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2019 Lexus UX250H Hybrid offers engaging drive experience

On the road, the 2019 Lexus UX250h’s manners are impeccable. Steering is light and precise, and the ride is smooth for a small vehicle, while it handles corners well.
On the road, the 2019 Lexus UX250h’s manners are impeccable. Steering is light and precise, and the ride is smooth for a small vehicle, while it handles corners well. - Jim Kerr

The 2019 Lexus UX250h may be classed as an SUV or crossover vehicle but I would describe it as a personal luxury vehicle. This compact all-wheel-drive hybrid combines all the luxury you would expect in a Lexus with the drive of a performance sedan. For those who like to drive, the UX250h can be fun, luxurious and economical at the same time. 

The UX series is offered in two models. The UX 200 is equipped with a 168-horsepower, four-cylinder engine and front-wheel drive. It’s pricing starts at $37,100. The UX250h, which adds the latest Lexus eAWD all-wheel-drive system and a combined gasoline and electric power train that puts out 175 horsepower. Pricing for the UX250h starts at $39,700. We tested the UX250h equipped with the optional Lexus F Sport series 2 package.

There are three option packages offered on the UX250h: the Luxury package, the F Sport Series 1 package and the F Sport Series 2 package. The F Sport Series 1 package adds more aggressive styling with 18-inch alloy wheels, sport grille, steering wheel, seats shift knob and scuff plates as well as active noise control and LED fog and cornering lights. The Series 2 package builds on the Series 1 package with head-up display, a 10.3-inch-wide Display Audio, navigation system with traffic and weather information, park assist with automatic braking, wireless charging tray, a hands free rear liftgate, driver’s memory seat and mirrors, LED headlamps and garage door opener. The UX250h with the Series 2 package brought the suggested retail price of our test vehicle to $48,500. 

Exuding personal luxury

The Lexus UX250h's styling is aggressive, with a bold front end, large wheel openings made even bigger by the contrasting mouldings and the sporty wheels. - Jim Kerr
The Lexus UX250h's styling is aggressive, with a bold front end, large wheel openings made even bigger by the contrasting mouldings and the sporty wheels. - Jim Kerr

My first look at the UX 250h provided mixed feelings. The styling is very aggressive, with a bold front end, large wheel openings made even bigger by the contrasting mouldings and the sporty wheels. The grille continues the bold Lexus look from other models but appears even larger on this model, like the car is waiting to grow to fit it. The compact size is emphasized by the short rear doors and the sloping window of the rear hatch. You don’t mistake the UX250h for other compact vehicles in the marketplace and it is that styling that will initially attract buyers. Others could feel overwhelmed by this aggressive styling but it would certainly appeal to the bold and innovative. 

Inside, the car exudes personal luxury. The digital gauge display features a large round speedometer flanked by temperature and fuel gauges but press the menu button on the steering wheel and the digital round gauge magically slides to the right and the driver’s information centre appears with many extra menus and options. In the centre of the dash, the 10.3-inch-wide display screen appears to be integrated into the dash rather that tacked on top like so many other vehicles on the market. Nice job. The screen is easy to see and read and the wide format works well. The head-up display is another nice feature, and the sport seats with their contrasting red and black panels are both attractive and comfortable.

On the negative, rear-seat legroom is minimal, especially with tall front-seat occupants, and the cargo area beneath the rear hatch is also small. Two carry-on suitcases or four bags of groceries would fill it unless the rear seats are stowed. This SUV is built for two and the back seat and doors are there for rare use only. 

On the road, the UX250h’s manners are impeccable. Steering is light and precise, the ride is smooth for a small vehicle and it handles corners well. The all wheel drive engages an additional motor on the rear axle when accelerating, cornering or on slippery roads for added traction and the computer automatically splits the power between the front and rear axles for optimum handling. There is also a full suite of driver assist features to help when required. 

The UX 250h engages the driver. Steering wheel controls and console touch pad and the centre armrest audio controls are all ways to interact with the vehicle, while the dashboard controls are designed to place the most frequently operated features closest to the occupants. On top of that, it is a hybrid – one of the most refined on the market, so all those trips around town won’t cost much at the gas pumps either. 

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