You could consider the 2019 Lexus UX 250h to be the spiritual successor of the lost, but not forgotten, Lexus CT 200h. Currently, this UX represents the entry-level hybrid in the Lexus lineup, and we want to find out if it is any good.
This is the first model year for the Lexus UX, and Lexus gave their entry-level crossover some bold styling cues. The front end looks much like its larger NX and RX siblings. You have the familiar grille, with a unique block-shape mesh pattern (Lexus’ words). The headlights feature LED bulbs and LED daytime running lights in Lexus’ standard check shape. The wheel surrounds feature plastic cladding that gives the feel of something meant to go off-road. Though you probably won’t see too many of these on the trails.
Styling is always subjective but I felt the 2019 Lexus UX 250h looked pretty sharp. There is a good mix of strong lines and rugged materials that give the so-called “urban explorer” a utilitarian, modern feeling design. Let us know what you think of its looks in the comments below.
Comfort and Convenience
Unfortunately for the UH Hybrid, the rear-mounted electric motor did end up cutting into the trunk space. Compared to the regular gas model, the Hybrid model loses 4 cu-ft of storage space. Take one look in the cargo area and you can see how shallow the load floor is. The hatch isn’t completely useless, but you can see very visibly how much space is lost due to the hybrid setup.
This UX hybrid came with a fair amount of technology features. Inside, you have a 10.3 inch infotainment display. You interact with this screen through Lexus’ range-sweeping touchpad. Frankly, I am not a huge fan of this system. But, you get used to it quickly enough. The UX does finally have Apple CarPlay connectivity. Though, Android users will be disappointed to hear that Android Auto is still not available.
Standard driver enhancement tech includes Lexus Safety System 2.0+. This includes adaptive cruise control, automatic high beams, road sign assist, lane keep assist and a pre-collision system with pedestrian detection.
The 2019 Lexus UX 250h features a 2.0-liter naturally aspirated four-cylinder powering the front wheels, paired to an electric motor that powers the rear wheels. So, unlike the front-wheel drive only UX 200, this model is actually all-wheel drive.
Total system power comes out to 181 horsepower. That’s not a ton, but it never felt underpowered. Lexus says the UX 250h can get to 60 MPH in a respectable 8.6 seconds. But you don’t usually buy a hybrid for the performance, do you? Instead, you buy it for the fuel economy. According to the EPA, you can expect 41 City / 38 Highway / 39 Combined mpg. These numbers are good, but not outstanding. The 2019 Volkswagen Jetta, using a 1.4-liter turbocharged engine, makes nearly as much horsepower and gets 40 MPG on the highway. It seems like a hybrid should do better than that.
Ride & Handling
Even though the 2019 Lexus UX 250h is an entry level luxury crossover, you still expect a certain level of refinement from the ride. Fortunately, Lexus hit the mark on that point. The 2019 Lexus UX 250h rides exactly as you would expect. The cabin is quiet and the springs are dampened well to soak up bumps but not roll too much. This is no sporty hatchback, but it does feel relatively playful, despite the extra weight from the hybrid system.
The luxury feel extends well past just the ride. Interior appointments are astonishingly nice. The seats may be some of the most comfortable seats I have tested this year.
This is where things get really tricky. Base price for the 2019 Lexus UX 250h starts at $34,000 for the base model. That price holds up well against its competition, like the Volvo XC40, BMW X1 and Mercedes-Benz GLA. However, add on a couple packages and our as-tested price came out to a whopping $42,050. If you do add on extras, the price starts to outpace others in its class.
Optional equipment included $500 for blind spot monitoring, $1,660 for Lexus’ triple-beam LED headlamps, and $2,200 for the 10.3-inch infotainment system with navigation for a start. But it doesn’t stop there: Parking Assist adds on $565, the power liftgate costs $600, and the Premium Package with a moonroof and rain-sensing wipers added another $1,175.
The 2019 Lexus UX 250h is a strange package. It is a hybrid, but perhaps not as efficient as you might expect. Size-wise, it is more like a hatchback, but not particularly utilitarian. It offers a luxurious atmosphere, but the price feels high for what you get.