The Lexus UX is a striking small SUV with a classy, well-equipped interior, but those looks won’t be to everyone’s taste and the infotainment system is about the fiddliest there is
The Lexus UX is an eye-catching alternative to posh small SUVs such as the BMW X1, Jaguar E-Pace, Audi Q1 and the current trendsetter: the Volvo XC40.
Those alternatives look set to have lower starting prices when the Lexus UX goes on sale in January 2019. So if you are interested in the Lexus UX, make sure to log in to carwow then to ensure you get a great Lexus UX deal. But with striking looks and well-built interior, the hybrid Lexus UX is definitely one to consider if you’re a fan of the design and appreciate a high-quality, well-made interior.
While the Lexus NX and RX SUVs look pretty similar, the Lexus UX dimensions make it noticeably shorter and narrower than the other two. It’s not the highest riding of SUVs either. But an arresting front grille, sharp creases all across its exterior and a rear light that stretches right across width of the boot lid mean it’ll grab attention despite its small size.
The striking design continues into the Lexus UX interior. You couldn’t describe the dashboard as minimalist – there are loads of buttons across the dash and steering wheel – but everything feels lovely and well made. The controls and the 7.0- or 10.25-inch infotainment screen (depending on specification) are all angled towards the driver so fall easy to hand.
Over the years Lexus’ infotainment systems haven’t been the easiest to use and the Lexus UX system unfortunately doesn’t buck the trend.
True, it doesn’t have the tricky mouse controller you’ll find in the RX – preferring the touchpad system like in the NX. There has been an update, however, with some of the controls moved to a controller next to the centre console bin, behind the trackpad. Still, the systems in alternatives are not as fiddly and have more crisp and more modern graphics.
For a supposedly high-riding SUV, you actually sit relatively low in the Lexus UX, but Lexus seats are very comfortable and there’s a decent range of adjustment in the driver’s seat and steering wheel to make long journeys pleasant.
Things aren’t so great in the back however. You’ll find three seat belts in the rear but in reality the Lexus UX is more four-seater than five. The middle seat is narrow and there’s a hump in the floor, restricting space for your legs.
The arm rest folds down to reveal a couple of cupholders and the bin in the centre console is a decent size. Figures for boot capacity have yet to be released, but you’ll struggle to get much more than a couple of cabin suitcases in the UX boot – enough for a weekend away, for sure, but you may need to pack light for longer trips.
The Lexus UX is way cooler than anything German. The front of the car is more grille than anything else and there are sharp creases everywhere. It certainly stands out.
The Lexus UX is only available as a hybrid in the UK so engine and transmission choice is simple – you get a 2.0-litre petrol engine and an electric motor for a combined power output of 176bhp. It comes with a CVT automatic gearbox.
‘UX’ stands for Urban Crossover, highlighting that this is an SUV built for the city – it has not been designed to tow a boat or ford a river like you might do in a traditional 4×4. However you can opt for a four-wheel-drive Lexus UX. That’ll provide extra grip over wet leaves and around corners but don’t expect to cross the Outback in the UX.
Around town, it’s easy to drive and maneuverable. You get a good view out and the optional Parking Support Alert makes parking a doddle. On faster roads the car is relatively quiet with the engine only getting noisy when you accelerate hard.
Fuel consumption figures have yet to be confirmed but expect real world economy of around 50mpg for the two-wheel drive Lexus UX, dropping to around 40mpg for the four-wheel drive cars.
Euro NCAP hasn’t crash tested the Lexus UX yet, but expect a good score when it does. The Lexus UX has a range of active and passive safety kit to keep you safe.