The 2020 Lexus UX starts at $32,300 in the United States and $37,450 in Canada, before freight and delivery charges.
Solid ride, great interior fit and finish, good fuel economy.
Cramped back seat, not much cargo space, unexciting powertrains.
The 2020 Lexus UX is classified as a crossover, or if we prefer, as a light truck both in the United States and Canada. Consumers feeling out of fashion driving a passenger car are trading them in for a utility vehicle, and manufacturers couldn’t be happier as this trend brings greater profit margins.
However, we must realize that small crossovers like the Lexus UX aren’t trucks, and qualifying them as utility vehicles is also a stretch. Nevertheless, it’s the most affordable model in Lexus’ lineup, and even if it the brand said they are two distinct products, the UX directly replaces the CT 200h as the entry-level model.
It must be said that the 2020 Lexus UX isn’t quite like other subcompact luxury crossovers. The UX 200 is only available with a front-wheel drivetrain, while the hybrid UX 250h includes AWD as standard. It competes with the BMW X1, the Audi Q3, the Mercedes-Benz GLA, the Cadillac XT4, the MINI Countryman and the Volvo XC40.
Under the hood of the UX 200, we find a naturally aspirated, 2.0L four-cylinder engine and a continuously variable automatic transmission with 10 simulated gears, good for 169 horsepower and 151 pound-feet of torque. A sharp eye will realize that it’s the same engine as in the Toyota Corolla Hatchback, which is normal since both models share the same architecture. Performance is adequate, even though all rivals offer more powerful, turbocharged engines.
The hybrid version relies on an Atkinson-cycle 2.0L four, three electric motors—providing the all-wheel traction—and an electronically controlled automatic transmission, for a combined output of 181 horsepower.
Performance-wise, both powertrains are similar, although the non-hybrid version is little livelier. The UX 200 boasts city/highway/combined fuel economy ratings of 29/37/33 mpg (8.0/6.3/7.2 L/100 km), while the UX 250h gets a combined rating of 39 mpg (6.0 L/100 km). The difference is mainly attributable to city driving, as on the highway, both engines consume about the same. During our test of the UX 250h, we managed a respectable 6.6 L/100 km.
The 2020 Lexus UX 200 starts out at $32,300 in the U.S. and $37,450 in Canada, freight and delivery charges not included. Customers willing to add a touch of sportiness can choose the F SPORT package which brings a racier exterior design, specific interior trim and some extra comfort and convenience features. The UX 250h starts at $34,500 in the U.S. and $40,000 in Canada.
Why You Should Buy a 2020 Lexus UX
- Sitting down in the UX, we immediately notice the high level of fit and finish that’s a Lexus trademark—even though this is the most affordable model in its lineup. The seating position is spot-on, the F SPORT steering wheel is meaty and almost all controls are within reach.
- The 2020 Lexus UX’s platform is ultra-stiff, making the vehicle feel extremely solid, quiet and refined.
- No matter which powertrain we choose, the UX is very fuel efficient, and runs on regular gasoline, unlike other luxury crossovers.
- As is the case with all Lexus products, the UX enjoys a strong reputation for reliability and its projected resale value is high, adding to the crossover’s appeal.
Why You Shouldn’t Buy a 2020 Lexus UX
- The UX offers a fine ride, but it’s short on power compared to its competitors and their turbocharged engines. As a result, the drive isn’t as exhilarating.
- The 2020 Lexus UX’s Remote Touch infotainment system isn’t the most user-friendly on the market. The touchpad interface is difficult to use while driving, and having to look at the screen to make sure we’re hitting the right button is distracting. At least there are some controls around the edge of the centre armrest for adjusting volume and skipping songs. Using Apple CarPlay or Android Auto integration helps a little.
- No one can expect a roomy cabin by looking at the UX’s outer dimensions. While front-seat occupants have adequate space, rear-seat passengers will feel claustrophobic with very little headroom and legroom.
- Cargo space is also below average in the subcompact luxury crossover segment. The trunk is rated at 17.2 cubic feet or 486 litres with the rear seatbacks in place. Lexus doesn’t publish a maximum cargo volume with the seats folded down, and we’ll assume it’s because it will pale in comparison to what the competition serves up.
- For only a few thousand dollars more, or a few bucks more a month, shoppers can step up to an X1, a Q3 or a GLA that are not only more amusing to drive, but are roomier and more practical. Not to mention more capable all-wheel drivetrains.
The 2020 Lexus UX is an appealing little luxury crossover, if we don’t consider it as a family-oriented vehicle, but more as a trendy, upscale car for young professionals and empty-nesters. It will be cheap to run and maintain, and comes well equipped for the asking price.
If AWD isn’t a need or a desire, an UX 200 will do the job just fine, and we strongly recommend the F SPORT package for a little visual flair inside and out. The hybrid UX 250h trades a little driving excitement for additional fuel savings as well as all-weather traction for an extra few thousand dollars, although it’s difficult to compare it to other luxury subcompacts because of its very distinct character.