The 2019 Lexus UX is the smallest and cheapest Lexus you can buy, and the UX 250h hybrid model just barely misses out being the most fuel efficient.
As an entry into the Lexus brand, this subcompact crossover is generally an impressive effort, embodying the design, quality, features and driving experience we’ve come to expect – albeit with understandable cutbacks made to achieve its lower price.
However, the UX faces stiff competition. It has one of the smallest cabins in a segment not known for its spaciousness, and its Remote Touch tech interface constantly frustrates. And while fuel economy is exceptional for the segment, its acceleration is underwhelming regardless of whether you get the UX 250h or gas-only UX 200. Worse still, you can only get the latter with front-wheel drive. In other words, this is a car with distinct highs and lows.
What’s new for 2019?
The Lexus UX is an all-new model for 2019. It is mechanically based on the same platform that underpins most new Toyota models such as the Toyota C-HR and Toyota Corolla, as well as the Lexus ES sedan. It slots into the bottom of the Lexus SUV lineup below the NX.
What’s the interior and in-car technology like?
From the comfortable and supportive driver seat, the UX looks and feels like a proper Lexus. The design is consistent with, but, refreshingly, not a copy of other models. There are common details like the drive mode setting selectors that sprout from the instrument panel and the F-Sport’s sliding gauge cluster within, while the available 10.25 infotainment display is perched atop a low, flat dash.
How big is it?
The Lexus UX is among the smallest of the smallest SUV segment. Although its overall length is actually greater than rivals like the BMW X2 and Volvo XC40, its wheelbase and interior dimensions trail them greatly. It is considerably shorter in height than the XC40 and Cadillac XT4. Basically, the UX is a compact hatchback with a slight ground clearance increase – well, in theory, as Lexus hasn’t published an official number.
What features are available and what’s the price?
The base 2019 Lexus UX 200 starts at $34,025, including the $1,025 destination charge. The UX 250h hybrid starts at $35,025.
Their standard equipment is basically equal, including 18-inch alloy wheels, automatic LED headlights, proximity entry and push-button start, adaptive cruise control, a variety of accident avoidance tech (see safety section below), dual-zone automatic climate control, power front seats, a 60/40-split folding back seat, “NuLuxe” simulated leather upholstery, a leather-wrapped steering wheel, the Remote Touch tech interface (7-inch display, touchpad controller), four USB ports, Apple CarPlay, Amazon Alexa integration, in-car WiFi, satellite radio and a six-speaker sound system.
The Premium package adds a sunroof, heated and ventilated front seats and automatic wipers.
There are two optional packages/trim levels: Luxury and F Sport.
Other options include upgraded headlights, wireless smartphone charging, a head-up display, and parking sensors.
What’s its safety equipment and crash ratings?
Beyond the usual airbag and stability aides, every UX comes standard with forward collision warning, automatic emergency braking, lane-keeping assist and Lexus Safety Connect emergency services. Blind-spot warning is optional.
The UX had not been crash tested by a third party at the time of this writing.