2019 Lexus UX first-drive review: Just what new premium shoppers want

    It is a lede we have printed time and time once more lately: Clients love crossovers, particularly ones with luxurious badges on the nostril, so a premium automaker is introducing a smaller, extra reasonably priced one. This time, it is the 2019 Lexus UX, which arrives within the US this December to fit on the backside finish of the corporate’s vary.

    Like a lot of its rivals, the UX is aimed toward the kind of urban-dwelling younger folks whom demographers imagine need automobiles for journey somewhat than, properly, driving. “A automobile that’s versatile for his or her way of life is extra essential to them than horsepower,” says Cynthia Tenhouse, Lexus normal supervisor of product and client advertising. And, positive sufficient, the UX is none-too-exciting from behind the wheel. However its luxurious appointments, beneficiant function set and engaging worth ought to greater than make up for any dynamic downfalls.

    Small constructing blocks, massive fashion

    The UX builds on Toyota’s GA-C (International Structure Compact) modular platform and is carefully associated to the reasonably priced C-HR. In contrast with that crossover, nevertheless, the UX’s subcompact chassis will get additional laser welding and structural adhesives to extend rigidity. The doorways, hood and entrance fenders are constituted of aluminum and the liftgate from polymers, all to avoid wasting weight. At 177 inches lengthy sitting on a 103.9-inch wheelbase, the UX is 5.Three inches shorter than the NX, Lexus’ next-biggest crossover.

    It is simply as fairly as different Lexus crossovers, which is to say the UX is an acquired style. The chunky, plastic-clad fenders are supposed to add some toughness, whereas Lexus’ acquainted big spindle grille dominates the nostril. The place so many new luxury cars are supplied in black, silver and white, the UX’s palette is pleasantly numerous, with such choices as Nori Inexperienced, Cadmium Orange and Autumn Shimmer.

    The very best styling aspect are the taillight assemblies. These three-dimensional parts along side the physique function practical air guides (contributing to Zero.33 drag coefficient) and are linked by a Three-millimeter-thick full-width LED aspect. It seems to be particularly slick if you observe a UX at the hours of darkness. Go for the F Sport mannequin to nab a special grille design, a special entrance fascia with inset fog lights and distinctive 18-inch wheels (plus varied inside and mechanical tweaks I will focus on momentarily).

    The styling is daring from each angle — particularly in a extra daring colour like this one.


    Two engine choices are supplied. The UX 200 makes use of a 2.Zero-liter inline-four rated for 169 horsepower and 151 pound-feet of torque, with front-wheel drive and a constantly variable transmission. As within the Corolla Hatchback from whence this powertrain comes, the distinctive CVT has a set first gear for crisper take-off. The UX 250h, in the meantime, makes use of a hybrid that mixes an Atkinson-cycle model of the two.Zero-liter tuned for 143 horsepower, together with two motor-generators, to drive the entrance wheels; peak output is 175 horsepower. There’s one other motor that may ship as much as 7 horsepower to the rear wheels at as much as 45 miles per hour to endow the 250h with low-speed all-wheel drive.

    As with most Lexus fashions, upgrading to the F Sport bundle brings no powertrain enhancements, however you do get retuned shock absorbers, new anti-roll bars, stiffer wheels and totally different tires. The US won’t, nevertheless, get the adaptive damping featured on the European F Sport bundle.

    Whichever powertrain you choose, my expertise on the UX’s Stockholm, Sweden world launch reveals that this Lexus drives simply tremendous, a judgment which will sound like faint reward. The non-hybrid feels the faster of the pair on the street, with pleasantly sturdy midrange torque and clean energy supply (although neither is very brisk above metropolis speeds). The hybrid is quiet and slick off the road when it is working on electrical energy, however its engine can each sound and really feel strained when requested for extra acceleration. 

    At the least its brake pedal feels virtually precisely the identical as that of the non-hybrid, spectacular given how usually regenerative braking ends in mushy and unpredictable brake really feel.

    2019 Lexus UX 250h2019 Lexus UX 250h

    Lexus expects an EPA ranking of 38 miles per gallon mixed from the hybrid.


    It is actually robust to get enthusiastic about driving the Lexus UX, even within the F Sport mannequin with the drive-select knob twisted to Sport+, since you all the time really feel mildly indifferent from what is going on on. The UX’s chassis is agile and blissful to alter course, however not precisely wanting to dive into bends. No suggestions is telegraphed by way of the steering wheel, however at the very least the motion is properly weighted, fast and exact. It is a crossover that may neither annoy nor excite you on the street — becoming in properly with the ethos of most different Lexus fashions.

    Although Lexus claims its UX has the quietest cabin within the class, a notable quantity of wind roar comes off the aspect mirrors at freeway velocity (which, in Sweden, seems to be an exhilarating 62 miles per hour) and there is a good quantity of tire and suspension noise. Nonetheless, in visitors the cabin does preserve most exterior hubbub at bay.

    Gas economic system from each powertrains shall be a excessive level. The UX 200 is anticipated to return 33 miles per gallon mixed (actual EPA metropolis and freeway numbers are nonetheless being finalized). That is extra environment friendly than rivals just like the Audi Q3, BMW X1, Mercedes-Benz GLA-Class and Volvo XC40, although it is value noting the Lexus is much less highly effective. The hybrid ought to publish 38 mpg mixed.

    2019 Lexus UX 250h2019 Lexus UX 250h

    The cabin is well-organized and crammed with premium supplies.


    Excessive-quality cabin

    The within of the Lexus UX affords loads of area in your fellow active-lifestyle mates. With the driving force’s seat adjusted so I may drive comfortably, I had good (if not distinctive) legroom within the second row, in addition to loads of headroom, so becoming 4 adults needs to be tremendous. Although a low cowl and thin pillars present a panoramic view ahead and to the edges, the UX’s stylized C-pillars and considerably small rear window scale back over-your-shoulder visibility.

    Cargo area is a bit tight. The ground could be very excessive (though there’s nothing — not even a spare tire — beneath it) and the liftgate slopes, so that you get simply 21.7 cubic ft of area within the UX 200 and 17.1 cubic ft within the UX 250h. The rear seats do fold down for extra storage.

    Materials selections all through the cabin are becoming for the UX’s worth level, and the entire switchgear has a satisfying tactile really feel. Daring colour schemes embody purple upholstery and a white-and-blue alternative, and there are alternatives for Japanese “washi”-inspired dashboard toppers. A full-color digital instrument cluster presents a lot of driver info entrance and heart, supplemented by an non-obligatory colour head-up show. In F Sport fashions, the cluster has a shifting gauge ring, as seen in different sporty Lexuses.

    2019 Lexus UX 250h2019 Lexus UX 250h

    These controls on the console make utilizing the fiddly infotainment system a little bit simpler.


    The UX comes customary with a 7-inch infotainment system, whereas a 10-inch model with navigation is non-obligatory. Sadly, each of these screens depend on the identical frustratingly obtuse Distant Contact Interface software program as present in different Lexus fashions. Translation? An excessively difficult menu construction is operated by a twitchy touchpad on the middle console. In contrast to another Lexus fashions, the heated/cooled seat and heated steering wheel controls have thankfully been liberated from the infotainment show and have bodily buttons.

    A significant enchancment within the system’s usability is the addition of latest controls by the armrest particularly designed so that you can use together with your proper hand whereas driving. There are search, tune, quantity, radio and media buttons, all of which may be manipulated with out taking your wrist off the armrest. It really works very properly, however the “tune” knob is by your thumb and the quantity by your index finger; I would somewhat have them swapped as I spend extra time adjusting quantity than tuning.

    Help for Apple CarPlay is customary whereas Android Auto stays unavailable. Although Lexus officers say they’re “nonetheless and researching” including Android Auto, they cited information displaying that 80 % of Lexus drivers personal iPhones.

    2019 Lexus UX 250h2019 Lexus UX 250h

    The 10-inch widescreen show has brilliant, crisp graphics.


    The infotainment system additionally has built-in Spotify web radio assist and Amazon Alexa integration for, say, locking or remote-starting your automotive by voice command. A Wi-Fi hotspot comes with one 12 months/four GB of knowledge free of charge, after which you may have to pay for a Verizon information plan. You will additionally discover 4 2.1-amp USB ports (two up entrance, two in again) to cost your devices up rapidly. A wi-fi system charging pad can also be non-obligatory.

    Security gear is in abundance, with the UX that includes the Lexus Security System 2.Zero Plus suite as customary. That decodes to imply pre-collision braking with bike owner and pedestrian detection, adaptive cruise management with Lane Tracing Help, computerized braking in reverse and street signal help — that final function may even present warnings for cease or do-not-enter indicators. Blind-spot monitoring is non-obligatory.

    The best mannequin on the proper worth

    Pricing for the UX 200 will begin at $32,000, not together with $1,025 for vacation spot, which can undercut the Mercedes GLA-Class, BMW X1 and Audi Q3. The UX 250h hybrid, in the meantime, will begin at $34,000, and each fashions will supply all-wheel drive for a further $2,000. Nonetheless, that’ll make the brand new mannequin probably the most reasonably priced Lexus mannequin within the US, slotting under the $37,180 NX 300. The UX 200 will hit sellers in December with the 250h following in January 2019.

    2019 Lexus UX 250h2019 Lexus UX 250h

    As is the case with its rivals, the UX is focused towards urban-dwelling drivers.


    You will additionally be capable to subscribe to the UX by way of a brand new program known as Lexus Complete Lease. Although costs have not been finalized, this system will bundle lease funds and insurance coverage prices into one mounted month-to-month sum.

    It is simple to put in writing off the Lexus UX; its largely forgettable driving expertise and not-for-everyone styling are robust to get enthusiastic about when there are lots of fascinating choices on this crowded section. 

    However, the UX arguably affords a greater value-for-money equation than its rivals, with all of the expertise and elegance some prospects are in search of in what could also be their first luxurious automotive. For that cause, it is certain to be a success with customers. Most of these automobiles are the most popular factor going — crossovers and SUVs already account for 69 % of Lexus gross sales — and the 2019 UX is the best automobile to capitalize on that craze.

    Editors’ notice: Roadshow accepts multiday automobile loans from producers in an effort to present scored editorial critiques. All scored automobile critiques are accomplished on our turf and on our phrases. Nonetheless, for this function, the producer lined journey prices. That is widespread within the auto business, as it’s miles extra economical to ship journalists to automobiles than to ship automobiles to journalists.

    The judgments and opinions of Roadshow’s editorial staff are our personal and we don’t settle for paid editorial content material.

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