Lexus UX 250h might just be what you want!
Lexus doesn’t just build hybrids, remember, although the UK range won’t include the petrol-only UX 200. Instead, Brits will get a narrow choice of the Lexus UX 250h with front-wheel drive as standard, and the optional E-Four system, which diverts some of the drive to the rear wheels when extra traction’s required. We’d recommend sticking with the former. A new long-stroke (for improved low-down torque) 2.0-litre petrol mill is combined with Lexus’s latest-generation hybrid gubbins, producing 176bhp combined.
Somehow, the lexus UX 250h Luxury doesn’t feel as rapid as it’s 8.5-second 0-62mph acceleration time suggests it might, while its top speed is electronically capped at 110mph. Drive the UX 250h gently around town and its very refined and hushed, smoothly going about its business with minimal fuss. Wake it up on an open back road and you’ll still experience that high-pitched sound where the engine speed doesn’t seem in unison with the rate of acceleration.
Although Lexus refers to the transmission as an electronic CVT, it’s actually a planetary gear set and it’s chosen because it’s the most efficient choice for working with a hybrid powertrain.
It won’t be cheap, but it should prove more cost-efficient, particularly for urban dwellers, than a diesel-engined rival. Remember there’s no plug-in version of the UX (at least for now), so a low battery level minimizes how much pure EV running it can manage, but improvements have been made to enable coasting on fast downhill stretches of road.
How does the Lexus UX feel to drive?
Ordinarily, a launch test route isn’t worthy of note in a review, but considering how much of the UX’s initial drives were confined to the Stockholm’s city streets says much about Lexus reinforcing where it believes its core market will spend most of their time.
Here its easy-going virtues come to the fore, easing the stresses of city life, the UX’s diminutive dimensions making it a doddle to thread through narrow streets.
Lexus regulars will also appreciate a weightier feel to the controls, steering in particular, although more communication through the rim wouldn’t go amiss if it’s going to challenge for the class honors.
Ultimately, the UX feels better when it’s configured to what Lexus does best: comfort. Stick to a Luxury grade model but spec the optional Adaptive Variable Suspension system for a polished ride.
Now, lets take a look at the “BUTS”
Up front, the plushness continues, with a typically Lexus-like cabin. It doesn’t feel quite as snug and coupe-like in the first row as the designers would have you believe, but in the back, the similarities are all too apparent.
Although the lexus ux 250h luxury 2019 is a three-seater bench, in truth two tall adults are going to be as comfortable back there as Jeremy Corbyn waiting for a bus outside a synagogue. Not only is it bereft of the head and legroom for six-footers, the door openings require Houdini-esque levels of limb manipulation.
It’s a space best reserved for pre-teens, should your back-seat passengers be larger, then an NX is what you need better anyway.
It’s a similar story once you’ve popped the electric tailgate to access a notably shallow boot. The rear seats fold over when required and there’s space beneath the carpeted floor, but in its ordinary configuration, you won’t fit many lifestyles in there.
Finally, there’s no doubting that if you’re in the front, at least, the Lexus UX is a very pleasurable place to spend time. It soothes with its comfort, quietness, and air of refinement, particularly if you stick with the standard 17-inch wheels and go for a Luxury specification model.
Even the styling is interesting in a softer-than-its-rivals manner, with aerodynamic creases and flicks all over the body, but best demonstrated by the tail lights. Whether it’s distinctive enough to draw attention away from its lack of ruggedness compared with its rivals is one thing, but the lack of room in the rear half of the car won’t win it many friends.
It won’t be a deal-breaker for everyone, of course, but it will be very efficient for those who appreciate comfort over sportiness.
Price when new: £30,000
On sale in the UK: spring 2019
Engine: 4-cyl, 2.0-litre non-turbocharged petrol-electric hybrid, 176bhp, 149lb ft
Transmission: automatic planetary gear set, front-wheel drive
Performance: 8.5sec 0-62mph, 110mph, 4288mpg, 131g/km
Weight / material: 1540kg/steel and aluminium
Dimensions (length/width/height in mm): 4495/2840/1520mm