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Car Review: 2019 Lexus UX 2.0L & 2.0L Hybrid.

This Car Review Is About:
The “baby” Lexus UX (Urban cross-over)SUV. It slots into a small to mid-sized SUV bracket. There are two engine choices and three trim levels in the range; a 2.0L, and two hybrids designated 250h. There is Luxury, F-Sport, and Sports Luxury, and the hybrids have two different drive-trains. One is front wheel drive, the other is all wheel drive. Both have a 2.0L petrol engine alongside the hybrid system with the AWD having a small, separate, motor for the rear wheels, called the E-Four system. Peak power is rated as 126kW in the non-hybrid, and 107kW in the hybrid according to the brochure, but the website says 131kW for the hybrids as a combined figure. Torque is 205Nm for the non-hybrid, the hybrid 202Nm, with the hybrid’s torque said to be on tap between 4400rpm to 5200rpm for the petrol engine. Economy is rated as 5.8L/100km for the standard version, and 4.5L or 4.7L per 100km for the 2WD and AWD, from the 47L or 43L tanks. Transmissions are the new D-CVT, with a fixed first gear for better acceleration for the non-hybrid and a ten speed CVT for the hybrids. Prices are a little complicated:

Both the UX 200 and hybrid 2WD can be specced in Luxury, Sports Luxury, and F Sport form. The aforementioned AWD is not available in Luxury spec.

According to the Lexus website the driveaway starting prices are around $50,900 for the entry level, $54,600 for the 2WD, and $68,300 for the all wheel drive but the various trim levels don’t seem to be able to be factored in. But…without driveaway pricing the list looks like this. UX 200 Luxury kicks off at $44,450, $53,000 for the Sports Luxury, then $53,450 for the Sports Luxury. Then in the hybrid engine family it starts at $47,950 for the 2WD Luxury, $56,500 for the Sports Luxury and $56,950 for F Sport. Go nuts for the AWD pair and it’s $61,000 for the Sports Luxury and $61,450 for the F Sports.

There there are the option packs. Luxury Pack 1 is $1,550 which includes Hands-free power tailgate, wireless charger, alloy scuff plates, headlamp washer, rear privacy glass, cornering lamp. Pack 2 is $4,050 which is Pack 1 plus a moonroof. The F Sport moonroof is $2500. Then there is the $5600 F Sport Enhancement Pack. This lobs in the moonroof, a punchy 13-speaker Mark Levinson hifi (with all models having a built in DVD player), head-up display, panoramic view monitor and smart key card. THEN there is the $3500 Sports Luxury enhancement pack which adds moonroof, head-up display and smart key card. Got all that? Good.

On The Inside Is:
A car built on the Lexus Global Architecture C platform, which includes the Corolla hybrid and C-HR. It’s a mostly well packaged setup. Front seat leg/head/shoulder room is fine. However rear seat leg room can potentially be compromised. The UX has memory seating and the driver’s seat automatically slides back, and at full stretch is pretty close to the rear seat. Once moved forward, rear seat leg room becomes ok, but not fantastic. Both front seats are heated and vented. The seats front and rear sit inside a 2640mm wheelbase, and that’s inside the overall 4495mm length.Lexus offers a range of interior colours for the materials, with the two cars tested coming with F-Sport White with black accents, and F-Sport Flared Red. The actual materials depend on which trim level has been specified. There is a heightened sense of quality and appeal to the hybrid’s interior trim, with the standard version looking plain and cheap in some areas of the dash.It’s largely a standard Lexus look, with the widescreen information display, analogue dial clock, and console mounted trackpad. It’s still never fully intuitive even with settings to adjust the sensitivity. The UX features a slightly different look to the section south of the trackpad, with four separate tabs to access the radio, stations, and more. The driver’s display has the moving dial that slides left and right, and depending on which orientation it’s in, allows different sporting information such as tyre pressures or a “g-sensor” to show how the UX is moved around. Sports Drive modes are accessed from the binnacle mounted rotary dial. The drive selector is a traditional T-bar style. Wireless smartphone charging is standard also as is a powered steering column.

At the rear is a kick activated tailgate. This reveals a high cargo floor, meaning a little extra work is required to place luggage or shopping. As a result of the height, overall capacity is moderate, with 330L an average between the variations. Only the entry level gets a spare, and it’s a space saver at that.Audio comes from a Lexus bespoke system or Mark Levinson system, with DAB, Bluetooth, and an in-dash DVD player. Punchy, clear, beautiful.

On The Outside Is:An edgy, angular mix, with the Lexus spindle grille front and centre. A striking feature of the UX’s rear is the mix of full body width tail light and aerodynamically positive light clusters. In fact, the whole body is edgy to assist air flow up and over, and along the sculpted sides. However, the rear indicators aren’t what we’ve seen on other Lexus vehicles, with a broad sweep from inside to out. These are normal flashers and small to the eye at that. Front lights are self-levelling LEDs, and have the eponymous L shaped LED driving lights.In profile a low roof line emphasises the height of the nose section and not quite semi-circle wheel arches that flow gracefully into the wing mirrors up front and mirror the aero of the tail light cluster. 17 and 18 inch alloys with dark gunmetal paint contrasted with the Celestial Blue and White Nova colours as supplied. Rubber is from Dunlop, 225/50 on 18s for the F-Sport and Sports Luxury, and 215/60/17s for the Luxury.On The Road It’s:
Two different kinds of cheeses, as opposed to chalk and cheese. The standard 2.0L launches hard, the hybrid launches harder. Considering kerb weights starting at 1490kg through to just under 1700kg, the feel is good. Both CVTs act like CVTs on a light throttle, and move towards more traditional auto changes with a heavier foot. The steering is a variable ratio setup and works best at slow speeds such as parking in carparks. Oddly, it also feels as if the turning centrepoint is almost underneath the driver’s seat.

The standard UX is softer in the rear than the hybrid provided, and both exhibited the same rear end lateral skip on the sweeping right hnader that has an expansion joint running across. Call it bump steer for the rear. It’s a MacPherson strut front and trailing wishbone rear, by the way. On the flat roads it’s stable, comfortable, well damped in both, and only on the worst of the coarse chip covered tarmacs did tyre noise make its way through.

Brakes felt marginally better in the hybrid, not unexpectedly, and the dash in the hybrid has the traditional energy expenditure/recovery display to give the driver an idea.

The Safety Systems Are:
Lacking for nothing. AEB, Forward Collision Alert, Blind Sport Alert, Parking Assist, Rear Cross Traffic Alert, Radar Active Cruise Control, Substantial. Lexus call the umbrella package Lexus Safety System +. Items like auto headlights, wipers, and tyre pressure warning are also standard.And The Warranty Is:
Starting to fall behind. Standard warranty is just four years, and considering Toyota recently moved to five it’s not unreasonable to presume Lexus will do the same…eventually.

At The End Of The Drive.
They make for a nice pair of cars but even with a pair of ISOFIX child seat mounts, AWT can’t shake the niggling feeling that Lexus has set the UX to be the entry level to the Lexus SUV range. There is barely enough room for older primary school aged children in the rear seats and the layout of the cargo space speaks the same story.

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