Don’t look now, but crossovers have officially taken over the auto industry. Yes we know that’s not exactly what you would call “breaking news.” In fact, the auto industry has been shifting away from sedans and towards crossovers for quite some time now, but it’s really been taken up a notch during the last few years with auto manufacturers rolling out brand new models to get in on the action.
We can absolutely see the appeal of these versatile crossovers. They’re small enough to maneuver in tight spaces, contain ample room for storage, and are sporty enough to make daily driving an exciting ride.
Just last year, BMW introduced the sporty X2, Cadillac debuted the stylish XT4 and now we have the latest entry to sub-compact market: the 2019 Lexus UX.
Getting to know the First-Ever Lexus UX
Now the most budget-friendly option in the vast Lexus lineup, the UX slides right below the Lexus NX in price and size, starting at $32K for the 2019 UX 200. Other UX trims include the UX 250h (hybrid) and UX 250h F Sport (sporty hybrid.) It’s important to note that those looking for an all-wheel-drive UX will have to opt for either hybrid option, as the UX 200 only comes in FWD format. Deciding on the gas-powered or hybrid option will most likely come down to the importance of having an all-wheel-drive vehicle, a huge factor for those living in the Northeast region.
From afar, the UX closely resembles its cousin, the Toyota CH-R – and for good reason. It’s based on the CH-R’s build and also borrows its’ powertrain from the Toyota Corolla hatch.
However, up close is where you really start to see where the UX sets itself apart. Premium plastic and faux leather materials make up the interior, while bold styling makes the UX stand out quite well in a sea of crossovers. Now, when we say stand out, we’re not saying this car is a unanimous knock-out in the design department – but that’s not necessarily a bad thing.
Personally, we love the front stylings that have become a mainstay with recent Lexus models, but we can see why some people might be turned off by the UX’s futuristic, yet awkward rear (Although we must say, the LED taillights are pretty neat.) As we mentioned earlier, bold style lines dominate the sides of the UX, and you’ll either love them or hate them because they do make up a good amount of the car’s appearance. Overall, the UX provides distinctive styling for better or worse, and we’ll take that any day over the bland, cookie-cutter designs that we’ve seen plenty of over the years.
Safety and Tech
Standard features are abound in the UX, and really provide great value to those interested in the little Lexus. Apple CarPlay, in our opinion a very useful and underrated feature, comes standard, as well as Amazon Alexa integration. Unfortunately, there’s no Android Auto support as of yet, so Galaxy and Pixel users will be out of luck for the time being. Lexus keeps its standard infotainment system on tap for the UX, with navigation included in luxury packages. Lexus also includes their remote touchpad as well, but we found that it takes some getting used to and can be pretty frustrating to operate until you get the hang of it.
An active safety suite that includes automatic emergency braking, lane tracing assist, adaptive cruise control, and cyclist detection, comes standard on every UX, keeping the feature count high and extra costs down – which is more than we can say about some competing models.
Under the Hood
We’re not gonna mince words here – the UX 200 is most definitely not a speed burner. With a 2.0L 169 hp engine powering the UX 200, this sub-compact crossover definitely profiles as more of a cruising, fuel-sipping crossover, rather than a sporty one. The UX takes its time getting from 0-60, clocking in at a Lexus reported 8.9 seconds. Those looking for a sportier ride will need to opt for the aptly name F-Sport hybrid trim, which makes 189 hp and clocks in at a slightly better 0-60 time of 8.6 seconds. The F-Sport trim will also unlock a sportier interior and some seriously fun interior color options like blue, orange and green.
Even though speed isn’t necessarily the main focus of the UX, gas mileage absolutely is, and the sub-compact crossover really shines in this arena. The UX boasts an EPA estimated 29 mpg city and 37 mpg highway, making for a stellar combined mpg rating of 33. Not too shabby, Lexus. Opt for the 250h hybrid model, and you’ll enjoy even better results, with 41/38 city and highway mpg splits respectively. That means less time at the pump and more time on the road for those keeping score at home.
Dimensions and Cargo Room
With sub-compact crossovers, it’s no secret that it’s very important to create just enough space on the interior so that the ride doesn’t end up feeling cramped. Lexus does it’s best to make sure this is the case with the UX. Front and back row legroom is in line with other competitors like the BMW X2, although the X2 offers a little more love in the space department for those backseat riders. Cargo room isn’t exactly spacious with just under 22 cubic feet, but it will do just fine for that trip to the grocery store or a trip to the airport to pick up family in town. All in all, Lexus did an admirable job making sure that drivers and passengers alike have no feelings of claustrophobia while cruising in the UX for long periods of time.
Competition is fierce in this ever-expanding crossover segment, and the UX definitely holds its own against some of the heavyweights in its class. Take a look at how it stacks up against the newcomer 2019 BMW X2 and the more seasoned 2019 Mercedes Benz GLA.
With the introduction of the UX, Lexus finally has a model to attract younger, value-minded buyers that still want to drive in luxury and style. The UX accomplishes that and then more, by providing unique love-it-or-hate-it styling, the most active safety features in its class and a mind geared toward supplying superb fuel efficiency.
Interested in getting behind the wheel of the first-ever Lexus UX? Contact the team at Capital Motor Cars for the best prices and free home delivery straight to your door.
Click here for current lease prices on the 2019 Lexus UX 200.