Not every vehicle for sale in the USA is for sale everywhere else in the world. And conversely, not every vehicle sold elsewhere gets sold here.
Less than 90 days after my return from a trip to France, my brain is telling me the 2024 Lexus UX 250h would do much better over there.
In fact, it does do better over there. I've seen more of the littlest Lexus in a total of seven weeks on French roads than I have in four years on American ones.
The Lexus UX 250h has some fine qualities, almost all of which run counter to the American notion of luxury.
In the American view of luxury, fuel economy is fine, as long as it's not paired with slow acceleration. Yes, the UX 250h hybrid delivers an EPA-estimated 42 miles per gallon combined city/highway. It also takes more than 8 seconds to get to 60 miles per hour from a standing start.
Small exterior dimensions aren't an automatic disqualifier as long as cargo space, but especially comfort aren't affected. The UX falls behind competitors from Benz (the GLA) and BMW (the X1) on both counts.
Lexus does the best it can with what it's got here---the quality of materials, fit and finish are all Lexus-grade---but it's just not enough to compete.
Base price for the 2024 Lexus UX 250h Premium is an extremely reasonable $38,950, including destination. And incredibly---that's a price drop from the first UX 250h Luxury I reviewed three and a half years ago, which began at $40,575. Find me anything else that's had a $1,625 price cut in that time.
And, in typical Lexus fashion, the base price buys you a lot---18-inch wheels, bi-LED headlamps and LED taillamps, heated outside mirrors, dual-zone climate control, a leather steering wheel, Lexus' comprehensive suite of active safety features, a power rear door with kick sensor, rain-sensing wipers, heated and ventilated power front seats and a power moonroof.
Our tester did have some extra-cost options, as well---$75 for wireless device charging, $1,405 for a 12.3-inch touchscreen with navigation, $565 for intuitive parking assist, $500 for the Iridium paint, and $150 for a heated steering wheel, bringing the as-tested price to $41,645.
And if price were the only consideration, that's a screaming deal.
But it's not. As we said in our last review of the UX 250, the smart move is for Lexus to surrender the price advantage and field its own version of the Toyota RAV4 Prime---more room, even better fuel economy with 42 miles of pure electric range at a price tag and some serious power (the RAV4 Prime's 302 horsepower dispatches 0-60 sprints in 5.8 seconds) with a pricetag that likely would land about where the Germans already are, comparably equipped.