Lexus UX review - Engines, performance and drive
The UX offers quite un-Lexus-like levels of driver engagement, with tight body control and a punchy powertrain
The UX offers quite un-Lexus-like levels of driver engagement, with tight body control and punchy powertrains
Compact SUVs aren’t renowned for their sharp handling and gutsy performance, but Lexus uses words such as ‘exciting’ and ‘attitude’ to position the UX in its segment. And, based on our experiences, Lexus has managed to create an SUV that’s enjoyable to drive.
When cornering, the Lexus UX applies a degree of brake control on the inside wheel, which reduces understeer. While that sounds good on paper, it feels even better on the road.
The steering is well-weighted and direct, too, thanks, in part, to the mounting of the steering rack directly to the subframe, without the need for rubber bushes. This reduces vibrations and flex, delivering a level of steering sharpness that is largely absent from this segment.
We’d even go as far as to claim that the CVT automatic transmission used in petrol-hybrid models – so often a party-pooper in an otherwise entertaining car – is a positive aspect of the UX. The changes are smooth and seamless, while the power delivery is more linear than in other transmissions of this type. It’s actually pleasant to use, which isn’t something we’d say about many CVTs. Electric UXs come with a single-speed automatic transmission so there are no gear changes to worry about.
UX 300 e models are fitted with paddles behind the wheel for adjusting how much regenerative braking (which helps recharge a UX’s battery) is applied when a driver lifts off the throttle. Unfortunately, even the highest setting is not enough to bring the UX to a complete stop without assistance from traditional brakes. Furthermore, Lexus’ engineers have done a great job in ensuring the transition from regenerative braking to discs and pads is very smooth in fully-electric and hybrid UXs.
The majority of hybrid UX 250h models sold in the UK are front-wheel drive, with E-Four all-wheel-drive versions in the minority. The latter uses a separate electric motor integrated into the rear differential to send power to the back wheels. There are many advantages to this, including sharper cornering and improved grip on slippery surfaces, but in reality you’re unlikely to notice the difference in day-to-day driving. The added expense means we’d stick with the front-drive model.
Engines, 0-60 acceleration and top speed
In front-wheel-drive hybrid models, the 2.0-litre four-cylinder petrol engine is mated to an electric motor delivering a total system output of 180bhp and 190Nm. This translates to a 0 to 62mph sprint time of 8.5 seconds. E-Four models are claimed to come with the same power and torque outputs despite the extra motor capable of supplying a modest 7bhp and 55Nm of torque. E-Four models are slightly slower to 62mph from a standing start, taking 8.7 seconds. All hybrid models have a top speed of 110mph.
This is more than quick enough for a compact SUV, with the CVT transmission delivering smooth and relatively rapid acceleration when required. Equally impressive is the way the UX settles down to a refined and comfortable cruise when the performance isn’t wanted.
Electric UX 300 e models are similar. Power output is claimed to be 201bhp and torque 300Nm. Sprinting from 0 to 62mph takes just 7.5 seconds and top speed is 99mph.
In this review
- 1Lexus UX reviewThe Lexus UX hybrid is good to drive, economical and should be easy to live with, too
- 2Engines, performance and drive - currently readingThe UX offers quite un-Lexus-like levels of driver engagement, with tight body control and a punchy powertrain
- 3MPG, CO2 and Running CostsOfficial figures suggest that the UX will be a cheap car to run, irrespective of fuel type
- 4Interior, design and technologyThe Lexus UX boasts a highly individual and quality-rich interior
- 5Practicality, comfort and boot spaceThe boot is too small and the space inside the cabin is merely adequate
- 6Reliability and SafetySafety and reliability come as standard with Lexus – you can buy a UX with confidence