Top 2019 Lexus UX 250h Review
We like the UX 250h with the Premium package since it offers some nice creature comforts (heated and ventilated seats) and tasteful interior materials, such as the Japanese fabric-paper panel motifs. We’d also spring for the eight-speaker audio system. Don’t be tempted by the F Sport. It has some nice features such as sport seats and cabin noise cancellation, but the sport-tuned suspension and rough ride quality negate the whole reason to buy a Lexus in the first place.
Survey the automotive landscape and you’ll see several examples of just how big luxury SUVs can get. Whether it’s a Cadillac Escalade or a Lincoln Navigator, there’s no shortage of behemoth people-movers on the road. But there are also a few ways to go small and save on gas. A great example is the new 2019 Lexus UX 250h.
With an EPA-estimated 39 mpg in combined city/highway driving, the hybrid UX 250h tops the subcompact crossover SUV class. While its 181 horsepower rating falls short of most competitors, the UX 250h’s hybrid system helps boost acceleration from a stop. In daily driving, we think most shoppers will be satisfied. The 250h is even a little quicker than its non-hybrid sibling, the UX 200.
Inside, the UX impresses with a classic Lexus formula of understated style and lots of standard features. But this is also where you’ll find most of the UX’s drawbacks. The infotainment system isn’t particularly easy to use, and the cargo area is small. There’s also evidence of cost-cutting, and some of the interior surfaces and materials feel more Toyota Corolla than Lexus SUV.
Although the crop of luxury subcompact SUVs is growing, the UX 250h pretty much has the hybrid field to itself. The Mini Countryman S E comes close, but it’s a plug-in hybrid and its overall fuel efficiency isn’t particularly impressive. For anyone seeking sharp style and excellent fuel economy in a pint-size package, the UX 250h merits consideration.
2019 Lexus UX 250h configurations
The 2019 Lexus UX 250h is a five-passenger SUV that comes in base and F Sport trim levels. It uses a 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine, two motor-generators and a nickel-metal hydride battery pack. This setup provides a total of 181 horsepower and drives the front wheels through a continuously variable automatic transmission. A third electric motor is used to power the rear wheels when extra traction is needed, effectively giving the 250h all-wheel drive.
Standard features include 18-inch wheels, LED headlights, heated side mirrors, proximity entry and push-button start, selectable drive modes, dual-zone automatic climate control, simulated-leather upholstery, power-adjustable front seats, and a 60/40-split folding rear seat.
Technology highlights include a rearview camera, Bluetooth, an infotainment system with 7-inch touchscreen display, smartphone app-based navigation, onboard Wi-Fi, four USB ports, Apple CarPlay smartphone integration, six-speaker audio system, and satellite radio.
In addition to standard safety features, the UX 200 also includes the Lexus Safety System 2.0, which is comprised of driver assistance features such as forward collision warning, automatic emergency braking, adaptive cruise control, lane keeping assist, road sign recognition, and Lexus Enform Safety Connect emergency services.
Optional for the base UX is the Premium package. It adds heated and ventilated front seats, a sunroof, automatic wipers and “washi” interior trim inspired by Japanese fabric paper.
Opt for the Luxury trim and you get all of the Premium package’s features along with sound-damping front side windows, auto-dimming side mirrors, a hands-free power liftgate, driver-seat memory functions, blind-spot monitoring, a navigation system, a 10.3-inch central display, and an eight-speaker sound system.
The F Sport trim is more of a performance package than a trim level (although Lexus classifies it as the latter) and includes unique 18-inch wheels, a sport-tuned suspension, LED foglights, an augmented engine sound generator, steering wheel paddle shifters, sport front seats, and an upgraded digital gauge cluster.
Several stand-alone options allow you to further season the UX to taste. They include upgraded triple-beam LED headlights, a sunroof, a windshield wiper de-icer, an auto-dimming rearview mirror, and a heated steering wheel. Tech upgrades include parking sensors with low-speed auto braking, a head-up display and a wireless phone charger.
The UX 250h has 181 horsepower, just 12 hp more than the non-hybrid UX, but its electric motors help give it a more instant surge of power when you need it. The UX 250h is also stable and fun to pilot around turns. Ironically, the sportiest UX happens to be the hybrid.
Like most subcompact SUVs, the UX 250h is tight inside. Four adults will fit fine. It’s not as quiet and buttoned-down as a larger Lexus SUV, but it retains the brand’s characteristic ride comfort and calm. The exception is when the UX is fitted with the F Sport package, which we think rides too stiffly.
The UX 200 follows the classic Lexus formula of style, taste and understatement. An expansive dash panel accommodates large infotainment displays, and all of the controls are easy to reach and use. A closer examination reveals some materials that are more Toyota than Lexus, which is the unfortunate result of cost-cutting for an entry-level luxury car.
With 17.1 cubic feet of cargo space, the UX offers enough room for a small luggage haul or gear for outdoor lifestyles. The UX doesn’t possess much off-highway capability, but a tight 34-foot turning circle makes it well-suited for city life.
Lexus continues pushing its quirky trackpad-like Remote Touch Interface. The UX’s version is better than previous iterations. Some drivers will like it, but we think it’s more distracting than a simple dial control. The UX 250h comes with Apple CarPlay but not Android smartphone integration.
- The 2019 Lexus UX 250h is an all-new model
- Fuel-efficient hybrid powertrain
- Improved performance over standard non-hybrid model
- Lots of standard and optional safety tech
- Maneuverable around town thanks to small dimensions
- Infotainment interface can be difficult to use
- Limited rear-seat legroom
- Small rear cargo space with high liftover height