2024 Lexus UX250h Premium – Review by David Colman
A welcome respite in a morass of overly complex automobiles
Special Correspondent to THE AUTO CHANNEL
Recently, I have been testing technologically over-the-top cars designed to make driving as complicated as possible. These needlessly intimidating vehicles have replaced switches and knobs with obsidian digital screens incomprehensible to the layman. They make me feel as dumb as the chattering apes in 2001 A Space Odyssey. So it was with immense relief that I settled into the inviting and familiar bucket seat of a Lexus UX250h, a petite and affordable SUV that eliminates cutting edge pretense in favor of long-proven cockpit technology and protocol. My week in this littlest of all Lexus models provided an invigorating antidote to the techno monstrosities other companies are foisting on you in the name of progress.
While it may not look classically beautiful, the multi-planar shape of the UX250 delights your eye. Its curvaceous surface treatment looks especially fetching in the low light of daybreak or nightfall. Our example was finished in Iridium ($500 extra), a subtle shade that perfectly enhanced the SUV's undulating contours. The UX line is available with either front-wheel or all-wheel drive. Our tester was an FWD model, which kept the base price to a surprisingly reasonable $37,800. Aside from paint choice and Intuitive Parking Assist ($565), the only other significant addition to the sticker was a 12.3-inch touchscreen for $1,405. This upgrade provided "Drive Connect with Cloud Navigation, Intelligent Assistant, and Destination Assist." These information sources are time-limited to a 3-year trial, after which Lexus will presumably bill you for continued vigilance. With all the extras toted up, the selling price of the mini-SUV still looked like the best bargain basement way to sneak your nose under the Lexus tent at $41,645.
No matter whether you select front or all-wheel drive, you'll find the same hybrid 4-cylinder gas-fed engine mounted under the hood. Along with two electric motors, it's connected to a continuously variable transmission which is well suited to amplify the punch of the small displacement powerplant. Output of 181hp is less than stellar. However, because the UX only weighs 3,600 pounds, overall performance remains acceptable. The 0-60mph time clocks in at 8.6 seconds, while the standing start 1/4 mile drifts by in 16.6 seconds at 86mph. Top speed is governor limited to 112mph. But the big news here is not the acceleration table, but the hybrid's exceptional mileage bonus. The UX250h posts 42MPG in overall driving, a return on investment that will net you $3,250 in fuel cost savings over 5 years compared to the average new vehicle.
The interior of our UX250h presented a pleasing combination of black panels and flooring which really made the clay colored NuLuxe trimmed seats pop visually. If you order the Premium grade level UX, Lexus adds power adjustable, heated and ventilated front seats, a power rear door with kick sensor, rain sensing windshield wipers, a power moonroof, and color-keyed over-fenders which add to the monochromatic sleekness. Brushed aluminum spokes of the 18 inch alloy rims complement the Iridium finish. Bridgestone furnishes these rims with Turanza EL450 run flat all-season radials with a Treadwear Rating of TW 400. The UX250h is reasonably quick through the curves, with good front/rear balance that is a product of its short 103.9-inch wheelbase. But when you push it hard, the traction control systems intervene with such enthusiasm that they actually inhibit sport driving.
While such a condensed carriage generally means restricted rear seat legroom, we found the well tailored back seats to be both comfortable and easily accessed through well configured rear doors. Although shelf space in the hatchback is restricted to 17 cubic feet, the load platform is flat. The storage area conceals a nifty hidden compartment accessible by raising the center portion of the tail's floor panel. We also appreciate the fact that Lexus always provides a tidy First Aid kit in all it vehicles which is tethered to the trunk floor and thus always ready to use.
We were quite smitten with the UX250h's looks, practicality, nimbleness, and economy. It seemed like we drove it without stop for days on end and never noticed the fuel level dip below the three-quarter mark. If you are in the market for some Lexus luxury at a Toyota price point, give this UX250h a good close look.
2024 LEXUS UX250h PREMIUM
• ENGINE: 2.0 liter inline-4, DOHC 16-valve + 1 permanent magnet synchronous AC motor and 1 induction AC motor
• HORSEPOWER: 181hp
• TORQUE: N/A
• FUEL CONSUMPTION: 43MPG City/41 MPG Highway
• PRICE AS TESTED: $41,645
HYPES: Small, Maneuverable, Luxurious
GRIPES: 20 more HP please
STAR RATING: 10 Stars out of 10
©2023 David E Colman