Driven

Luxurious Economy: The 2020 Lexus UX250h

Hybrid. What’s the first thing that pops into your head when you think of the word “Hybrid?” Is it economy, getting 50 mpg and bragging about it to all of your non-hybrid driving friends? Or, is it the Toyota Prius? Perhaps it’s both. So you’d be forgiven if your first thought isn’t of a blazing-orange Lexus hatchback.
Enter the Lexus UX250h F Sport AWD. Phew. Try saying that 5 times fast.

What!?, you might say. However shocking it may be, it’s true: our pumpkin-spice hued Lexus hatch is a hybrid, despite not looking like any hybrid you might be used to. Instead of a melted bar of soap shape, designed to gently glide through the air, you get a surprisingly funky hatchback bodystyle, with enough creases and attitude to give some sportiness and aggression to this hatch. This is the ANGRY ORANGE hybrid, then, right? Not quite. This is a Lexus, after all, and Lexus doesn’t do anger and aggression. The F Sport brings unique accents to the exterior that add some visual spunk. Instead of bright chrome trim, you get darker bronze accents, similar to the trim on the LS500 F Sport we tested earlier this year. The F Sport package also brings some spicy 18″ wheels, which, despite being quite huge, did not seem to adversely affect the ride quality. Also, our tester was painted “Cadmium Orange,” a color that will cost you an extra $595 but is entirely worth it to my eyes. It seemed to be the perfect color for Fall in Capital Region NY, with the various yellows and oranges of the trees being the perfect compliment to our unique tester.

Stepping into the UX250h F Sport will have you stepping down rather than up; despite the usual trend of a high-driving position crossover, the Lexus is relatively low to the ground. This definitely contributes a sporty feeling, but do not expect an SUV-like ride height or view of the road. The interior is extremely well put together, as one would expect of a Lexus. Laden with features, our UX250h F Sport has enough displays, gadgets, and gizmos to keep the inner techie occupied. The Lexus has faux leather seats that feel just as comfortable as the real deal, while being sustainable and animal friendly. Like most Lexus’ on the market today, the UX also has a frustrating-to-use infotainment system, due to the joystick operation. You will eventually get used to it, but it will take some time, and it’s easy to get distracted while trying to change your seat settings, for example. One major plus for the UX’s interior is the excellent Mark Levinson sound system. Additionally, it is very quiet and feels more luxurious and upscale than the segment might let on. That diminuitive size does also impact cargo space, despite the UX being a hatchback.

The UX250h F Sport receives sportier suspension that the other UX trims, but do not mistake this for a hot hatch. The ride is comfortable and relatively pillowy, with all but the largest impacts soaked up well. The steering is very numb, but well weighted, and neither too quick nor too slow. It took me a while to realize it, but after a few backroads blasts, I came to realize the UX actually handles quite well. It is responsive, nimble and planted enough to be fun to drive around corners at speed. Try saying THAT for your Prius. Where the UX falls short in terms of thrills, though, is its powertrain. With just a measly 181 hp, the UX needs to be floored to notice any real sensation of acceleration. When floored, you will notice trademark CVT mooing, as almost to shout “THIS IS NOT HOW YOU DRIVE ME.” Other hybrids on the market make due with torque converted autos, and it would favorably improve the only lackluster aspect of the UX driving experience.

Overall, the UX250h F Sport left a favorable impression on me. It averaged 42 mpg during a week of admittedly aggressive driving, and looks unique and sporty. The good looks and nimble handling make it a very enticing blend of luxury and economy, and is definitely recommended if such a “hybrid” is up your alley.

-Ken Wilson

2020 Lexus UX250h F Sport AWD$37,100
Cadmium Orange$595
Luxury Package$2,390
Navigation System w/ 10.3″ Display$2,200
Color Head-Up Display$500
Intuitive Parking Assist$565
Wireless Charger$75
Destination Charges$1,025
As Tested Price$44,450

Check out some of our related Lexus reviews

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