The design of the UV 250h stands out from the crowd but still follows other models in the Lexus family. It's easy to recognize it if you are used to the brand.
The first thing that strikes you when you see the UX 250h is that it feels big and not at all like the smallest SUV model in the Lexus family. This is probably because the shapes are robust and taken directly from the larger models, and because small Lexus models are a rare sight. It has a large grill with angular shapes that looks like it’s tightened midway by a corset. Along with the sharp lines of the headlights, it gives everything but a boring look.
“Do you want a tempered European or an unleashed Asian?”
If you go closer to the car you see that it is not so big but in fact quite compact and small. The wheel housings have some funny shapes which in the upper back are square instead of round. Even the rear has a lot of shapes differing from the ones of European brands. This is a language of forms that the Japanese love and which can be found in all Lexus models.
The sharp and angular shapes even continue inside the car, and if you are used to Lexus’ other models you will feel at home in the UX 250h. Above and beside the digital instrument cluster there are two knobs that have existed on many previous Lexus models. The right-hand side controls which drive program you want and the left if you want to disconnect the anti-skid system.
As with the design, it takes some time to get used to the controls on the UX. Nothing’s out of order, but you have to look around a little. The white test car was equipped with the F-Sport package and with a striking red and black leather interior. The quality and premium feel are of the highest class and just such a simple touch as the sound the door makes when closing is something Lexus technicians invested several hours into perfecting.
In terms of engine, the UX 250h is a so-called self-charging car. That is, the car's petrol engine, as well as the braking regeneration, charges the battery while driving. You neither can nor need to charge the car with a cable. Lexus was very early with hybrids, which emerged in 2005 with the model RX 400h. Hybrid drive is a treat; the car becomes completely silent when the electric motor kicks in and you can glide forward completely silently.
However, CVT transmission is something you have to get used to. It has no real gear steps but instead works like a moped. At high acceleration, the engine revs are, in an annoying way, at max without experiencing the actual gear changes. Imagine a moped and how it sounds at full throttle. But as with most things, this is something you get used to. As soon as you get up to speed, the revs will flatten out and settle at a lower level where they don’t sound as strained. Once you begin to understand how and when to accelerate, the journey becomes relatively harmonious.
The fact that the Lexus UX 250h is a small car is particularly noticeable in the back seat. Here, two adults of the taller type are not quite comfortable. So loading the car full with the whole family and going on a ski holiday may not be what the car is optimized for. However, if intended for yourself and a partner and possibly two smaller children, the size of the car should suffice.
Do not misunderstand me, however, because the car works absolutely fine for long-distance travel and is amazingly comfortable. On the whole, the Lexus UX is a very nice car as soon as you get to know it. It has a design that stands out and a premium feeling few competitors in this class can match. So in the end, it’s a question of whether you want a tempered European or an unleashed Asian.
|Lexus UX 250h
Starting price: From SEK 339,900.