The biggest thing the mini-Lexus UX has going for it is the Lexus name. The diminutive crossover has less-than-impressive performance, a high price and minimal rear seat and cargo space.
But it is a Lexus and that means a level of refinement, quality and reliability that pretty much make up for any of those other shortcomings.
The Lexus UX 250h is also a hybrid, and nobody has more expertise and experience with hybrids than Toyota-Lexus.
The UX squeezes an amazing distance from every litre of fuel. That’s a good thing because the fuel tank is pretty small!
When I stopped to fill an almost-empty tank, I was sure there was a problem with the pump when it automatically shut off after only 34 litres of fuel. Nope – the tank only holds 40 litres when bone dry. You can do that when 40 litres will get you at least 600 kilometres of range on the highway.
The downside of that fabulous fuel mileage is the wheezy engine sound when pressed hard. Off the line poke is adequate but falls off as speed rises.
Motivation comes from a naturally aspirated 2.0-litre four-cylinder engine paired with front and rear electric motors (for all-wheel drive) and a continuously variable automatic transmission. Driven more sedately, and primarily in the city environment for which it was developed, and you will have few complaints.
Sophisticated all-wheel drive means worry-free winter driving
Hybrids are at their fuel-efficient best in low-speed environments, and this is where the UX shines. There is no need to worry about winter weather. Every UX comes with a sophisticated all-wheel-drive system.
You might have some gripes from rear seat occupants. There are belts back there for three, but they had better be small or really close friends. Cargo space is similarly small. BUT this is a small crossover, meant for city living and operating in more confined spaces. A tight turning circle and short overall length allow it to slip into parking spaces and around crowded lots with ease.
Want or need more performance or space? Your local friendly Lexus store will be quite happy to show you something bigger.
Inside the Lexus UX 250h
From behind the heated steering wheel, you are looking at an innovative array of instruments and controls. The main gauges are housed in a binnacle that narrows at the top. A pair of controls protrude at either side of the top, looking like round ears.
A 25-cm wide, bright, and highly legible infotainment screen dominates the top of the centre stack. It is angled slightly toward the driver. There are conventional, (thankfully) buttons for the dual-zone automatic climate control arrayed beneath.
The annoying console-mounted touchpad has been binned.
The wide and supportive front seats are power operated, heated and ventilated. Finding and maintaining a comfortable position is a breeze. Faux-leather and high-quality soft touch materials abound, worthy of the Lexus brand.
Cushy, comfortable and quiet
Built on the same platform found beneath the Toyota Corolla and Prius, the UX is a stable, cushy and quiet ride on the highway. The steering is quick but lacking in feedback. The brakes progressive and easily modulated.
Lexus has updated the UX for the 2023 model year. The non-hybrid version has been dropped. Minor tweaking of some suspension components have been made to improve ride and handling. The infotainment system has been updated.
The 2023 Lexus UX 250h is a comfortable and efficient small crossover. What it lacks in interior space and performance it makes up for in refinement, fuel efficiency and the quality expected of the Lexus badge.
FACTS & FIGURES – 2023 Lexus UX 250h AWD
As tested: $46,134 including freight
LED headlights, All-Speed radar cruise control, automatic high beams, lane tracing assist, pre-collision system with pedestrian and bicycle detection, lane departure alert with steering assist and road edge detection
20-cm colour touchscreen, Six-speakers, Bluetooth capability, satellite radio, wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility,
18-in alloy wheels, eight-way power front seats, dual zone automatic climate control,
F Sport Design, $2,300.00” heated and ventilated front seats, power moonroof, blind spot monitor, power heated mirrors, premium paint, heated steering wheel, NuLuxeTM Seats, auto-dimming rear view mirror with compass, digital instrument cluster
2.0-litre four-cylinder, 143 hp, 133 lb-ft; one permanent-magnet synchronous AC motor; one induction AC motor; combined output, 181 hp. regular fuel, Continuously Variable automatic Transmission, all-wheel-drive. NRCan rating (litres/100km city/highway): 5.7/6.2
Length, 4,496; mm; width, 1,839 mm; wheelbase, 2,639 mm; weight, 1,6369 kg.
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