Lexus has found strong buyer acceptance for its hybrid SUV line-up, helped by the recently launched Lexus UX 250h, the smallest of five Lexus hybrid crossover/SUVs Those hybrids set a sales record last year, wisely leading to only minor changes for the 2020 UX 250h. We test-drove top trim LUXURY above F Sport and base.
2020 Lexus UX 250h Luxury Review
Lexus UX 250h competes in the highly competitive small hybrid SUV market against established hybrid vehicles like Toyota RAV4, Honda CRV, and Ford Escape.
Outside, UX 250h offers a nicely sculpted and sleek exterior, roof rails, an iconic massive Lexus spindle grill below spear-shaped LED headlights, and low ride height (6.9-inches ground clearance – an urban runabout, not off-roader).
Our ride was comfortable with all-wheel drive on a sport-tuned suspension using 18-inch alloy wheels wearing all-season run-flat tires.
We had 10 options totaling $3,615, including $565 for parking sensors assist, which allowed us to slip un-scraped into tight parking spaces.
Handling was agile and the UX hugged pavement like a sports car in Normal, Sport, or Eco drive modes, often substituting automatic transmission with manual steering wheel paddles. However, it’s not quick off the line but stronger underway in Sport drive mode.
Low horsepower (181) yielded superior gas mileage using the 2.0-liter gas engine teaming up with electric motors and the rechargeable nickel-hydride battery pack, which crimps cargo and rear space somewhat.
The UX received top scores in government and insurance crash safety tests, especially when equipped with our $1,600 optional LED headlamps, fog, and swiveling cornering lights.
In addition to good looks and road manners, buyers will find a cabin with typical Lexus upscale ambiance, showcasing simulated leather upholstery, sunroof, CD player, six-speaker audio, 7-inch color multi-information dashboard display, and a plethora of cutting-edge driver safety aids in Lexus Safety System+ 2.0.
Heated and ventilated front bucket seats were comfortable, although six-footers or taller may encounter a truncated rear legroom challenge.
Our console touchpad remained somewhat twitchy and remains a distraction to use underway when accessing infotainment/function menus. A console extension plate with audio controls keeps eyes on the road. Compatibility with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto became standard along with Amazon Alexa, revised subscription-based Enform Connected services trial periods and rear cross-traffic alert became an option.
The Lexus brand has the best overall resale value.
At a Glance
LIKES: Mileage, price, profile, audio, agile handling, value
DISLIKES: Some road noise, not quick from stop, twitchy touch-plate
BOTTOM LINE: Sporty looks, upscale cachet, competitive mileage, top resale brand
Fact File: 2020 LEXUS UX 250h LUXURY
2.0-liter turbo inline4, direct injection
235 hp @ 4,500 rpm
258 ft.-lbs. @1,600 rpm
8-speed automatic w/overdrive
18 city, 23 hwy
18.6 gallons, premium
0-60 in just over 7 seconds
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Tom Crosby has written more than 1,000 automotive reviews and is a retired Vice President of Communications for AAA Carolinas. He has seen dramatic changes in the automotive industry over the past 25 years and ponders the advent of self-driving vehicles, electric-only vehicles, sophisticated in-car telematics, and the financial challenges facing automotive manufacturers in an increasingly congested worldwide market.