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First drive: Lexus UX 250h. Image by Lexus.

First drive: Lexus UX 250h
With its bold crossover styling and hybrid powertrain, the Lexus UX is on-trend, but will it be in demand?


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Lexus UX 250h F Sport

3.5 3.5 3.5 3.5 3.5

Because of its hybrid system, the Lexus UX crossover doesn't have many direct rivals in the small SUV segment when it comes to powertrain. However, this hybrid-only strategy may alienate buyers that can't think beyond pure diesel or petrol power. On the other hand, the UX's bold design and green credentials may open Lexus up to a whole new market.

Test Car Specifications

Model tested: Lexus UX 250h F Sport
Engine: 2.0-litre four-cylinder petrol engine with synchronous electric motor
Transmission: electronic continuously variable transmission (E-CVT), front-wheel drive
Body style: five-door, five-seat crossover
CO2 emissions: 102g/km (VED band 101-110: 145 in first year) *
Combined economy: 65.7mpg *
Top speed: 110mph
0-62mph: 8.5 seconds
Power: petrol 143hp at 6,000rpm, electric motor 80kW (109hp), maximum system output 178hp
Torque: petrol 180Nm at 4,400rpm, electric motor 202Nm, no maximum system output quoted
* Target figures according to Lexus

What's this?

This is the all-new Lexus UX urban crossover. Yes, that's right, it's another compact SUV from Lexus, but this one is even more compact than the NX has a smaller engine and a smaller price tag with a starting cost of around 30,000.

In some markets, the UX is available with a 2.0-litre petrol engine, badged the UX 200, but the UK isn't getting that model. Coming to these shores will be the hybrid UX 250h version, and there will be a choice of front-wheel drive or electronic all-wheel drive. The hybrid is only available with the E-CVT gearbox. Final specifications haven't been confirmed, but the UX will be available in Luxury and F Sport grades.

With its compact proportions, striking styling and green credentials, Lexus is hoping to appeal to younger buyers and of course urban dwellers.

How does it drive?

On the positive side, the driving position is a little higher than a hatchback's if a little lower than most other crossovers, so it's a good compromise between feeling like you're sat inside the car rather than on it and good visibility. There is a lovely weight to the steering and the UX is easy to manoeuvre and has a tight turning circle, perfect for compact city streets.

The F Sport models get a sportier suspension setup that can be further enhanced with Lexus' adaptive variable suspension. In general, the suspension is firm, but still does a great job of insulating occupants from the worst lumps and bumps of rougher road surfaces.

Motorway cruising is a calm, smooth, civilised affair, but unfortunately, to get up to cruising speed, you do have to put up with some noisy acceleration thanks to the CVT gearbox if you want to get going in a hurry. Attempting a quick overtake tends to result in a steep climbing of engine revs that is not matched by meaningful acceleration. Dial back the intent a tad and it's a far less fraught and more refined affair.


With such a bold design, the UX really does stand out from the crowd of other premium compact SUVs, of which there are many. It also stands out with its hybrid powertrain, a first in the segment. Sure, it's nothing special to drive, but, in terms of desirability, the Lexus UX is ticking all the right boxes of current consumer wants.

4.5 4.5 4.5 4.5 4.5 Exterior Design

4 4 4 4 4 Interior Ambience

3 3 3 3 3 Passenger Space

3.5 3.5 3.5 3.5 3.5 Luggage Space

4.5 4.5 4.5 4.5 4.5 Safety

4 4 4 4 4 Comfort

3.5 3.5 3.5 3.5 3.5 Driving Dynamics

3 3 3 3 3 Powertrain

Melanie May - 12 Sep 2018    - Lexus road tests
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2019 Lexus UX 250h. Image by Lexus.2019 Lexus UX 250h. Image by Lexus.2019 Lexus UX 250h. Image by Lexus.2019 Lexus UX 250h. Image by Lexus.2019 Lexus UX 250h. Image by Lexus.

2019 Lexus UX 250h. Image by Lexus.2019 Lexus UX 250h. Image by Lexus.2019 Lexus UX 250h. Image by Lexus.2019 Lexus UX 250h. Image by Lexus.2019 Lexus UX 250h. Image by Lexus.


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