The 2019 Lexus UX, an urban crossover SUV with an edgy design, is available as the conventionally-powered UX 200 or the UX 250h, a series-parallel hybrid with two electric motor-generators. The UX is the first Lexus model to use the automaker’s new Global Architecture Compact platform, resulting in a lightweight yet super-rigid structure. The UX features extensive use of high-tensile steel and high-strength adhesives, a composite tailgate, and aluminum side doors, fenders, and hood.
Powering the UX 200 is a high-efficiency, 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine coupled to a 10-speed direct shift continuously variable transmission. This is expected to deliver a combined 33 mpg. This same 2.0-liter engine is used in the next-generation Lexus Hybrid Drive that powers the UX 250h, along with a pair of electric motor/generators integrated into a hybrid transaxle.
The new transaxle mounts the electric motor-generators coaxially rather than in-line to create a smaller and lighter package that reduces frictional losses by 25 percent. In addition, the second motor-generator in the new Lexus Hybrid Drive is a higher-speed motor, yielding better performance and efficiency. Lexus expects this powertrain to deliver a combined 38 mpg.
The UX 250h model offers all-wheel drive using a separate, dedicated electric motor-generator integrated into the rear differential. Power distribution between the front and rear axles is automatically optimized by the vehicle stability control system when accelerating, cornering, or driving on slippery surfaces. All-wheel drive provides stable driving on uphill slopes or snow-covered roads with lower fuel consumption than a conventional AWD system.
Inside is a comfortable and well-appointed interior featuring a sweeping instrument panel, intuitive controls, and a standard 7-inch TFT LCD display. An available Lexus Navigation system replaces this with a 10.25-inch screen. Attention to detail expected of a Lexus is evident, with such features as heated and cooled seats, leather-trimmed steering wheel, and luxurious finishes. The UX is designed to support the digital lifestyles of its drivers by enabling them to use their smartwatch to start their engine, lock or unlock doors, and even check fuel level before heading out for the day.
Predictive Eco Drive Control working with the navigation system learns driving habits, predicts the expected roadway ahead, and analyzes real-time traffic reports to optimize charging and discharging of the hybrid battery. Also operating with the navigation system, Predictive Deceleration Support uses knowledge about a driver’s behavior to predict when and where the vehicle is likely to slow down or stop, increasing regenerative braking appropriately to allow more energy to be recovered.
The Lexus UX is EPA rated at 29 mpg in the city and 37 mpg on the highway, efficient for a conventionally-powered crossover SUV. The hybrid UX 250h ups the economy ante with a 43 city mpg rating and 41 mpg in highway driving. The standard UX is priced at $32,000 with the hybrid UX 250h available at $34,000.