2020 Lexus UX 250h F Sport Luxury new car reviews

The 2019 UX 200 we recently drove came equipped with a four-cylinder engine powering the front wheels. This 2020 250h model that was just loaned to us, however, came equipped with a hybrid powertrain that sends its power to all four wheels.

What is this hybrid powerplant good for? A Reported 181 horsepower—that's 12 more over the non-hybrid version.

Does all-wheel-drive and 12 more horsepower make a noticeable difference? You'll have to read our driving impressions below.

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J.G. Pasterjak
JG Pasterjak
Production/Art Director

This is the second time we’ve had Lexus’ smallest crossover in our press rotation, and although I didn’t spend much time with it on this visit, my brief drive definitely confirmed that my previous love affair with the small UTE was not misplaced.

The UX250h shares a platform with the similarly proportioned Toyota CH-R as well as the Corolla. Both of those vehicles are nice in their own ways, but what’s most impressive is how Lexus has taken the exact same platform and made it feel so much more special than you’d even believe those cars were capable of being. Certainly part of it is the F Sport package, which gets a bit of specific suspension tuning, but the UX is just a remarkably rewarding car to dive, despite its taller-than-a-car stature. It’s not the first time that a car company has brought sport sedan feel to a small ute—Mazda made us believers with the CX-5 when it first came out a few years ago—but Lexus really seems to have captured that same magic in the driving dynamics department with this one.

Likewise, the UX also has the typically excellent Toyota ergonomics. Ingress and egress—two things I consider pretty important for a car that will be used for daily errands—is seamless, despite sporty seats and a well-supported driving position. Those traits are usually mutually exclusive, yet somehow Lexus has nailed this as well.

Unfortunately, the package is let down a bit by the convoluted and finicky touchpad-based driver info system. Substituting a few sensible buttons for functions that inexplicably require deep menu dives via a very sensitive touchpad, making its use while moving tricky at best—would be a good move. It’s a common complaint these days, and while we like having all of the car controls in a single interface, it’s still astounding how convoluted some of the interfaces are when buttons would work just as well or better (Volvo, we’re especially looking at you here).

You’re going to pay $42,000 or so for a fairly well-loaded UX250h with the F Sport goodies, and that seems like a lot for what amounts to a remodeled Corolla. But Lexus has really worked some magic with this chassis. If you can get over the fiddly controls, there won’t be many dull moments behind the wheel.

David S. Wallens
David S. Wallens
Editorial Director

Think of it as a hybrid, Lexus-ized version of the Toyota C-HR, and you’re pretty much there. But that’s no slap in the face as we like the C-HR for what it is: Toyota’s take on the tall wagon.

The Lexus version comes in two flavors, and we’ll turn to Lexus for the rundown:

“The 2020 Lexus UX is available in two versions: the front-wheel drive UX 200 is powered by a high-efficiency 2.0‑liter, four-cylinder engine coupled with a 10-speed Direct Shift Continuously Variable Transmission (DCVT), while the all-wheel drive UX 250h pairs an even higher-efficiency version of the 2.0‑liter gas engine with a fourth-generation hybrid drive system engineered specifically for this platform.”

Which did we get? The UX 250h, of course. And then it was fitted with the F Sport package: tighter suspension, 18-inch wheels, sport seats, paddle shifters and a bunch of sporty accouterments.

And then add in options like an F Sport Luxury Package (moonroof and more), head-up display and navigation system that took MSRP from $36,350 to $42,580–and that’s before another $1025 for “delivery, processing and handling.”

One last thing on the bill: $430 for “Paint Protection Film by 3M.”

So hello, UX 250h F Sport, we meet again. Yes, we drove another one last year, and it’s still pretty much the Lexus of small crossovers. It gives you that tall-in-the-saddle feeling but it’s not your next off-roader.

It does deliver those Lexus touchpoints. The steering wheel feels good. The seats are comfy. Lexus’s trackpad is still an acquired taste, though. You want bells and whistles? They’re here.

It’s quick when you get into it, but there is that CVT.

It’s quiet. It feels good. It’s comfy. It’s easy to get in and out of.

The EPA lists a combined fuel economy of 39 mpg. That beats the standard, non-hybrid C-HR (31 mpg combined).

But is it worth $43,605?

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