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2020 Lexus UX 250h boasts stellar fuel economy, design and price Featured

Posted On Sunday, 15 November 2020 18:55 Written by
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The 2020 Lexus UX 250h features a high-quality interior, including very comfortable seating. The 2020 Lexus UX 250h features a high-quality interior, including very comfortable seating. Photo courtesy of Lexus

If you want to get people’s attention in the automotive world, there’s a couple routes you can take. You can aim at putting out the best product that outshines what is currently on the market. Or you can aim for a more affordable product to draw in car buyers looking to save.

Rarely are both achievable at the same time, but Lexus has come close to achieving that rare feat with its 2020 Lexus UX 250h, a hybrid SUV which delivers best-in-class fuel mileage and offers a beautifully designed vehicle inside and out.

LOOKS

Lexus’ UX, a subcompact SUV, slots in just below the Lexus NX in the automaker’s SUV lineup. It’s also one of the few vehicles in this class to offer a hybrid variant, giving it a leg up on the competition.

The exterior design features the usual sharp Lexus look, with a bold-looking grille and smooth angles and curves. Go inside the UX, and you'll find a luxurious look and feel, and some of the most comfortable seats in the business.

The front is very comfortable for both driver and passenger, but like all vehicles in the subcompact SUV segment, the biggest downside of the UX is its small rear seat, which is best left for small children and no adults. Storage space is also limited due to the smaller size of the vehicle.

The UX features LED headlamps, daytime running lights and turn signals, door handle courtesy lamps and tail lights. It sits on high-quality 18-inch aluminum wheels with run-flat all-season tires, and includes heated outer mirrors.

Inside, for comfort, you get an automatic Dual Zone climate control system with rear vents, and a driver seat  with 10-way power lumbar. The rear seat manually folds down for a 60/40 split rear seat, increasing storage options. Other touches that add to UX’s luxurious feel include a moonroof, rain-sensing wipers, heated and ventilated front seats, and a heated steering wheel.

Overall, other than the size limits this category of vehicle brings (larger families should move up to the NX or other larger luxury rides), the UX is executed to near perfection in terms of design.

HOW’S THE RIDE?

When it comes to hybrids, the quality of the ride is often in question, as many focus on the fuel mileage at the expense of performance. Thankfully, that is not the case with the UX 250h.

The vehicle features a 2.0-liter, four cylinder hybrid engine, paired with a CVT transmission. It’s total system output is 181 horsepower, and All-Wheel Drive is standard on the UX250h.

The UX 250h delivers a quality driving experience that does not lack for speed. You get moving quickly, and the vehicle's light weight allows for easy maneuvering and superb handling. I was never frustrated by the speed or lacking the ability to get moving, and it performed well on the freeway. Braking was also a strong point.

There is some loud piped-in noise to alert others of your presence, but other than that the vehicle is almost completely silent.

Does it measure up in performance to a non-hybrid luxury vehicle? Of course not, but that’s OK. It’s still a strong enough drive quality to make most people happy, and it’s much more affordable than those higher-performance vehicles.

TECHNOLOGY, SAFETY

Tech and safety features are a hit-and-miss affair on the UX lineup. Navigation commands worked well, even by voice, but on some occasions I found directions to be less than reliable.

On the plus side, a smart access entry system gives you keyless entry, and it includes push-button start, and 7-inch color multi-information display with driving information and outside temperature display. Steering wheel controls are also very helpful.

But the overall infotainment setup continues to suffer on the Lexus lineup. I do like the large, 10.3-inch color display, which is compatible with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. But the computer mouse-styled touchpad control in the center console really needs to go. It’s very hard to use, overly sensitive, and thankfully the voice commands work well for navigation, audio and phone so I could avoid it for the most part.

The UX also is Wi-Fi compatible (three-month trial included at 4 GB) and includes 4 USB ports and Bluetooth connectivity.

Safetywise, the UX has a much better overall portfolio. You get 10 airbags; anti-lock brakes with brake assist and a location-specific tire pressure monitoring.

The standard Lexus Safety System Plus 2.0 includes: Pre-collision system with pedestrian detection, dynamic radar cruise control, lane tracing assist, lane departure alert with steering assist, intelligent high beam headlamps, and road sign assist.

In addition, you get a backup camera, blind spot monitor, rear cross-traffic alert, and power back door with kick sensor. Optional additions are a wireless phone charger and a head-up display to keep your eyes on the road.

You also get nearly perfect safety ratings: 5 stars overall; and 4 stars or better on all individual ratings.

MPG
The official fuel mileage numbers on the 2020 Lexus UX 250h are 41 city/38 highway/39 combined. I averaged 38 mpg during my time in the vehicle. This is the best fuel mileage you’re going to get, period, from any SUV that does not need to be plugged in. So this will be a major selling point for people looking into fuel-efficient SUVs.

PRICE
The Lexus UX 250h I tested was priced at $43,625; base price starts about $35K. When you’re talking about luxury SUVs, even the smaller ones, you’re going to have trouble finding many competitors that are this affordable. And even the ones that do get close on price (BMW X1, Audi A3) can’t match the fuel mileage, so they have a higher cost of ownership.

BOTTOM LINE

With tremendous fuel mileage, a brilliant design, and a tempting price, the 2020 Lexus UX 250h stands out as one of the better luxury SUV offerings on the market for those of us not in the 1 percent. Lexus has pulled off something impressive here with this hybrid offering, and should see a significant boost of interest in the UX lineup.

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AutoTechReviews.com can be found on Twitter @AutoTechReview, or stay updated at the AutoTechReviews Facebook page. Matt Myftiu can be found on Twitter @MattMyftiu.

Additional Info

  • Vehicle: 2020 Lexus UX 250h 
  • Price as tested: $43,625 (Starts around $35K) 
  • Best feature: Fuel mileage, attractive exterior design, luxurious interior
  • Rating: 4 out of five stars
  • Who will want this vehicle?: Hybrid buyers who want a smaller, more affordable luxury model
Matt M. Myftiu

Matt Myftiu has been a journalist for two decades with a focus on technology, NASCAR and autos.

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