Car Reviews

2023 Lexus UX 250h First Look

The Lexus UX is a small SUV that sits at the bottom of Lexus’ SUV series, beneath the compact NX, and is reasonably priced. It’s mostly a car-based crossover that sits just above the normal tiny hatchback. Lexus is dropping the gas-powered UX (previously known as the UX200) in favor of the hybrid UX 250h for the upgraded 2023 model.

Infotainment (Touchscreen)

The smallest Lexus crossover, introduced for 2019, is one of few vehicles in the premium brand’s range that have yet to receive the latest, umm, cabin user experience, also known as “UX.” Lexus has replaced this now-outdated technology in the UX family with the Lexus Interface multimedia touchscreen infotainment system, which debuted last year in the bigger NX crossover. Now, entry-level UXhs will come with an 8.0-inch touchscreen, but the available 12.3-inch unit, which rises tablet-like from the top of the dashboard, is the true show-stopper; both displays appear to be within easy reach of the steering wheel.
Lexus changed the secondary controls, spreading them out and making them more recognizable, and adding two USB ports beneath the new touchscreens, which are located closer to the front seat passengers than the old, touchpad-controlled display. The climate controls now feature larger and crisper readouts above the buttons, and there’s room in the front of the center console for a wireless phone charger. The space where the iconic touchpad used to be is now occupied by a square array of seat heating and cooling settings, as well as the heated steering wheel button.

F Sportier

The F Sport aesthetic package is already available on the UX, but it will be expanded for 2023 to include additional hardware improvements in support of a more athletic drive via a new F Sport Handling package. There are two F Sport treatments available now: The first is a cosmetic improvement, with distinctive wheels, a different grille, a black-painted roof, and body-color fender flares, as it was before. Automatic headlight leveling, rain-sensing windshield wipers, a sunroof, and fog lights are all included. The other gets the same gear as the first, plus some handling improvements.

The F Sport Handling kit adds a steering gear brace, an electronically adaptable suspension, and a rear Yamaha structural damper. Sport seats, a F Sport steering wheel and shift lever, and aluminum foot pedals and door sill plates are all included in the Handling package. A digital key, auto-dimming and heated side mirrors, and a HomeLink garage opener “enhance the F Sport Handling experience for the driver in concrete ways,” according to Lexus.

Safety

Safety System+ 2.0 has been upgraded to Safety System+ 2.5 due to a number of minor adjustments to the Lexus’ standard active safety features. This improves the performance of the frontal camera and radar sensor, allowing for a broader viewing angle and faster response times to pedestrians and other objects. When activated, the lane-tracing self-steering function is touted to perform more smoothly and over a larger range, providing “more continuous steering assist.”

Finally, adaptive cruise control has the ability to slow down for approaching curves. There are no mechanical modifications expected under the hood of the UX 250h. The hybrid’s 2.0-liter I-4 gas engine will likely be powered by an electric motor in front, as well as another electric motor powering the rear axle, for a total of 181 horsepower. While not the most exciting powertrain, the UX 250h AWD is expected to score 41 mpg city, 38 mpg highway, and 39 mpg combined in 2022, according to the EPA.