LEXUS is set to make an impact in the crowded SUV sector with its new UX hybrid model which unlike many rivals is able to run on electricity alone for short distances.
The range starts with the UX250h, priced from €34,925 (£29,905) and powered by a 2.0-litre petrol engine and electric motor together providing 182 hp and harnessed to CVT auto transmission. All models are front-wheel-drive though all-wheel-drive is an option.
The styling has a forceful look, the front dominated by a giant grille and narrow headlights, and inside, the cabin has a quality appearance thanks to neat styling and use of soft-touch materials.
The UX is not the most roomy in the sector – which includes the BMW X1, Volvo XC40 and Kia Niro – but it accommodates five adults well enough, though occupants have slightly less space than some rivals, and the boot holds 320 litres, one of the smaller capacities in the class.
However, the overall package on offer will be fine for the vast majority of buyers who will paying due attention to the kudos of the Lexus badge and the brand’s outstanding reliability record.
Standard features on the entry-level test model include dual-zone climate control, push-button start, integrated roof rails and infotainment screen with touch-pad control, and a rear-view camera. Safety kit includes pre-collision system with pedestrian detection, adaptive cruise control, lane-keep assist, road sign assist and auto adaptive high-beam.
On the road, the UX is smooth and quiet and while it is not a plug-in hybrid, it can travel in city traffic on stored electric power alone. In open-road driving the power switches from petrol to electric automatically to blend optimum performance and economy.
The car has good steering feedback, the CVT transmission is slick and while the suspension is on the firm side and jiggly on rough surfaces, it delivers a very comfortable ride on smooth roads.
Top speed is 177 kph (110 mph), the 0-100 kph time a quick 8.5 seconds and average fuel economy is 18.1 kpl (51.2 mpg), with emissions just 97 g/km.
Summing up, the UX will attract a lot of attention thanks to its strong brand status, cool image and hybrid capability and Lexus is predicting it could become one of its biggest-selling models.
Facts at a glance
- Model: Lexus UX 250h
- Engine: 2.0 litre petrol/electric motor
- Transmission: CVT automatic
- Performance: 0-100 kph 8.5 seconds, top speed 177 kph (110 mph)
- Economy: 18.1 kpl (51.2 mpg)
- Emissions: 97 g/km
Model tested was UK-specification and equipment levels and prices may vary in other markets.