IN MARKET FOR : personal urban luxury crossover utility vehicle.
READ and LIKED : Roadblazing.com’s Bottom Line Review of the 2019 Lexus UX 200 F-Sport cute ute.
HAVE ADDRESS : either above 35° north or below 35° south of the Equator, making all-wheel drive preferable.
WANT SEGMENT EXCLUSIVE GAS ELECTRIC HYBRID ECONOMY
GOTTA’ GET THE: 2019 Lexus UX 250h gas-electric hybrid, the only version in U.S. available with all-wheel drive.
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2019 Lexus UX 250h Hybrid highlights:
– Starting price, including destination = $35,025 all-wheel drive, 16V Atkinson cycle DOHC 2.0L inline-4 cylinder + Synergy Hybrid Drive 3-Motor, 24 kWh battery, 10-step Continuously Variable transmission. As tested F-Sport = $37,025 MSRP
– The all wheel drive, gas battery electric hybrid version of the front drive UX 200. Quicker off the line than the gas only sibling.
– Judging by its low take rate the predecessor CT-200h didn’t mask the fact that it was 95% conventionalized Prius, 5% Lexus quieting and badging. Though the new UX stand on the opposite end of the Lexus stately spectrum, it is amazing what an incremental lift, a floating roof and oodles of dark contrast body cladding can do for it’s upscale urban active lifestyle appeal. Spec the F-Sport for the larger wheels, and lattice front corner brake duct fangs. Dark tint even does wonder for the bloat known as the Lexus hood to lower valance spindle grille. Front corner air dam fangs and boomerang LED assemblies fore and aft impart the limit of urban locales daring intentions.
– The migration of many a cabin binnacle and control from the flagship LC grand touring 2+2 sports coupe from the ensures a focus on driver unison of comfort and control. The deep hooded instrument bin containing the electro-sliding concentric TFT gauge, flanked by twist knobs for traction and drive modes should win fans. Tiered dash panels, detailed in grain, exquisitely soft to the skin contrast stitching, finely brushed if faux metal accents, laminated acoustic glass, tight pile carpets and webbed headliners are the marks of craftmanship.
- The power tilt / telescoping heated leather steering wheel = uncommonly decadent for this segment. Windows whisper making their journey up or down.
– The embedded standard non-native navigation dual pane 7.0″ center dash top media display is a constant reminder of the 10.3″ screen which could have occupied the same housing had navigation been opted for. The tri-pane window split screen informative once the touch remote interface is mastered, a daunting task for the hexagenerians and up. Unfortunately it cannot be induced into displaying Lexus’ mobile app based navigation map on the home screen.
Apple CarPlay adherents are treated to their app projection and Android Auto users will get theirs in 2020 Lexus models. One has to wonder how much longer Scout GPS Link maps and other apps included in standard Lexus Enform 2.0 suite will be for this world.
– Perforated Softex simulated leather upholstery does an excellent job faking the feel and scent.
– F-Sport seats, alone worth the price of admission to the upgrade, swaddle a wider latitude of forms. A low cowl and beltline aid outward view. +1 Sliding front center armrest. -1 Big and Tall Be Aware: cabin space is at a premium here, particularly in the rear perch.
– Despite hatchback configuration the Lexus UX 250h lands at the back of the pack in cargo toting. Cabin storage = commendable with glove box, center console nooks, a deep sub arm-rest bin, though door pockets are strictly for bottles. +1 Concealed lower center stack deep wireless device storage; √ 6 cup, bottle holders, √ overhead retracting sunglass bin.
– Sufficient intraurban urgency is on tap with the 181 hp dished up by the net parallel series gas electric hybrid. Positive spin: 12 horsepower more than in the gas only model, but totes 200 more mostly battery pounds.
-1 Negative Spin: The competition’s turbo-4 ICE only models develop 33% more power, keeping the UX 250h in their rear view mirrors.
- Activated only upon low traction, a rear mounted 7 hp induction motor churns the back wheels for stability control. That nominal all-wheel drive won’t engage above 43 miles per hour. Atkinson cycle firing barely contains front traction motor to gas engine handoff shudder.
- All Lexus UXs have band pulley CVTs. Non-hybrid UXs feature a supplemental dedicated 1st planetary gear with torque converter, for cleaner up and down shifts. The hybrid UX doesn’t. Instead, slapping the F-Sport included simulated magnesium helm mount shift paddles won’t stir the 10 shift steps above leisurely.
– For such a short wheelbase crossover on 18″ inch wheels to deliver such a magnitude of road serenity it has to be a Lexus. Such quiet runflat tires trail in dry adhesion. In concert with slow, if hefty weighted, steering they don’t imbue the UX 250h with sharp turn-in. Regenerative braking is less obtrusive than in the past but the pedal still errs on the side of mushy.
– +1 Pump Plus: observed 39 MPG EPA combined fuel economy is unrivaled among luxury cute utes.
– SAFETY = √ 8 Airbags; √ IIHS Top Safety Pick; √ STANDARD Lexus Safety System Plus = Pedestrian detection braking; Forward collision avoidance braking; Lane Departure Warning, Keep Assist; Full adaptive cruise control, Automatic High beam LED headlamps; √ Full LED wrap-around head and tail-lamps.
– INCLUDED = √ Keyless entry & ignition, cruise control, power windows, full express x 4; Row 2 privacy tint glass; √ 7.0″ mid dashtop twin pane touch LCD infotainment display; √ Automatic 2-zone climate control; √ Perforated leather seats, auto climate heating front sport buckets, heated power tilt/ telescope steering, heated side mirrors; √ Bluetooth handsfree communications; √ 6 speaker HD radio streaming audio; √ Sirius XM, TravelLink (90 days trial), √ Apple CarPlay, BlueLink apps; √ USB x 4, 12V x 2.
– MAJOR OPTIONS = F-Sport package
Lexus UX 250h Hybrid F-Sport PROS:
- Only way to get all-wheel drive in a Lexus UX
- Only gas – battery electric hybrid among luxury cute utes
- Looks the urban personal active lifestyle role
- Slightly sprightlier off line than the non-hybrid
- More luxury than most of the entry luxury competition
- Superb F-Sport front seats
- F-Sport steering wheel shift paddles
- Contemplatively quiet
- Good fuel economy
- LC flagship interior elements
- Apple CarPlay & Lexus Enform free apps
Lexus UX 250h Hybrid F-Sport CONS:
- All-wheel drive limited to 43 mph and not lockable
- Pure electric mode limited to parking lot crawls
- CVT lacks non-hybrid’s 1st planetary gear
- More body roll than preferred
- Numbed steering road feel
- Could stand more power
- Lower dash corner too close to knees
- Touch interface infotainment control
- 7.0″ base media display seems small in 10.3″ housing
- Limited rear seat space
- Cargo stingy under-hatch
- Android Auto delayed until 2020 MY
- Approaches larger NX 300’s price
2019 Lexus UX 250h Hybrid = When it absolutely positively has to be an hybrid luxury personal urban ute. Spindle grille included.
ANY COMPETITION: Audi Q1: +1 sedan, steering, limited slip differential; BMW X1: +1 venerable hot hatchback bogey; Mercedes Benz GLA 250: +1
(Contributing Editor: J. Flynn)