Could this SUV be the ultimate compact hybrid drive (with a sprinkle of luxury) that you’re looking for?
By motoring journalist Tim Barnes-Clay – Instagram @tbarnesclay and Twitter @carwriteups.
Guess what ‘UX’ stands for? That’s right – it’s business-speak for ‘User Experience’. Yes, yes, I can almost hear you groaning now. Your eyeballs are probably doing a roll, too. But bear with me, the ‘UX’ in Lexus’ new compact SUV means ‘Urban Crossover’.
The Japanese-made model is a sharp looker. It has lights that spread the width of the rear and there’s a prominent grille at the front. But inside is where you’ll start to get genuinely enthused. The cabin is well-crafted with soft leather and other posh-to-the-touch materials, making the UX a comfortable place to be. There’s little doubt the interior will stand the test of time.
Behind the wheel, the switches and buttons are slanted towards you, meaning it’s a cinch to reach them. And they have an encouragingly classy feel, too. Indeed, the Japanese brand has a reputation for excellence, so you can be assured the UX has quality running through it like the word ‘Brighton’ in a stick of rock.
Optional four-wheel drive
Going back to the Urban Crossover ‘UX’ moniker, you’ve probably already worked out that this isn’t a car for off-roading. That said, there’s still the option of four-wheel drive if you want extra grip, although two-wheel drive is more than sufficient, and it’s the variant I drove for this review.
The Lexus UX is a hybrid, powered by a 2.0-litre petrol engine backed up by an electric motor. It means the car is relatively ‘green’ and economical. I got an average of 53mpg over a 90-mile journey consisting of urban roads, a motorway and country lanes. But bear in mind that you’ll only get around 40mpg if you opt for the UX with four-wheel drive.
A quiet baby
It is a very quiet baby SUV, and you’re well isolated from the UK’s scarred road surfaces. The UX’s CVT, a kind of single-speed automatic gearbox, helps to deliver a chilled driving experience. It doesn’t wail or hum when you pick up the pace as CVTs do in some hybrids. What’s more, the car feels quick off the mark, especially in town.
This Lexus isn’t cheap, though, especially if you start ticking the options boxes. My UX250h came with the ‘Premium Plus Pack’ as well as the ‘Tech & Safety Pack’. It hiked the £29,905 on the road price up to £33,605. Oh, I nearly forgot to add the £570 metallic paint that my test car was coated in. This took the cost to £34,175.
But, if you’re up for driving a small hybrid, and you’re a sucker for a luxurious interior – and you want something different from European ‘premium’ badged cars (think Audi, Mercedes-Benz, BMW and Volvo) – then the Lexus UX is worth adding to your shopping list.
Fast Facts (Lexus UX 250h with Premium Plus Pack and Tech & Safety Pack – as tested):
- Max speed: 110mph
- 0-62 mph: 8.5 secs
- Combined mpg: 53.2
- Engine: 1987cc 4-cylinder petrol + electric motor
- Max power (ps): 178
- CO2: 95g/km
- Price: £29,905 + options