Updated: Mar 31, 2022
Another winter, another week in the Lexus UX 250---the smallest of the crossover SUVs offered by Toyota's luxury brand.
It was roughly the same time last year that I was last in a UX, and that's the reason for the headline above. Last year's car was the UX 200 F SPORT, which is front wheel drive. We took it to Lake Tahoe after a light snow, drove into an unplowed parking lot and found that six inches of ground clearance isn't enough when the (much larger) vehicle ahead of you left deep ruts in the snow . The traction from two wheels wasn't enough to keep us moving forward. It took a push from some bystanders.
That likely wouldn't have happened if last year's car had been the UX 250h---the hybrid. Because all UX 250h models are all-wheel drive. And they're the only models in the UX family that are. Beyond that, you have the fuel-saving advantages of the hybrid powertrain. Horsepower goes up slightly, from 169 to 181, but fuel economy fairly leaps from an EPA-estimated 29 city/37 highway to 41 city/38 highway. No, 181 horsepower isn't a lot and yes, getting to 60 from a standing start will require some patience---more than eight seconds' worth---but what delivers the UX from being dull is its handling. This little crossover enjoys the twists and turns.
This time around, our UX 250h was equipped with the Luxury Package, which adds $2,390 to the base price, bringing it to $40,240 and adding memory settings for the driver's seat and mirrors, a power rear door with kick sensor, heated and ventilated front seats and power-folding, auto-dimming outside mirrors. Those are nice features, to be sure, but frankly, what the UX could use is a break from the sea of grey in the interior. It appears that's available, it's just that our tester wasn't equipped that way. Beyond that, as with most Lexus vehicles, the standard equipment list is comprehensive---an eight-speaker Lexus premium sound system, 18-inch alloy wheels with run-flat tires, dual-zone climate control with rear vents, navigation, rain-sensing wipers, a moonroof and more.
Despite the high level of standard equipment, there are still extra-cost options to be had, and our tester had some of them: Wireless phone charging ($75), a head-up display ($500), triple-beam LED headlamps with auto-leveling, washers, LED fog lamps and cornering lamps ($1,660) and intuitive parking assist ($565). So, with $1,075 delivery, processing and handling fee, the as-tested price of the 2022 Lexus UX 250h Luxury is $44,115.
The fact of the matter is that this is a solid price---only a couple thousand dollars more than a hybrid AWD Toyota RAV4. The 2022 Lexus UX 250h Luxury may not scream "luxury"---but then, wealth is supposed to whisper, right?