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Hybrid crossover achieves 40 mpg with price under $40,000

Lexus calls the UX a “crossover for the urban dweller.” That’s marketing spin, but also somewhat applicable for this crossover that comes in a variety of offerings from the sporty F-Sport to the fuel-sipping UX250h (the H standing for hybrid).

The 250h is what I drove for a week and with the high cost of fuel it was much appreciated. Certainly the urban sprawl of the greater Detroit area is conducive for the UX and the hybridized power plant of the UX 250h makes it an efficient urban dweller, as Lexus promised.

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Although for the 2022 model year there’s very little updates from the 2021 version, the UX 250h still feels fresh. There are some new exterior paint colors including Grecian Water and Cloudburst Gray. These colors are extended all the way to the wheel well with color-keyed overfenders included on all packages.

The rest of the aesthetics fall right in line with the entire Lexus family of SUVs. The UX received a redesign in 2019 and with it came the distinctive, bold grille that has defined Lexus over the last several years.

The sloping back side emits a bit of sportiness to an otherwise pedestrian vehicle. A real spoiler shows a playful side. The UX daytime running lights have an arrowhead-like look which further complement the trademark Lexus L-shape headlights. Likewise the taillights, which span the entire back side are actually a series of 120 LEDs that beam a distinctive look at night.

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Lexus and their parent company Toyota have been masters at hybrid technology for decades. The 2022 UX 250h features the brand’s new hybrid powertrain system which now includes standard all-wheel drive. Power distribution between the front and rear axles is automatically optimized by the Vehicle Stability Control (VSC) system when accelerating, cornering or driving on slippery surfaces.

Variable, selectable drive modes offer up four different personalities for the UX250h. The four modes for the hybrid are normal, ECO, sport and EV. Though not a plug-in vehicle, this allows the UX to run on the supplemental battery for a short distant and to help increase the overall fuel economy.

Thanks to a technology developed by Lexus in 2018, the Predictive Eco Drive Control actually learns your driving habits and helps to improve the efficiency of the crossover. It coordinates with the systems built-in navigation system to watch for stopped traffic which then lets it control optimizing the charging of the battery (which is done internally and doesn’t require to be plugged in).

The hybridized powertrain has a 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine and two electric motors for a combined 181 horsepower. All-wheel drive (AWD) is standard and a continuously variable transmission (CVT) is the only available transmission.

The interior of the UX250h offers just enough quality and comfort to warrant the Lexus badging. Typically Lexus interiors are steady, consistent, but also conservatively lavish. The UX holds true to that pattern with quality touch points and comfortable seats.

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The five-passenger vehicle has decent legroom for the rear passengers, but three adults would want for more shoulder and headroom on longer trips. Leather surfaces make for easy clean up.

As is usually the case with hybrid vehicles, cargo room is compromised with the battery placement. In the Lexus UX250h, that premise applies as there’s 21.7 cubic feet of cargo room behind the rear seats.

Additionally, Lexus continues to ride out their touchpad system which drives their infotainment system. There’s a steep learning curve for this system and it can also be quite frustrating. Lexus has managed to add some knobs to offset the quirky behavior of this system, which is being phased in new Lexus vehicles.

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As for technology, the UX has all the technology including a 10.3-inch display (although it would be great if this were a touchscreen). Integration with smartphones including Apple CarPlay and Android Auto is smooth.

There are a slew of driver assist safety features as part of the Lexus Safety System package including:

• Pre-Collision System with Low-light and Daytime Pedestrian and Daytime Cyclist Detection

• All-Speed Dynamic Radar Cruise Control

• Lane Departure Alert with Steering Assist

• Lane Tracing Assist

• Road Sign Assist

• Intelligent High-Beam Headlamps

The UX250h is available in three trims including the F-Sport which adds a hint of sportiness to this hybrid crossover including an exclusive red interior.

Fuel economy rating for the UX 250h is 41 mpg/city and 38 mpg/highway for an average that touches 40 mpg.

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The base trim has a starting price of $35,350 while the top trim Luxury has a starting price of just over $40,000.

The Lexus UX 250h has its purpose and with the aforementioned starting price it broadens the appeal a bit more, priced lower than many non-luxury, non-hybrid vehicles.

For more information or to schedule a test drive, visit your local Toyota dealer or online at www.toyota.com.