Hybrid electric vehicles play an important role in delivering fuel-efficient and emissions-lowering transportation. Toyota is a leader in this field as it supplies more than a dozen such models across its Toyota and Lexus brands.
But hybrids aren’t enjoying the consumer attraction needed to keep these vehicles a part of most manufacturer’s product lines. Fortunately, Toyota Motors hasn’t let up on the segment with the Lexus UX Hybrid its latest model.
2019 Lexus UX Hybrid Overview
Based on a gas-powered model with the same name, the UX Hybrid is available in 250h ($35,175), 250h F Sport ($37,175), and 250h Luxury ($40,375) trims. These prices include the $1,025 destination fee. The UX Hybrid reflects a $2,000 price increase over the gas model.
Lexus takes a 2.0-liter four-cylinder gas engine and marries that to a continuously variable transmission. A pair of electric motors are also utilized, with one tasked with sending power to the rear wheels. Thus, the Lexus UX Hybrid is an all-wheel-drive model, while the standard UX is exclusively front-wheel drive.
The UX line shares its platform with the Toyota C-HR, but these models are nothing alike. Other models in this segment to consider include the BMW X2, Cadillac XT4, Audi Q3, Volvo XC40, Mercedes-Benz GLA, and the Buick Encore. Notably, each of these models offer available all-wheel drive.
The 2019 UX doesn’t offer many design surprises, at least not from a Lexus perspective. The dominating spindle grille is something we’re used to, although we acknowledge some consumers do not like the look. Side sculpting and character lines add visual interest; the squared wheel wells are a nice departure from the usual round design.
From the rear, quite a lot is going on, including geometric shapes. The wraparound tail lamps are connected by a thick, narrow light strip that looks especially cool and sporty at night.
Standard exterior features include Bi-LED headlamps, daytime running lights, LED tail lamps, 18-inch wheels, and heated side mirrors. Upgrades include F Sport trim, a sport-tuned suspension, and triple-beam auto-leveling LED headlamps with fog lamps and headlamp washers.
Inside, the UX offers room for five, although it is most useful for two adults and two children. The front seat provides generous space, the rear seat not so much. Tight legroom makes it a difficult place to sit, especially if the front seat positioned before you is pushed way back. Your tweens should be okay, but perhaps not your teens.
The UX’s dashboard is layered, curved, and uncluttered. A rectangular display panel sits on top of the dashboard above the center console. Soft-touch materials, imitation leather, and chrome-like trim grace the interior. All switches and knobs are where you expect them. The Lexus “scratch pad” controller sits between the seats ahead of the armrest/storage compartment.
Standard interior features include heated and ventilated front seats, dual-zone climate control, and an imitation leather interior. Individual options include a power tilt-and-slide moonroof, windshield de-icer, and a heated steering wheel.
Technology & Safety
Lexus equips the UX with a six-speaker audio system, Bluetooth, four USB ports, Siri Eyes Free, and Apple CarPlay smartphone compatibility. A seven-inch color display, Amazon Alexa compatibility, and a one-year Wi-Fi subscription are also included. Upgrades include a wireless charger and a navigation system.
On the safety front, the UX excels with its standard Lexus Safety System+ 2.0 system. Here, Lexus bundles automatic high beams, a pre-collision system with pedestrian detection, lane tracing assist, lane departure alert with steering assist, road sign assist, and all-speed adaptive cruise control. The system is standard equipment. Typically, you’ll find these features available as an extra-cost package on limited trims from competing luxury brands. Options include a blind-spot monitor ($500), color head-up display ($500), and parking assist with automatic braking and rear cross-traffic braking ($565).
On the Road
You sit low behind the wheel of the UX Hybrid. Well, not as low as some cars, but lower than almost any other utility vehicle. It seems difficult to believe that this vehicle is not a car when operating it.
One of the other surprises is how well this model performs. Step-off acceleration is quite reasonable, quickly bringing this model up to speed. Press hard on the gas pedal and its full 181 horsepower is brought to bear. The steering is weighted, handling is surprisingly engaging, and the ride is comfortable. Lexus also supplies a “drive mode select” switch with three settings: normal, eco, and sport.
The hybrid’s all-wheel-drive system works at speeds up to 44 mph, sending power to the rear wheels. Power comes from an electric motor sitting on the rear axle, but it is not connected to the front. It supplies an extra measure of handling precision on slick roads and would likely prove most handy when driving in a snowstorm.
But the UX Hybrid is also an efficient model, delivering an EPA-estimated 39 mpg combined. This number is doable if you ease up on the gas pedal, avoid heavy braking, and otherwise show kindness to the UX. With this in mind, it becomes a challenging game to achieve optimum fuel economy. After a week of driving, the EPA estimates were successfully achieved.
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If you’re considering the UX line, we can easily recommend the hybrid over the standard model and for two reasons:
1), the part-time all-wheel-drive system comes in handy under certain circumstances. For a $2,000 upgrade, the price may seem steep, except for
2), the UX Hybrid is very efficient. Indeed, the hybrid supplies upwards of a 9 mpg edge over the standard model. That fact alone means you’ll eventually recover the cost of your investment over the long haul.
In all, Lexus’ conservative approach to the market ensures that the UX and other models are well-engineered, luxurious, and reliable. Its sharp styling completes its key attributes.
2019 Lexus UX Hybrid Specifications
|Lexus||2019 UX Hybrid|
|Base Sticker Price||$35,175 (including a $1,025 destination charge)|
|Price as tested (estimated)||$42,415|
|Horsepower||181 total system @ 6,000 RPMs|
|Transmission||Two motor-generator hybrid|
|Curb Weight (pounds)||3,605|
|Headroom (f,r…inches)||36.3, 36.4|
|Legroom (f,r…inches)||42.1, 33.1|
|Shoulder room (f,r…inches)||55.1, 52.9|
|Hip room (f,r…inches)||53.8, 52.3|
|Storage (cubic feet)||17.1|
|Gross vehicle weight (pounds)||4,650|
|Fuel Tank (gallons)||10.6|
|EPA Fuel MPG (city/highway)||41/38/39 city/highway/combined|
|Manufacturing Plant||Miyawaka, Fukuoka Japan|
See Also — Compact Luxury and the Lexus NX
2019 Lexus UX Hybrid photos copyright Auto Trends Magazine. All rights reserved.