Crazy chic

WHAT IS IT?

These days, if you want to get into the Lexus stable, the UX 250h is just about the most affordable way to do so. It’s the luxury marque’s compact SUV that drives like a hatch and looks cool in a way that only the Japanese can get right.

WHY THIS?

It’s a hybrid and it’s an SUV – those are two major boxes ticked for today’s car buyer. Pair these ticks with Lexus’s legendary reliability, slightly crazy styling and an interior crafted for comfort and convenience, and you’ve got yourself a winner.

OUTSIDE

The UX is a bit over-the-top in terms of styling, but in that very Japanese way that works so well. Importantly, it stands out from the plethora of compact SUVs on the roads today, managing to appear every bit a unique and premium vehicle. We love the signature Lexus trapezoid grille and the coupé silhouette, as well as the LED light that runs the width of the car at the back – a detail you only really notice at night but that makes a real impact.

INSIDE

Car cabins that feel right and are also functional aren’t that common, but the UX manages to nail it. The seats of a car are often where you can most feel the difference between a mid-range car and a premium vehicle, and the UX has spectacular seating that holds you as you wish you could always be held. As you’d expect, the interior materials are top-notch for an aura of luxury.

Many modern car interiors are dominated by a touchscreen, and it's sometimes hard to remember what car you’re driving from the cabin alone. The little Lexus, however, feels refreshingly different as well as perfectly functional. Great news is that new touchscreen technology with 12.3-inch displays has replaced the previous trackpad control, a niggle in so many Lexus models. 

THE DRIVE

The only powertrain option in the UX is a self-charging hybrid electric system that pairs a 2-litre petrol engine with an electric motor for a total of 135kW and 180Nm, with a CVT transmission. Claimed fuel consumption is just 4.5L/100km.

The UX is more a crossover than a true SUV, and one benefit of this is the driving quality of a very sophisticated hatchback. The F Sport comes with new high-response adaptive variable suspension (AVS) system that makes it grippy and entertaining in corners but still comfortable on the highway. Gotta love technology…

Lexus Safety System+ is standard, making the UX one of the safest vehicles in its class. It even has an all-speed dynamic cruise control system with curve speed reduction, which automatically adjusts the vehicle’s speed to suit the bend in the road.

FINAL WORD

The Lexus UX is a fantastic compact crossover, and the F Sport adds extra luxury and more distinctive styling to an already impressive package. The only significant flaw in the vehicle is the small boot, but most potential buyers won’t see that as too much of a hindrance.

GO GET IT

The UX is priced from R808 600, while the F Sport is R947 500. It comes with an impressive 7-year/105 000km warranty and full maintenance plan as well as an 8-year/195 000 km hybrid battery warranty. Visit www.lexus.co.za

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