2019 lexus UX
Automobile brands believe that consumers want something new and different that fit their varying lifestyles. This is the case for subcompact SUV/crossovers. It is not enough that mainstream brands can sell such small SUVs for those of us living in tighter urban enclaves. There are now plenty of offerings from premium and luxury brands living in more upscale tight urban neighborhoods.
The newest offering comes from Lexus. Their model – the UX – simply translates into “Urban Exploration.” It may appear that they have taken the popular NX compact SUV and shrunk it down to fit in a tight parking spot in any given neighborhood near downtown anywhere, but Lexus believes that the UX is its own special kind of vehicle.
So, we took one to the test. Here is what we thought of the 2019 Lexus UX 200 F Sport with the Luxury package that was presented to us recently.
If you follow Lexus at all, the design should be familiar to you. At least, the basics – spindle grille, sharp-edge headlamps, and semi-fastback design for SUV/crossovers. However, its smaller size lends to some differences. Including the absence of a glass pane on the c-pillar. Visibility is rather decent without one.
The most compelling about the Lexus UX is its rear end. The taillights are formed away from the shape of the body, even forming a “tail fin” effect on top. Meanwhile, the liftgate opens up high, bit closes just above the license plate housing, framed above the rear skid plate. The wheel arches have plastic cladding around them that square off at each end. It is an interesting looking Lexus overall – something completely different for the luxury brand.
When you step inside the UX, you are greeted by a familiar space with plenty of familiar Lexus elements. The instrument binnacle of our F Sport tester had the sliding large dial, housing a TFT screen with a digital speedometer and graphic tachometer. If the dial is in the center, your fuel and temperature gauges are on each side. However, the dial slides to the right, you have access to more information from trip, fuel economy, and vehicle readouts. The gas and temperature gauges are reduced to two bar graphics.
On top of the center stack is a wide screen for the infotainment system. To access this screen, you have to work touch pad on the center console, along with some excellent controls that surround the touch pad and the armrest. These controls, as well as others across the instrument panel and on the steering wheel, have excellent touch and logic – as expected in a Lexus.
Our tester sports a red and black interior motif. The front seats offer aggressive bolstering on the cushion and seatback with a tall headrest. Not all bodies can fit well within the bolsters, but they are very supportive for most. Four average-sized adults can be comfortable inside the UX. Cargo capacity is at 21.7 cubic feet behind the rear seat, but there is a bit of a step-down to load roller bags inside.
There are two drivelines to choose from in the UX. Our tester had the 169-horsepower 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine with an exclusive 10-speed continuously variable transmission and front-wheel-drive. This driveline is fine around town, but you do get the usual CVT gearing at full throttle. It does shift down quicker than most CVTs at a peak engine speed. To access all ratios, there are paddle shifters on the back of the steering wheel. We averaged 32.5 MPG in the UX 200 F Sport.
You can opt for a UX 250h Hybrid, where total system output is raised to 181 horsepower and is standard with all-wheel-drive. This is a better choice for those of you living in wintry climates.
It is clear that the UX is designed for more urban environments. However, it does offer a solid ride for those seeking exploration outside of the city. The UX also handles very well – more like a sporty hatchback than a crossover. The brakes are superb with excellent stopping power and pedal feedback. You will also find a solid response from the steering wheel with a good turning radius for its size. The UX is equipped with a solid suite of driver assistance features, including Dynamic Radar Cruise Control, Blind Spot Detection, and Daytime Pedestrian Detection with added Daytime and Low-Light Bicyclist Detection.
The UX lineup is priced from $32,000. Our UX 200 F Sport tester came with a sticker price of $40,115 with the Luxury Package included.
Lexus has now entered into a very interesting segment in the luxury field – the subcompact SUV/crossover. Consumers will compare the UX with the Volvo XC40, Mercedes-Benz GLA, BMW X1 and X2, MINI Countryman, Infiniti QX30, and Audi Q3.
However, the UX is an interesting vehicle onto itself. For a small crossover/SUV, it does a great job around town making urban life easier. Overall, it is a very good effort by Lexus to enter into this segment.
Story Credits: CarSoup Editors