2023 Lexus UX 250h F Sport Review

Last UX standing


Amos Kwon, Editor-In-Chief



Positives: Good handling and steering, addition of AWD, much-improved infotainment, great cabin design and materials, solid efficiency numbers, looks good with F Sport trim.
Negatives: Mediocre acceleration doesn't back up the steering and handling, cargo space and back seat are tight.
Bottom Line: Despite the underwhelming power, we still think the UX is one of Lexus's best. It handles well, looks great, and provides an excellent interior for its size. The new tech changes the interior, and it also provides solid efficiency and great safety.
The UX is still the most affordable model in the Lexus lineup. Lexus ditched the non-hybrid UX 200, and we won't miss it. The only model left is the UX 250h hybrid version, and thankfully has all-wheel drive, unlike the gas-only version. For 2023, the UX 250h gets an available F Sport Handling package with adaptive dampers (only on F Sport trim), and a long-awaited and new Lexus Interface touchscreen infotainment system with voice assistant, OTA updates, and wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. We drove it for a full week, and our full review follows.
 

Driving Experience

8

 

The UX 250h is interesting to drive. It's not powerful, fast, or especially great in terms of handling. But it's competent and fun, nevertheless. Push it too hard, and it gets a little dicey, but in everyday normal driving, it's quite pleasant.

Ride Quality: On the firm side with the F Sport suspension, the UX 250h still rides comfortably.

Acceleration: The UX 250h is about will hit 60 mph in about 8 seconds. The CVT is one of our favorites, and it feels pretty natural and decently responsive.

Braking: The regen brakes feel weird like most of these systems, but stopping power and pedal progression are good.

Steering: Despite the fact that there's little feedback, turn-in is very good, and there's a modicum of effort.

Handling: The lower center of gravity due to the battery helps the UX 250h handle corners well. The car feels balanced, but you can't push it too hard in the turns.

Technology

8.5

 

Lexus finally replaced the old and vague operating OS, and it's about time. It's vivid, crisp, and easy to operate. The company also ditched the terrible touchpad controls.

Infotainment System: The 8" screen that comes standard looks good and has solid resolution, but the optional 12.3" screen is way better. Lexus also wisely made the new screen easily reachable from both front seats, unlike the old one.

Controls: As much as we hate predominantly on-screen controls, we hated the Lexus touchpad even more. For 2023, the touchpad gets removed, and we won't miss its vagueness one bit. The shift knob, climate controls, and the steering wheel controls are very good to use and, thankfully, remain.

Styling

8.5

 

The UX 250h F Sport looks great in person, way better than in photographs. It comes across as more of a premium hatchback than a crossover due to its low ride height, and the dramatic bulges and styling elements work better on it than on other Lexus models.

Front: The F Sport grille is big bold, and attractive, and the large faux intakes add to the aggressiveness.

Rear: We love the single bar LED taillight with the protruding fins. The UX 250h looks fresh and original from the back.

Profile: From this angle, the UX looks a bit awkward. The short rear overhang is betrayed by the tail section that protrudes, and the front overhang seems overly long.

Cabin: In one of the best executed Lexus cabins, the UX 250h's interior is youthful and refined. Lexus did a fine job creating clean lines and great materials.

Comfort

8

 

Though the UX is small, it can comfortably accommodate adults in both rows. Lexus did a great job with the overall layout, and they did an excellent job with seat comfort. Some rear plastic bits are definitely from Toyota, but overall the execution is very good.

Front Seats: The F Sport seats provide top notich comfort thanks to a great shape, as well as the right amount of bolstering and cushioning.

Rear Seats: Seating two in back is no problem. There's actually a pretty good amount of legroom for medium-sized adults. The middle position is only for short distances, though.

NVH (noise/vibration/harshness): Although the cabin is quiet, there is some wind noise at higher speeds. You can also hear the hybrid system when the car is pushed, but it's by no means intrusive.

Visibility: Sightlines out the front and sides are pretty good, but the rear is obscured by thick pillars and headrests that block the small rear window.

Climate: The climate system fired up quickly, and the heated seats are very warm. We love the switches/buttons that mimic the fancier ones on the LC luxury coupe.

Safety

9.5

 

Buyers can take comfort in the fact that the UX is one of the safest premium small crossovers out there. The standard set of safety features is also class-leading.

IIHS Rating: The UX model gets the Top Safety Pick+ award by earning "good" in all crash tests, as well as "superior" accident avoidance tech, "good" LATCH usage, and "good" headlights, as well as superior accident avoidance technology.

NHTSA Rating: The UX gets five stars from the federal government.

Standard Tech: The Lexus Safety System+ 2.5 gets a ton of great features that put it at the top of the heap, including intelligent cruise control, Road Sign Assist, Lane Departure Alert, Lane Tracing Assist, and Intelligent High Beams. The adaptive cruise control works remarkably well with quick responses and ease of use.

Optional Tech: Our tester came with Intuitive Parking Assist.

Storage/Cargo

6.8

 

There's not a lot of rear cargo room, but the space that exists is useful. The battery compromises some of the rear cargo room, but it's still about the size of a practical hatchback.

Storage Space: There's a flat storage spot under the center stack, conveniently placed cupholders, and a decently sized armrest.

Cargo Room: 17.1 cubic feet behind the second row is good for a few grocery bags or some luggage. With the seats down, it's 52.3 cubic feet. That's just a tad bit smaller than the Volkswagen Golf and the BMW X1.

Fuel Economy

8.8

 

Our efficiency numbers were really good, despite the fact that we drove the UX 250h F Sport pretty hard all week to extract as much power as possible. Owners will no doubt find even greater success at meeting EPA figures under more conservative driving.

Observed: 35.0 mpg.

Distance Driven: 163 miles.

Audio

8

 

The premium 8-speaker system comes standard and sounds great. The tester we had was well-outfitted, and the upgraded system (compared to the stock 6-speaker) is one of the better systems we've experienced at this price.



Final Thoughts

We're glad the UX still exists and that the last one standing happens to be the hybrid. It's efficient, attractive, and fun, despite the dearth of power. Lexus improved the in-car tech to the point where it's an attractor and no longer a demerit. The build quality and materials are impressive, and it still looks and feels premium despite its Lexus gateway status. If Lexus could boost the horsepower by just 25, this thing would be a slam dunk.
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