Hybrid tech and striking design give Lexus UX250h unique edge over trendy crossover rivals

“Hybrid tech and striking design gives Lexus UX250h unique edge over trendy crossover rivals”

  • Striking design and high quality interior

  • High-tech Hybrid technology keeps running costs and emissions down

  • Refined and enjoyable to drive

81%

Overall Rating

  • Premium price tag

  • Touchpad for the infotainment is too fussy

  • Boot is smaller than many rivals

Overall Rating

Overview

The new Lexus UX250h is the Japanese brand’s first attempt at a compact crossover. And while the concept of a small posh SUV might not be new, the UX promises to bring something different to the segment with its edgy design and high-tech Hybrid technology. The result is a surprisingly fun and youthful offering which looks set to introduce a whole new generation to the luxury nameplate.

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Interior Gallery

Space & Practicality

The boot might appear snug on first glance but you’ll find some additional storage when you lift the boot floor. While this does still make things awkward for carrying larger items, some might find it handy for separating shopping or hiding valuables. At 320l, it could certainly do with a bit more space but the aesthetics of the high-mounted opening are quite pleasing, and it requires very little bending to load. There’s also a smattering of handy extras like hooks, tether points, and 60:40 split-folding rear seats.

Space in the back feels fairly typical for the class. Leg and headroom are fine if you’re under six foot, but taller passengers may struggle with both.  The middle seat passenger will have more legroom than they would in most rivals thanks to a fairly low transmission tunnel, as well as somewhere to charge their phone with two USB outlets. Unfortunately, there’s very little in the way of storage back there, with no door bins and just one seat pocket on the passenger side.

Storage in the front is better, with a central unit under the armrest that opens in a clever double-hinged style, and a couple of well-placed cup holders below a convenient spot to park your phone. Doorbins are a little on the snug side, as is the glovebox but the overall feeling of space is quite good and so too is the driving position. There’s plenty of adjustment too, although you’ll have to go for the top-spec F-Sport if you want that adjustment to be electric.

Equipment and Safety

All UXs come very well equipped as standard with a 7 inch multi-media display, semi-digital instrument cluster, parking sensors and an impressive list of safety kit all included in the €40,000 entry price of the S-Design. Where you really want to be though is the Luxury model which starting at €45,000 adds some really nice touches like upgraded styling, larger wheels, SatNav, heated front seats and a choice of cream or black leather upholstery.
A price walk of €1400 will get you a top of the range F-Sport which adds a very slick F-Sport body kit, a larger 8 inch multimedia screen, electric seats and some more funky F-Sport styling details like aluminium pedals and custom F-Sport seats.

Interior quality is excellent. The funky cuts and creases continue inside the cabin and give it a modern and premium feel, yet it still manages to hold on to that old school luxurious Lexus magic. There are a lot more buttons on display than what you’ll find in many of its competitors, which will please those who prefer a more tactile experience and they are all beautifully designed.  The analogue clock and CD player add to its retro-lux appeal and create an environment that is both totally charming and highly functional.

The infotainment may not have the same wow factor as some of its rivals, but again it does have its own unique appeal with its subtle, well-integrated placement and great usability. Less impressive is the overly fussy touchpad underneath, which is way too fiddly to use on the move. Luckily enough, you don’t need to use it for your main controls with most vital functions just a a flick or a turn away.

Performance & Running Costs

The sole powertrain available on the UX is the new M-series 2.0l 250h Hybrid system with a combined power output of 184hp. It feels confident and powerful on the road and it delivers that power quickly thanks to that initial battery boost from the Hybrid system.

It also handles surprisingly well. Sometimes combining a Hybrid powertrain with an SUV body shell can result in a bit of a snoozefest behind the wheel, but the neat dimensions give it a fun, hunkered feel that makes you want to play around with it a little more. A Drive Mode Selector will allow you to choose between normal, eco and sport, the latter of which does liven the ride up considerably.

As for general road manners, everything from the steering to the suspension feels well-balanced and well judged. The only thing that might take a bit of getting used to is the groan from the e-CVT gearbox when you accelerate too quickly, a quirk shared with many of its Hybrid peers.

Fuel economy is another very pressing matter when it comes to Hybrids and the official WLTP figure for our test car was 5.6l per 100km – which we managed to get reasonably close to at 6.1l/100km. That was without any special Hybrid driver adaptions and over a mix of different conditions including plenty of motorway, which means it does perform slightly better than its similarly sized diesel rivals.

Reliability & Residuals

Lexus enjoys a strong reputation for reliability, and demand for second hand Hybrids on the used market, alongside what appears to be a relatively trouble-free ownership experience for existing Toyota/Lexus Hybrid customers should ensure strong residual values.

The UX250h manages to offer something distinctive in both the premium crossover segment it competes in, and from the rest of the more conservative Lexus line up. This can only serve to have a positive effect on their image and help to widen its appeal to younger buyers.

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