant to their urban lifestyles. 

The UX is the first Lexus constructed on their new Global Architecture Compact (GA-C) platform. Providing roomier cabin spaces, it delivers a bolder, more comfortable and quieter high-quality ride for discerning driving enthusiasts. Complementing the experience are an array of premium amenities, features and technology also important to their lifestyle.   

Respectfully, we would suggest retired empty nesters – like ourselves – are a viable target as well. Many of us continue to be engaged in very active lifestyles for years into our retirements.  We too appreciate a dynamic luxury drive experience with the abundant features and amenities that the UX compact crossover offers.

2019 UX 250h

UX is available in both gasoline (UX 200) and hybrid versions (UX 250h).  We have driven both. This report looks at our favorite, the 2019 UX 250h Hybrid – which comes only as an All-Wheel Drive.

From our experience driving many hybrids, we find that Lexus (and Toyota) Hybrid vehicles offer the most capable hybrid powertrains in the market.  This latest generation Lexus Hybrid Drive System is the best yet.

Lexus Hybrid Drive

The new generation Lexus Hybrid Drive system in the UX 250h combines an Atkinson Cycle 2.0L gasoline engine with two electric/motor generators.  One delivers direct power drive and regenerative braking while the other serves as the generator, starter and engine speed controller.  They are coupled coaxially to a newly engineered hybrid transaxle system. The coaxial coupling maximizes the synergy between engine RPM and the electric drive motor power to deliver a more powerful and smoother drive.   

For AWD, the UX 250h adds an electric motor at the rear axle to drive the rear wheels and to optimize power distribution between front and rear axles – for improved performance – during acceleration, cornering and driving on slippery roads.

An added feature is a new Predictive Efficient Drive (PED) system that analyzes driving habits with traffic and road conditions.  From that analysis, it optimizes charging and discharging of the hybrid battery to boost range and performance.  

 

Performance

This Lexus Hybrid Drive System delivers a peppy 181 horsepower with segment leading fuel economy of 41/38 mpg city/highway and 39 mpg combined.

The UX 250h Hybrid AWD – in addition to being pretty darn nimble with its AWD – is fast. The UX 250h is said to accelerate 0-60 mph in 8.6 seconds and top out at an estimated 110 mph. 

 

2019 UX 250h AWD as Tested

Though we had already done a couple of short day drives previously in the UX 250h, we wanted to experience it for a full week in and around town and up in Hill Country.  Lexus loaned us a UX 250h Luxury trim level with a few extras a couple weeks back for us to test.  They sent us a beauty.

It came in very rich looking Atomic Silver (a platinum shade) with a super-premium Glazed Caramel NuLuxe seating and a Glazed Caramel ‘washi’ (paper) texture dash interior.

Boldly flared front and rear wheel arch moldings in Black accented the crisp and prominent sculpted body surfaces. Finishing the look were distinctive 18-inch 5-spoke aluminum alloy wheels, with machined finish and dark gray coated metallic paint inserts.  Tires were the newly developed Bridgestone P225/50RF18 all-season run flat tires.

Other striking exterior elements included a unique block-shape mesh grille, new LED headlamp styling, full width LED rear lights, door handle courtesy lamps, Power Folding Mirrors and a wing type spoiler at the rear roof edge.

 

 

Interior

The cabin is spacious when compared to other compact crossovers and has good accessibility front and rear. Seating is nicely styled, very supportive and has very adequate head, shoulder and legroom both front and rear. 

Of note was angling of the center stack control features toward the driver and the placement of other critical vehicle control functions within easy driver reach.

Some notable interior features were the powered Moonroof, LED lighting both task and ambient, 10-way power Heated and Ventilated Driver and 8-way Passenger seating, Dual Zone Climate Control with rear vents and a Hands-Free foot-activated Power Tailgate.

We also took note of the generous (17.1 cubic foot) trunk cargo space facilitated by the design and placement of the hybrid battery pack below the rear seat and trunk floor.

 

Technology

The UX 250h is complete with a luxury array of features including a 7-inch TFT LCD Driver Information Display, digital instrumentation, Smart Access Entry, Push Button Start, Electronic Parking Brake and Backup Camera and more.

Audio is provided through a Lexus 8-speaker Premium Audio System with center dash tweeters and trunk mounted sub-woofer.  Features include a 10.3-inch Color Multimedia Display, Apple CarPlay compatibility (no Android Auto), Siri Eyes Free, Google Voice Control and SiriusXM.   

Its Lexus Enform System features App Suite 2.0 with Amazon Alexa Compatibility, Dynamic Navigation with Dynamic Voice Command, Destination Assist, Wi-Fi, Remote with Smart Watch and Alexa Skill Integration and Service Connect.

The Remote Touch Interface (RTI) – loved by some and hated by others – is still there. But it is enhanced with some driver-focused enhancements like a switch to pull up certain function keys directly without menu scrolling and improved haptic response.  We also note a reduction of fingerprints on the touchpad (pet peeve of ours) – due to a new coating on the pad surface.

 

Safety

The Lexus Safety System Plus 2.0 is standard with All-Speed Dynamic Cruise Control, Pre-Collision Assist with Pedestrian Detection including low-light conditions and bicycles, Road Sign Assist and Intelligent High Beam Headlamps that adjust high to low in response to oncoming traffic. Also included is a Specific Tire Pressure Monitoring System.

Options Included

The UX 250h AWD is well equipped for its MSRP of $39,200, but there was more.

An important added feature was the new Triple Beam LED Headlamp and Auto-Leveling system with Washers plus LED Fog Lamps and Cornering Lamps ($1,660).

We are strong advocates for advanced headlight systems (dark nights in Texas Hill Country) on American vehicles.  This system is a good one. Not only for the bright and wide lighting, but also the cornering lamps that kept us out of drainage ditches at intersections of narrow farm roads.

 

Other extras included Wireless Smartphone Charging, Windshield Deicer, Heated Steering Wheel, Parking Assist and Rear Cross Traffic Alert with Braking for another $890.

With delivery, our 2019 Lexus UH 250h AWD Luxury compact crossover priced at $42,775.

UX 200 / UX 250h Lineups

The Lexus UX250h Hybrid is available in three trims, UX 250h (MSRP) $34,150, UX 250h F Sport $36,150 and the Luxury $39,350.  Detail on each trim level is found here: https://www.lexus.com/models/UX-hybrid.

The Lexus UX 200 gasoline version has the same trim level models. MSRP are UX 200 $32,150, UX 200 F Sport $34,150 and the UX200 Luxury $37,350.  More about the UX 200 is here: https://www.lexus.com/models/UX.

Delivery for the 2019 Lexus UX 200 or 250h is $1,025.