2022 Lexus UX 250h Luxury – Review by David Colman +VIDEO
A perfect around town companion
Special Correspondent to THE AUTO CHANNEL
The most affordable Lexus of the entire model line is the UX mini-SUV. The available grades consist of two gas powered models, the UX 200 F Sport ($35,340) and the UX 200 Luxury ($38,040), both of which feature 169hp engines 4 cylinder engines, front-wheel-drive and 10-speed CVT transmissions. Bump up to the more fuel efficient hybrid range and you have your choice of 3 UX 250h variants. The least expensive is the UX 250h ($35,200), with the sportier UX 250h F Sport retailing for $37,540. The most expensive hybrid is the subject of this test - the UX 250h Luxury ($40,240). All three hybrids carry an electric motor which pairs with a 2.0 liter gas engine to produce 181hp. The hybrids feature all-wheel-drive which feeds through a 6-speed CVT transmission. Our Luxury model added a set of triple-beam LED headlights and cornering lamps for $1,660, a head-up display for $500 and Intuitive Parking Assist for $565, bringing the bottom line to $44,115. That price places it at the most expensive end of this cheapest Lexus range.
The UX is a small and nimble vehicle. Its main claim to handling fame is an astoundingly narrow turning circle of just 34.2 ft. What this means is you simply need to twitch the responsive steering wheel a minuscule amount and - voila! - you're headed in the opposite direction. It's the U-Turn Champ. This hyper obedience to input pays great dividends around town, where the ability to dart from one lane to the next is a coveted asset. Not for nothing has the UX been branded the Urban Explorer for its extreme mobility. Sophisticated fully independent front and rear suspension systems maintain equanimity. A hefty tire patch furthers this vehicle's stability. Lexus fits the Luxury model with 18x7J five spoke alloy rims with a striking dark gray and machined finish. They fit these rollers with run-flat (RF) Bridgestone Turanza EL450 radials (225/50RF-18 M&S) that will allow you to corner hard with confidence. Should you experience a sudden loss of tire pressure, the RF feature allows you to travel no more than 100 miles at no more than 50mph before servicing the damaged carcass.
The interior of the UX Luxury closely approximates the level of sophistication that distinguishes this brand from lesser vehicles. There is nothing cheap or nasty about the attention to detail here. The backs of the front chairs are exquisitely trimmed with a subtle waffle pattern which looks elegant. The rest of the interior fitting are equally plush. The front seats are both supportive and climate controlled, with heating or ventilation conveniently available from a set of real button switches. The operation of the excellent 8 speaker Lexus Premium Sound System falls to a remote touch interface pad that is quite convenient to operate once you familiarize yourself with its idiosyncrasies. The Luxury model is fitted with an extra large 10.3 inch multimedia display screen that is 2 inches wider than the unit fitted to the base model UX. With more than 300 stations of programming available from SiriusXM (3 months free) there's little incentive to bother bringing your own music along.
If the UX hybrid has a weak point, it's that 181hp output. Though the UX 250h will crank off an 8.6 second run from 0-60mph, the unit feels constantly underpowered in freeway driving. It doesn't help that the CVT has just 6 notches of choice compared to the 10 available in the non-hybrid UX. When you need passing power for safe lane changes in heavy interstate traffic, the hybrid is hard pressed to oblige. The problem lies in the power-to-weight ratio of 19.8lb/hp. That's simply not enough to cut the mustard when you need a spurt of power right now. Adding to the shortfall is the hybrid's propensity to issue an unnerving whine when pressed for more immediate power. The flipside of this equation is the excellent fuel economy it posts, with an overall rating of 39MPG.
Let's say you're a conservative driver looking for a perfectly tailored new ride. You don't care about speed, but you do care about amenities and build quality. You do most of your driving in city environments, significantly less of it on the freeway. The UX 250h Luxury could prove to be your perfect around town companion.
2022 LEXUS UX 250h LUXURY
ENGINE: 2.0 liter inline 4, DOHC 16-valve VVT-i intake & exhaust + high output permanent-magnet electric-drive motor with EV Mode
FUEL CONSUMPTION: 41MPG City/38MPG Highway
PRICE AS TESTED: $44,115
HYPES: Petite, Cute
GRIPES: Too Slow
STAR RATING: 8.5 Stars out of 10