2020 Lexus UX Crossover Windy City Review by Larry Nutson
SEE ALSO: Lexus Story Archive (1995-Present)
A Crossover for the Urban Dweller
A Crossover for the Urban Dweller
By Larry Nutson
Executive Editor and Bureau Chief
The Auto Channel
Lexus first introduced its new compact luxury crossover, the UX, last year as a 2019 model. It’s very car-like.
I drove the 2019 model and commented back then that in reality the UX is a 4-door, 5-passenger, hatchback with a very car-like interior, stylish and distinctive if not polarizing exterior design, with a higher ride height and a bit more ground clearance than a hatchback sedan.
The 2020 Lexus UX is available in two versions. The front-wheel drive UX 200 is powered by a 169-horsepower 2.0‑liter, four-cylinder engine mated to a 10-speed Direct Shift Continuously Variable Transmission (DCVT). The all-wheel drive UX 250h pairs a higher-efficiency version of the 2.0‑liter gas engine with a fourth-generation hybrid drive system that uses two separate electric motors for a total system power output of 181-horsepower.
As is typical in the year following the launch of an all-new model changes are minimal. For 2020, the Lexus UX features Android Auto functionality on all vehicles. Rear Cross-Traffic Alert (RCTA) is now available with Blind Spot Monitor, previously Park Assist, as an optional feature. Additionally, Lexus Enform trial periods have been updated for Remote, Wi-Fi and Service Connect to align with the brand standard.
Last year I drove the front-drive UX 200. For this stint behind the wheel it was the UX 250h hybrid. As you would expect, the hybrid UX 250h has the lower fuel consumption of the two models. What you might not expect is that the hybrid is, according to Lexus, quicker to 60 mph….8.6 seconds v. 8.9 seconds for the UX 200. Plus, the 250h has all-wheel drive. We will be seeing more and more hybrids coming to market that offer higher performance than a typical gasoline-only powered vehicle.
The UX 250h’s all-wheel drive system uses a separate, dedicated electric motor-generator integrated into the rear differential. Power distribution between the front and rear axles is automatically optimized by the stability control system when accelerating, cornering, or driving on slippery surfaces.
The UX 250h is EPA rated at 39 combined mpg with 41 city mpg and 38 highway mpg. There’s a significant 12 mpg improvement with the hybrid from the UX 200’s 29 mpg rating. For sprinting around the city using less gas, the hybrid is the way to go.
An F Sport package is available on both models that provides a more sporty suspension and unique 18-inch wheels, unique grille and front and rear fascias, as well as sport seats, leather trimmed steering wheel and shifter, plus some additional trim items.
The UX 200 is priced at $32,300. The UX 250h is just $2,200 more, at $34,500. An additional $2,000 will put you in the F Sport package models. Luxury trim models are priced at $37,500 for the UX 200 and $39,700 for the UX 250h. Destination charge is an additional $1,025.
The Luxury trim adds moonroof, navigation system, rain sensing wipers, heated and ventilated front seats, blind spot monitor, rear cross traffic alert, power rear hatch with kick sensor (hands free opening), power-folding outside mirrors and easy access driver seat memory.
The 2020 UX 250h Luxury I drove was finished in an interesting Nori Green Pearl and loaded up with options bringing the bottom-line price to $44,555. As you see, prices can climb quickly.
Standard is Lexus’ Safety System+ 2.0 which is a suite of advanced driver assistance system (ADAS) features that includes forward collision warning with pedestrian and bicycle detection, lane-keep warning, lane-keep assist, adaptive cruise control, road-sign assist, and automatic high-beam headlamps.
The five-seat interior is nicely finished with high quality materials. Along with steering wheel controls, the UX does have a new and improved control on the console for the audio system functions…making things easier for the front passenger. The power seat and power steering column are great for finding that perfect driving position. Apple CarPlay brings in my favorite tunes to the 6-speaker sound system.
More information and detail on the 2020 Lexus UX can be found at www.lexus.com.
Overall, the Lexus UX provides decent driving dynamics with good acceleration, balanced ride and handling in a refined driving environment. NVH is well modulated and the overall driving experience is very satisfying.
I think the UX fits in quite well with an urban family wanting a premium vehicle with good overall performance, low fuel consumption, versatility and stylish looks. Urban families, whether they have no children, young children, or teens will find the UX can work well for them to meet their transportation needs.
No doubt the UX is designed for the younger buyer wanting a premium driving experience. But, the UX will work just as well for urban dwellers of varying ages to meet their driving needs. It’ll keep you young in attitude.
© 2020 Larry Nutson, the Chicago Car Guy