Parkers overall rating: 3 out of 5 3.0
Lexus UX review, front view, orange, driving
  • Just one engine option – a 2.0-litre petrol hybrid
  • Badged UX 250h, it’s quiet and refined
  • Performance best described as adequate

Hybrid engine

Not counting the 100% electric version (see our UX 300e review), the only engine available to UK buyers of the Lexus UX is the a 2.0-litre petrol-electric hybrid, badged UX 250h. This system provides 184hp and 190Nm of torque (pulling power), and drives the wheels via an E-CVT automatic. This doesn’t have individual gears, but can replicate them if you want to feel more involved with the driving experience via the paddleshifters on the back of the steering wheel.

Most buyers choose a front-wheel drive UX, and these complete 0-62mph in 8.5 seconds. Go for the E-Four all-wheel drive model, which adds a second electric motor at the rear to drive the back wheels but gains no additional power, and 0-62mph drops slightly to 8.7 seconds – the extra traction failing to overcome the additional weight.

Top speed on all Lexus UX models is limited to 110mph.

What’s it like to drive?

  • More like a hatchback to drive than an SUV
  • Body roll well contained, suspension comfortable
  • Doesn’t feel especially fast, but…

Fair to say, the Lexus UX doesn’t feel like an especially rapid car. Floor the throttle, and although the revs leap to the engine’s optimum power band thanks to the E-CVT auto, it seems to take this SUV a little while to get going. Once on the boil, however, it surges forward smoothly and without fuss, and actually accelerates quite keenly. The lack of drama means the indicated speed can occasionally take you by surprise on the motorway.

The transition between electric power and the petrol engine is also commendably smooth – in some instances the only obvious sign is the EV light on the dashboard. Keep an eye on this, and you may be surprised at how often the engine is switched off, for while the UX 250h doesn’t have a lengthy permanent electric range it does make the most of its hybrid capabilities to deliver near-silent running and genuine efficiency.

The handling is a little blunt – there’s not much feel through the steering but the UX will change direction in a fairly positive fashion, and stays impressively flat in the corners for an SUV. While adaptive suspension is offered, upping the dynamics slightly, rather than hurtling around bends the UX is at its best when cruising in comfort. Something it does with a certain amount of panache.

If comfort is your thing, best to avoid the F-Sport trim level, which combines 18-inch alloy wheels with firmer suspension. This is noticeably harsher over poor surface, if still more forgiving than rival Audi S line and BMW M Sport models. These compensate by being more fun in the corners; the UX may be athletic, and it may offer a choice of driving mode settings, but it is not an enthusiastic machine.

Still, a tight turning circle and compact dimensions make it a cinch to drive around town – where the hybrid system particularly excels.

There is no pretence of off-road ability here at all, and on the road, the front- and all-wheel drive versions feel very similar in all but the most extreme grip situations. The E-Four directs power to rear wheels only when required, and for the majority of the UK that probably makes it an unnecessary expense.