Utility vehicles clearly rule the road these days, and they come in just about every size, from very big to very small. And at the most pavement stingy end is where we’ll find the smallest Lexus yet, the new subcompact UX.
Like most modern utilities, the important numbers here are not horsepower, ground clearance, or tire size; but rather the number of luxury features, how many USB ports there are, and of course MPGs.
That fuel economy item also relates to its standard 2.0-liter I4. No turbocharger, though, so naturally aspirating it cranks a modest 169–horsepower, working with a CVT transmission to keep that oil burning in check.
The UX is based on the Toyota C-HR, but where it is front-wheel drive only, here in the UX, all-wheel drive is available. That is if you opt for the hybrid model, where an electric motor drives the rear differential.
Combine that with a pair of additional motor-generators added up front and not only do you get all-wheel drive, but much better fuel economy as well as additional power. The hybrid has a combined output of 181-horsepower.
Despite the small scale, the UX is easily recognizable as a Lexus, with the signature spindle grille. However, the standard LED headlights and full width tail light should easily help it appeal to a new audience of young urbanites.
An F Sport option adds just a hint of Euro-style with 18-inch wheels, unique front and rear bumpers, F Sport grille insert, and LED fog lamps. F Sport trim also adds unique seats and steering wheel; as well as aluminum accents, 8-inch multi-information display, and Active Sound Control. But, the F-Sport is more than just looks and trim, as there is unique, firmer, yet still refined suspension tuning as well.
We found the F Sport’s front interior a bit stark. But, consider its sporty theme and it works fine. Top-level Luxury trim looks more Lexus. On the other hand, all UX materials are of high quality.
In every UX there’s plenty of useful stuff like a standard 7-inch or optional 10-inch multimedia display with navigation; as well as full integration with just about any electronic assistant, be it from Apple, Google, or Alexa.
We didn’t expect abundant rear legroom and we’re right. The goes for cargo room. In the Hybrid with all 5 seat belts in use there’s just 17.1 cubic-ft. of space. With no batteries to store, the non-hybrid 200h has a bit more, at 21.7 cubic-ft.
For our complete road test of the 2019 Lexus UX, be sure to catch MotorWeek episode #3829 that begins airing March 22, 2019. For a listing of the public television stations that broadcast MotorWeek, go to motorweek.org and click the “About The Show” tab at the top. MotorWeek is also seen Tuesday evenings and throughout the week on the MotorTrend cable network.
So, while this tiny Urban Crossover is not intended to leave the asphalt, the 2019 Lexus UX more than delivers in all the ways that are important to its city dwelling buyers. It’s classy, smart, agile, and economical. Just what we’ve come to expect in a modern Lexus, regardless of its size.