Urban Utility at it’s best

2019, Lexus, UX 250h

Just in time for the weekend we got the perfect little compact sport Utility or UX for short. Normally we would get a honking 3-row seater that gets about 15 mpg, way more vehicle than we need, but not this week.

Stretch is a musician and plays with a band called Wild Ginger, named aptly for the singer, a tall drink of water with wild ginger hair. This weekend they were singing Take me to Church at The Shack in Sacramento and Jolene on the Truckee River. It’s a fun gig, a far departure from his real gig as a geek.

Truckee is about eighty miles away from Auburn, a good 20 degrees cooler and less than 3 gallons of gas in a Lexus UX350h hybrid. The compact CUV I drove to the events was an F-sport hybrid by Lexus. Loaded with gear for the event, we climbed the hills of the Sierra Nevada in the little Ultrasonic Blue Mica.

It is June, and in Auburn, it was hitting 100 degrees, while in Truckee there was still snow on the ground and a blissful 70-ish. We went from setting the air conditioning at 73 to using our heated seat and the heated steering wheel.

The UX name is derived from the design team’s guiding concept and describes the vehicle’s mission: Urban + X-over (crossover) = UX.

“The Lexus UX design is for the modern urban explorer seeking a fresh, contemporary and dynamic take on luxury driving,” said Chika Kako, executive vice president of Lexus International and chief engineer of the UX. “We designed the UX to appeal to young buyers who seek not only what is new and exciting, but what is also relevant to their lifestyles.”

Infused with dynamic attitude, the 2019 Lexus UX is engineered to deliver quick and engaging driving with a Lexus-smooth demeanor, making it a unique entry in the luxury compact crossover segment.

The 2019 UX is the first Lexus constructed on the new Global Architecture Compact (GA-C) platform. A lightweight yet super-rigid structure, a shallow center of gravity and refined suspension tuning endow the UX with exemplary handling agility and ride comfort, along with a distinctive driving personality.

“I wanted to positively overturn the image of a crossover and offer a car with nimble performance and excellent maneuverability that makes it as easy to drive as a sedan,” said Chief Engineer Kako.

The 2019 Lexus UX is available in two versions: the front-wheel-drive UX 200 introduces a new high-efficiency 2.0-liter, four-cylinder engine coupled with a new 10-speed Direct Shift Direct-Shift Continuously Variable Transmission (DCVT), while the all-wheel-drive UX 250h pairs an even higher efficiency version of the 2.0-liter gas engine with a new fourth-generation hybrid drive system engineered specifically for this platform.

The 2019 Lexus UX is offered in a palette of 12 exterior colors to accentuate its stunning lines. Two of those colors, Ultra White and Ultra Sonic Blue Mica 2.0, are exclusive to the F SPORT.

Two new colors are optional for the UX: Cadmium Orange creates vividness and a sense of depth using a multi-layer painting process that combines a red color base layer with a yellow interference mica layer. Nori Green offers a sharp contrast between bright highlights and dark, calm shades. The mica particles have been enlarged as much as possible without creating color unevenness, achieving high brilliance while expressing toughness.

Pricing and models

2019 Lexus UX 200 starting at $32,000 MSRP 2019 Lexus UX 250h Hybrid starting at $34,000 MSRP adding all-wheel-drive increased power, and better fuel efficiency is $2,000 more.

The 2019 Lexus UX 250h F-Sport I drove was $36K starting MSRP, out the door at $42,785. EPA rates the fuel economy at 41 city/38 highway/ 39 combined. For me to get 37 mpg combined over those hills is a testament to the power of engineers at Lexus and Toyota.

By Lou Ann Hammond

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Images of the 2019, Lexus UX 250h

2019 Lexus UX 250h plug-in hybrid
2019 Lexus UX 250h plug-in hybrid
2019 Lexus UX 250h plug-in hybrid lots of cargo room
2019 Lexus UX 250h plug-in hybrid lots of cargo room
2019 Lexus UX 250h plug-in hybrid dash
2019 Lexus UX 250h plug-in hybrid dash
2019 Lexus UX 250h plug-in hybrid
2019 Lexus UX 250h plug-in hybrid