Lexus calls the 2023 UX 250h a compact SUV, but I am left scratching my head on how that can be. It definitely doesn’t look like one – more of a hatchback in my eyes, but to each their own.
What it is, though, is a nicely designed offering from Lexus that is offered only as a hybrid.
Pricing for the UX 250h starts at $41,500, and as tested is $46,133.70 (with extras and fees included).
The only option on the tester was the F Sport Design with Premium Colour package, at $2,300. It includes ventilated and heated front seats, heated leather-wrapped steering wheel, power moonroof, blind spot monitor system, rain sensing wipers, heated exterior mirrors, auto-dimming rear view mirror and the digital instrument cluster.
The vehicle comes standard with the Lexus Safety System+ 2.5 preventive safety technology package, which includes things like dynamic radar cruise control, lane tracing assist, pre-collision with pedestrian and bicycle detection, and lane departure alert with steering assist.
Powertrain: Lexus has a pretty good track record when it comes to hybrid technology and the UX 250h certainly benefits from that.
While the power numbers are perhaps not the most exciting, the powertrain nevertheless does a good job in motivating the model even if there is some excitement lacking.
The 2.0-litre 4-cylinder gasoline engine is mated with Lexus Hybrid Drive to deliver 181 horsepower and 139 pound-feet of torque. It features an ECTV gearbox which works well, and the UX 250h is equipped with all-wheel drive, which came in handy during winter weather.
The UX 250h has an impressive, estimated fuel economy of 6.0 litres per 100 kilometres, and I was able to achieve 7.2 L/100 km, which is still quite good.
Exterior: The UX250h is instantly identifiable as a Lexus thanks to its hard-to-miss spindle grille, which gets the F Sport treatment on our tester, part of the F Sport Appearance Package. The black grille and other accents, including a black roof, contrast to the Ultrasonic Blue Mica paint.
The compact design features elegant accent lines in the sheet metal that give off a sporty appearance. The side mirrors feature a nice chrome trim, with chrome accents also around the front and rear passenger windows.
The rear hatch features a lightbar stretching across its width, which actually makes it look wider than it is. The taillights protrude slightly from the back end, with little vertical fins.
The design is capped off by 18-inch F Sport alloy wheels.
Interior: The cabin is properly designed and laid out with modern, clean lines. Controls are neatly organized in a single line below the central screen, with toggle-like switches making the functions easy to use.
Controls for the heated and cooled seats, as well as the heated steering wheel, are in the centre console.
The lighter materials in the cabin help it feel more spacious than it is. It features Birch coloured NuLuxe fabric for some accents and the seating, which provide good support.
One negative is the extremely tight space in the back seats. Not just the legroom, but headroom is also at a premium given the size of the UX 250h. Something to keep in mind if you expect to seat taller occupants back there.
Cargo space also is not overly generous, but you can lower the back seats in a 60/40 split should you need extra room.
Infotainment: The UX250h comes with a excellent infotainment system that is easy to operate and includes the latest functionalities.
Our tester had the standard 8-inch screen, but there is an optional 12.3-inch touchscreen. Lexus says the screens feature anti-glare technology and higher resolution, and the interface can be done via touch or voice commands.
There are two USB charging connectors in the centre console, as well as wireless charging capability. The system is also compatible with wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, as well as standard with satellite radio.
Drive: Lexus says it has enhanced the driving dynamics of the UX 250h for 2023 by updating the steering response, handling and ride quality.
The work of the engineers results in a pleasant driving experience behind the wheel of the UX 250h, especially when it comes to the noise and vibration levels in the cabin.
While the power numbers might not be over the top for this vehicle, the overall experience behind the wheel still is enjoyable.
Conclusion: The attractively-styled UX 250h does have some limitations, but if you are looking for a compact luxury hybrid that offers you AWD confidence, this is a very good vehicle to consider.
The Lexus hybrid system proved again why it is one I always enjoy, the model’s design is eye-catching and the cabin is comfortable despite its size.
2023 Lexus UX 250h AWD
Price as tested: $46,133.70
Configuration: Front engine/All-wheel drive
Engine/transmission: 2.0-litre 4-cylinder with Lexus Hybrid Drive/ ECVT
Power/torque: 181 horsepower/ 139 lb-ft of torque
Fuel (capacity): Regular (40 L)
Combined fuel economy ratings (L/100 km): 6.0 L/100 km
Observed fuel economy (L/100 km): 7.2 L/100 km
Warranties: 3-years/60,000 km (basic)
Competitors: Audi Q3, BMW X1, Mercedes-Benz GLA Class, Volvo XC40
Website: Lexus Canada