The 2024 Lexus UX 250h, a compact luxury crossover, directly rivals the BMW X1 and Volvo XC40, uniquely distinguishing itself by relying solely on a hybrid powertrain. Although its performance is modest, and rear seating is snug, it makes up for it with an intuitive infotainment system, strong safety ratings, and impressive fuel efficiency.
The compact Lexus UX250h Premium, adorned in the elegant Iridium color, exudes a unique and unconventional aura. Its exterior design is a fusion of avant-garde elements, combining the organic form of an insect with the sleek lines typically found in a hatchback.
Characterized by the spindle grille, the car’s bold aesthetics are further accentuated by air intakes resembling upward-tilted tusks. Complementing these are the striking LED accents and a roofline that brings to mind a stinger, ultimately enhancing the vehicle’s overall appeal.
In its Premium configuration, the UX comes equipped with an array of luxurious enhancements, including 18-inch alloy wheels, bi-LED headlamps, LED taillamps, and body-colored wheel arches. While undeniably opulent, some may find these embellishments a bit overwhelming.
Upon entering the cabin, a more serene and traditional ambiance greets the occupants. The dashboard subtly angles towards the driver and houses a touchscreen display that is positioned at a comfortable distance, along with intuitively located drive mode controls.
Within the center console, one can find vital seat temperature adjustments and a mechanical gear shifter, preserving a subtle sophistication that harmonizes with the car’s daring exterior design. This particular model boasts the cutting-edge Lexus Interface, comprising a 12.3-inch touchscreen display and an advanced Drive Connect system.
Access is granted to Cloud Navigation, Intelligent Assistant, and Destination Assist features. Additionally, an Intuitive Parking Assist, a hallmark of Lexus vehicles, is available for added safety at an extra cost of about $565. It employs sensors in the front and rear bumpers to ensure comprehensive obstacle detection, averting potential collisions with visual and auditory warnings.
The 2024 Lexus UX 250h presents itself as an interesting hybrid choice, effectively straddling the crossover and hatchback genres to enhance the overall seating experience. While it shares its base with the Toyota Corolla Cross and Prius, it manages to embody a more dynamic essence, all the while upholding its reputation for good fuel efficiency.
Regarding its performance, the car maintains a solid and commendable standard, although it doesn’t stand out as exceptionally exceptional. Its impressive nimbleness offsets its somewhat moderate acceleration. Even though it starts with a front-wheel-drive setup, like our test car, customers can choose to upgrade it to an all-wheel-drive system across all variants for an extra $1,400.
This hybrid series employs a duo of motor generators and a planetary gearset, effectively simulating a transmission, enabling seamless shifts between electric power, gasoline power, or a harmonious fusion of both sources.
Underneath the hood, a 2.0-liter inline-4 engine adhering to the Atkinson cycle produces a modest 181 horsepower, delivering a performance reminiscent of that of the Toyota Prius. Although it may not set any speed records, its power remains consistent once in motion.
The combination of a CVT and planetary gearset can imitate an automatic transmission through paddle shifting, although this experience falls short of perfection, often accompanied by a noticeable drone during downshifts and lacking a satisfying upshift. Despite these limitations, power delivery generally maintains a seamless and polished demeanor.
By lightly tapping the throttle, the UX 250h allows for short periods of electric-only driving, and while its handling tends to be softer, activating the Sport modes, alongside 18-inch wheels and adaptive dampers, adds a desirable element of firmness and strengthened steering feedback, setting it apart from other compact crossovers with a sportier persona, yet unable to match its outstanding efficiency.
During our week-long test drive of the 2024 Lexus UX250h Premium, which was priced with an initial MSRP of $37,800, and after adding up all the mentioned additional features in the review, the total cost of the test car eventually sums up to $41,645.
Among the range of unique hybrid vehicle options, the 2024 Lexus UX 250h stands out, diverging from direct competition in the entry-level crossover category, which is mainly dominated by non-hybrid models. This deviates from the prevalent trend seen in its German counterparts, which typically lean towards mild-hybrid models.
While Audi debuts its electric Q4, opting for the more budget-friendly Q3 turbo-4 variant could serve as a practical alternative.
Despite its reasonable pricing, the BMW X1 somewhat lacks the expected dynamic flair that is often associated with the brand. Conversely, the Mercedes GLA radiates excellence, particularly when configured in its AMG version.
In this ever-evolving landscape, the Mazda CX-30 distinguishes itself with its well-equipped features, undercutting luxury competitors while providing an engaging performance, despite some reservations about its restrained infotainment system.
Venturing into the world of electrification, Volvo makes a bold move by introducing a mild-hybrid version of the XC40. However, it falls short of the efficiency standards set by the UX 250h and even its own fully electric Recharge model.