2023 Lexus UX 250h F Sport Premium AWD Review

Slow and fun can exist in the same description

Amos Kwon, Editor-In-Chief

Positives: Tidy package looks great inside and out, tons of standard features, superb new infotainment system, great handling.
Negatives: Powertrain lacks gusto and fun, tight back seat, paltry cargo space.
Bottom Line: The UX 250h is fun despite its lack of get-up-and-go. It's efficient, well-designed, and it finally has a great infotainment system. If you want a small, upscale crossover, it's a great choice. Just don't haul a lot of stuff in it.
The UX 250h is the most affordable Lexus model, but despite its size, it offers a lot for not too much coin. The last time we drove the UX in 2019, it sold in both gas and hybrid models, but no more. For the 2023 model year, Lexus has dropped the less powerful and less efficient UX 200, so only the hybrid remains. Changes for the 2023 model year include a FWD configuration for the hybrid, updated chassis and suspension, and a newly available F Sport Handling package with adaptive dampers. Most important is the addition of a new and much-needed infotainment system. We drove the UX 250h F Sport Premium AWD for a week. Read our full review of this premium compact crossover.

Driving Experience



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 half a second faster than its naturally-aspirated brother, hitting 60 in about 8 seconds. The CVT is one of the better systems, too.

Braking: The regen brakes feel unnatural, but it's not overwhelming. The brakes bring the UX 250 h to a stop without issue.

Steering: Despite the fact that there's pretty much no feedback, turn-in is very good, and effort is respectable.

Handling: The lower center of gravity due to the battery helps the UX 250h handle quite well. The car feels balanced, but it's still no sports car.




The UX 250h finally gets the infotainment system it needed. Gone is the lame Enform system, replaced by Lexus Infotainment, which is definitely one of the best systems we've used in any vehicle this year. .

Infotainment System: The 7" screen and Enform are gone, which is great news. The UX 250h gets an 8" screen standard, but our tester came with the vivid , crisp, and properly large 12.3" screen.

Controls: The awful touchpad is finally no more, replaced by touchscreen controls. We don't miss the touchpad, but a nice control wheel between the seats would've been great. The traditional shift knob is still present, as is good physical climate controls.




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 (ahem, LX 570).

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.




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.




The UX gets high marks from both testing bodies, and it's an extremely safe vehicle. The Lexus Safety System+ 2.5 provides a tremendous level of safety tech that comes standard with the vehicle.

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 depending on trim level.

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 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.




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 decenlty 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



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

Observed: 358.0 mpg.

Distance Driven: 141 miles.




The premium 10-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

The UX 250h is a car we shouldn't love, but despite its mediocre accerlation it's still a fun car to drive. The noise from the powertrain needs refinement, but that's a small price to pay for good styling, good driving manners, a great interior, and superb in-car tech. It looks and feels premium, the safety is superb, and fuel economy numbers are very good. Just don't expect to bring a lot with you in the small cargo area.

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