Motoring: The Lexus UX has a lot going for it




Lexus has always been an understated marque.

The UX continues that tradition in the subcompact crossover segment of the market, providing a classy alternative to the German premium brands.

It features the signature goatee beard grille, mean front end and a chiselled rear that expresses some personality.

The model is based on the same platform as Toyota’s Prius and C-HR. There is an all-electric version, but it’s the hybrid UX 250h I drove. It houses a 2.0-litre four-cylinder petrol unit with a small electric motor offering 184PS.

The Lexus comes with a CVT gearbox, meaning there’s only one variable gear, and it’s available with front and all-wheel drive. The UX is a full hybrid, too (self-charging), which helps improve fuel economy, especially as you can drive a short distance without the engine.

Several trims are offered, with the entry-level UX featuring 17-inch alloys, dual-zone climate control and electric windows, plus an eight-inch infotainment touchscreen with Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, and navigation.

The F-Sport Design adds 18-inch alloys, while the F-Sport gets a 12.3-inch touchscreen, eight-way electrically adjustable front seats and adaptive suspension.

The top-of-the-range Takumi boasts a glass sliding sunroof, a head-up display and a 13-speaker Mark Levinson premium surround sound system.

An optional Premium Plus pack adds a heated steering wheel, rain-sensing wipers, keyless entry, and a wireless phone charger.

It is the Takumi trim reviewed here.

There is an all-wheel drive version, but the model tested is front-wheel drive, getting from 0-62mph in 8.5 seconds. That figure is nothing flash, but it does the job adequately and is enough to match its adversaries for pace.

Many cars with CVT gearboxes sound shrill at higher revs. Lexus’ isn’t perfect, but it’s more refined than most I’ve used.

Ride comfort is reasonably good, but it doesn’t absorb bumps and jolts as well as some rivals, such as the Range Rover Evoque. That said, the UX’s lower centre of gravity means it seems more planted. As a result, body lean in the bends is well-controlled, although there isn’t a tremendous amount of grip, so you find it’s prone to understeer on corner entry.

Regenerative braking, which helps recharge the batteries, is also reasonably good, while the UX is noticeably less adept at reducing wind and tyre noise compared with some competitors.

Inside, the driving position is pretty low, despite the UX’s SUV-leaning credentials as a crossover. However, the vehicle is pleasant to sit in, and there are plenty of plush surfaces.

Space-wise, the UX is better suited to front-seat occupants. The back isn’t woeful, but there’s a lack of headroom and legroom if you’re on the tall side. In the boot, you get 438 litres of space, increasing to 1,231 litres with the rear seats folded down in a 60/40 split.

The UX earned a top five-star safety rating from Euro NCAP. Kit consists of the Lexus Safety System+ featuring automatic emergency braking, dynamic radar cruise control, lane tracing, and road sign assist.

You also benefit from a blind spot monitor with rear cross-traffic alert and auto brake on all but the entry-level model, where it’s available as an optional extra.

Overall, the UX has a lot going for it, and the cherry on the cake is that Lexus’s reliability is excellent.

Fast Facts – Lexus UX (Takumi trim) as tested:

Max speed: 110 mph

0-62 mph: 8.5 secs

Fuel economy: 53.3 mpg (WLTP)

Engine layout: 2.0-litre four-cylinder with electric motor and front-wheel drive

Max. power (PS): 184

CO2: 120 g/km

Price: £46,750

Main photo credit: Lexus UX

Tim Barnes-Clay

Tim Barnes-Clay is Sorted Magazine’s Motoring Editor. He test-drives the latest cars and attends new vehicle press launches around the world. The dad-of-three has a postgraduate diploma in broadcast journalism and has been a presenter and producer at ITV Central. He has also worked as a radio reporter and undertakes video and voiceover work. You can follow and interact with Tim on Instagram @tbarnesclay

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