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Little Lexus leads value hybrid SUV luxury corps

James Raia

The 2024 Lexus UX 250h continues the now six-year run for the uniquely positioned vehicle. It’s arguably the country’s best-valued, most fuel-efficient luxury subcompact sport utility vehicle.

It’s a long title and worthy of it. The least inexpensive Lexus starts at $35,340. The Premium and F Sport Design trims both start at $37,800. The top F Sport Handling model begins at $42,770. All-wheel-drive is a $1,400 option on every trim.

The top-line choice costs about the same as the average price of a new vehicle in the United States, which makes the little-but-not-so-little SUV additionally attractive.

Little Lexus leads value hybrid SUV luxury corps 1
The 2024 Lexus UX 250h is an entry-level luxury subcompact SUV with a best-buy status.

When it debuted, the UX (Urban eXplorer) lineup was offered in gas and hybrid options. The former was discarded in 2023, leaving four hybrid trims. All are operated by 2.0-liter I-4 engines matched with two electric motors, resulting in a combined 181 horsepower. A continuously variable transmission (CVT) is the only option.

Despite its pedestrian acceleration rating of 0-to-60 miles per hour in 8.1 seconds, the vehicle’s nimble driving and diminutive stature define its peppy personality. It’s quick enough but won’t fare well in any ego-driven driving contests.

The urban-centric Lexus has more than a dozen competitors, including the Audi Q3, BMW X1 and X2, Mercedes-Benz GLA and Volvo XC40. But the UX plays to its strength. It adheres to the upscale brand’s reputation with a well-appointed interior.

Lexus is among the few brands with a hard-to-quantify character. Sit in the SUV for the first time and you’re at home. It’s not opulent but well-built with high-quality materials and soft-touch surfaces. The comfort may also feel slightly elevated since the UX has the lowest entry price than its formidable rivals.

Consistency reigns throughout the trim lineup. Every UX has an 8-inch touchscreen infotainment system with wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, a mobile Wi-Fi hotspot and four USB ports. Enhancements include a larger 12.3-inch touchscreen, built-in navigation, wireless charging and a 10-speaker premium audio system.

Likewise, every 2024 Lexus UX comes equipped with the Lexus Safety System+ 2.5 suite of driver assist and active safety features. Adaptive cruise control, lane keep assist, lane departure warning, automatic emergency braking, automatic high beams and road sign recognition are key elements. An optional motion-sensing power tailgate ($550) is the only change from the last year’s model.

Other previous options remain: auto-dimming rearview mirror with a universal garage door opener ($175), a head-up display ($900), wireless device charging ($75), a moonroof ($1,100) and front and rear parking sensors ($565).

The Lexus UX gets interior space gets mixed ratings. While front-seat passengers have more room than similarly seated occupants in the BMW X1 and Volvo XC40, the diminutive SUV defines its designation with limited cargo room with rear seats up or down. It’s a tight squeeze for more than a few bags of groceries or two medium-sized carry-on suitcases.

Passenger seating designations in vehicles have long been suspect throughout the industry. Two adults in the back seat of the UX is doable, but even medium-sized individuals have limited accommodations. The car’s designation as a five-seater is misleading.

But the space limitations are far from a dealbreaker. The little Lexus achieves more than 40 miles per gallon combined, rarified territory outside of the electric vehicle segment. As a Lexus, the UX 250h has terrific resale value. It’s also easy on the wallet, earning the segment’s Lowest 5-Year Cost to Own Award for 2023.

The 2024 model may get the same award and it may snag other honors. It’s handsome inside and outside. Its fuel-sipping status is the best of its class. And it’s also the best small, entry-level luxury SUV available.

FACTS & FIGURES: 2024 LEXUS UX 250h

Acceleration: 0-60 mph, 8.1 seconds.
Airbags: 6
Fuel economy: 43 mpg/city; 41 mpg/highway.
Horsepower: 181.
Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price: $37,800.00
Manufacturer’s Web site: www.lexus.com.
Price As Tested: $41,645.00.
Warranty: bumper to bumper, 4 years/50,000 miles; Powertrain, 6 years/70,000 miles; Corrosion, 6 years/unlimited mileage; Complimentary Maintenance: 1 year/10,000 miles; Roadside Assistance, 4 years/unlimited mileage.

Article Last Updated: January 16, 2024.

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