There is no denying that the luxury crossover segment has become one of the most popular and crowded. In the pursuit of better tech features and more space for consumers, even models that were once considered small have become bloated. As a result, there is a small gap open for competitors looking for a luxurious daily driver that is truly small and efficient.
This is where the car I’ve been driving over the last week or so, the 2021 Lexus UX250h, comes in. With its hybrid powertrain, luxury features, and surprisingly pleasant driving experience, the UX250h may be the right fit for this tiny niche. With an as-tested price of $43,625, this tiny crossover is more like a luxury hatchback in disguise.
A Subtle Aesthetic That Flies Under The Radar
Upon first glance, it could be easy to confuse the UX with its bigger sibling, the NX. That’s because the 2021 Lexus UX250h utilizes the same corporate front grille design we’ve seen across the entire Lexus product line. However, the UX is considerably closer to the ground, giving it a sportier look. While this small crossover certainly flies under the radar, Lexus offers some excellent colors ranging from Red, Blue, or the stunning shade of Nori Green Pearl; my tester featured, matching the LX570 I tested a few weeks ago.
The rear of the UX250h is where its hidden identity becomes more apparent. Given its upright rear hatch and lower stance, the UX looks like a slightly taller hatchback, which significantly aids its driving experience. Additionally, the UX doesn’t look as sharp and overstyled as some other vehicles in its family, meaning although this design has been around since 2018, it still looks up to par with its competitors. Overall, the UX is easy on the eyes and a great way to get a luxurious ride without being flashy.
A Fun Ride That’s Fuel-Efficient
As the “h” in the 2021 Lexus UX250h’s name suggests, this version houses a hybrid powertrain. It’s a 2.0-liter four-cylinder, boasting a total of 181-hp routed through a CVT to the front wheels exclusively. On paper, the UX isn’t fast, and that translates to reality. However, you also have to consider that this tiny crossover weighs around 3,300 lb, meaning it’s still fun to drive. This is thanks partly to its TNGA: GA-C architecture, which it shares with the Toyota C-HR and the recently announced Corolla Cross.
Aside from its surprisingly capable chassis, the UX250h is efficient. It consumes an average of 41 mpg in the city and 38 on the highway. This makes the tiny UX ideal for crowded cities and their shocking gas prices. Additionally, the UX provides all of the benefits of a hatchback. Aside from being easy to maneuver, the UX250h is a breeze to park, making it extremely easy to live with.
The only drawback I noticed while during my daily commute in the 2021 Lexus UX250h mainly surrounds its Continuously Variable Transmission. While it is smooth and quiet in most scenarios, it tends to rev the engine relatively high during acceleration, creating additional noise throughout the cabin.
A Well-Built And Colorful Interior
Like with its exterior styling, the 2021 Lexus UX250h borrows heavily from its siblings for its interior. This means you get a digital instrument cluster up front and a wide infotainment screen controlled by Lexus’ infamous trackpad system. After driving Lexus’ latest machines over the last few years, I’ve become accustomed to the trackpad, although there is a noticeable learning curve.
The infotainment screen features Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, and Amazon Alexa compatibility. My tester also had an optional wireless charging pad for your phone and an upgraded premium sound system. Overall, the fit and finish of the UX felt adequate for a vehicle costing over $40,000. However, you can spice it up even further by selecting one of the many excellent available colors, ranging from red, tan, black, or beige.
The 10-way adjustable seats also proved quite comfortable for my daily commute. Add on to that the UX’s smaller 18-inch wheels, and you get a ride that is perfect for the crowded streets of Miami.
Since safety is the name of the game for crossovers, the 2021 UX250h has an abundance of them. This includes a pre-collision system with pedestrian detection, radar cruise control, lane tracing assist, blind-spot monitoring, among others.
Is The 2021 Lexus UX250h worth $43,000?
Thankfully, I spent all of my time with the 2021 Lexus UX250h in its prime environment, a crowded city. As a result, I was mainly exposed to its upsides. As a long-distance road-tripping machine, the UX250h likely wouldn’t be my first pick. However, it’s a strong contender as an efficient tool to navigate crowded streets efficiently and quickly.
While my tester came in at over $43,000, it’s important to note that I had the top Luxury trim with all the bells and whistles. As a result, this tiny crossover’s actual base price is much closer to $35,000. However, if the UX250h is on your shopping list for a luxurious daily driver, you’ll want the extras as they truly improve the UX’s experience.
All in, the 2021 Lexus UX is versatile, fun to drive, and efficient, a recipe that’s hard to beat.