There’s been a tidal wave of latest crossovers SUVs of all shapes, sizes and worth factors hitting the market, as a result of customers proceed to show to them in droves over common passenger automobiles. Particularly, smaller, extra budget-friendly entries sporting luxurious automakers’ badges are red-hot, with fashions such because the Audi Q3, BMW X1, Mercedes-Benz GLA-Class and Volvo XC40 battling it out. The latest to hitch the fray is the 2019 Lexus UX 200.

Slotting in under the NX, the UX turns into the brand new gateway mannequin within the Lexus SUV vary. Like its bigger siblings, the UX presents an attention-grabbing design, comfy cabin and beneficiant characteristic menu. All of that units it up properly to overcome the city jungle.

Spindle standout

Whereas Lexus’ daring design language could flip some off with its louder look, on the UX, I believe it really works, making it a welcome sight subsequent to the comparatively sterile German competitors. Lexus’ now-trademark aggressive spindle grille dominates the entrance finish, with plastic cladding dressing the edges including some toughness. By far one of the best visible aspect is out again, with three-dimensional mild housings linked by a full-width LED strip that is undeniably slick at evening.

Inside, there is a modern dashboard, with my UX Luxurious tester gaining a stitched, Washi panel including extra distinction to associate with brushed grey trim. Construct high quality is outstanding for the category, utilizing properly completed, soft-touch surfaces on all main touchpoints together with the big swaths on the entrance door panels. The one main cost-cutting measures obvious are the rear door panels, that are shaped principally of arduous plastic.

Lodging up entrance are roomy and comfy, with my tester that includes properly bolstered, heated and cooled bucket seats. There’s sufficient head- and legroom within the second row for a few adults, however going three vast throughout positively will get cozy and is finest just for quick durations. Cargo carrying area is not shabby, both, with 21.7 cubic toes of area behind the rear seats, which is a bit shocking given the UX’s excessive load flooring and sloping liftgate.

Construct high quality is outstanding within the UX with good supplies and fancy finishes.

Jon Wong/Roadshow

Beneficiant tech arsenal

Sadly, the infotainment consumer expertise within the UX is a disappointment, due to the Distant Contact Interface. The touchpad-like controller mounted between the seats controls every little thing on the big 10.Three-inch middle show (which is not a touchscreen), which means there is not any approach across the pad or steering wheel controls. Fortunately, there are hard-button shortcuts to get to mostly used menus, together with finger-wheel controls on the middle console to regulate quantity and audio tuning. Total infotainment operation, nonetheless, stays distracting, widespread capabilities like getting into locations into the navigation might be each time consuming and really irritating.

The UX’s eight-speaker audio setup is not something to jot down residence about, however a Wi-Fi hotspot for as much as 5 gadgets, Amazon Alexa capabilities and the choice at hand over infotainment controls to Apple CarPlay are good customary options. Sadly, Lexus nonetheless would not supply Android Auto integration.

When operating round city all day, there is not any motive for any sensible gadget to go lifeless within the UX. There’re two 2.1-amp USB ports, a 12-volt outlet and an out there wi-fi charging pad inside straightforward attain of entrance passengers. There’s additionally one other two USB ports on the again of the middle console for anybody driving within the rear.

Shortcut buttons are good, however Distant Contact remains to be irritating to make use of.

Jon Wong/Roadshow

Security options customary on each UX embody ahead collision warning with computerized emergency braking, adaptive cruise management with lane tracing help, lane-departure warning with lane-keep help and highway signal help. The latter is one thing I am a giant fan of, all the time delivering a handy speed-limit reminder. Greater-trim fashions additionally come customary with blind-spot monitoring to assist make up for hampered over-the-shoulder visibility attributable to the fashionable however thicker C-pillars.

A lackluster driver

Sadly, when you’re in a rush to get anyplace, the UX might be a downer owing to its 2.Zero-liter naturally aspirated four-cylinder and repeatedly variable transmission. 169 horsepower and 151 pound-feet of torque would not scream efficiency, with the drivetrain making a variety of noise and never a lot velocity it is time to hammer the throttle for expressway merging or a two-lane highway cross. Even in Sport mode, acceleration is leisurely and the truth that the competitors packs turbo fours with extra giddy-up makes this Lexus an even bigger letdown.

To its credit score, idling round city is not horrible. The UX is not painfully gradual to succeed in floor road velocity limits and the CVT is programmed to simulate 10 gears, enabling it behave largely like a traditional torque-converter-equipped gearbox. Gasoline financial system additionally is not too shabby, with EPA estimates of 29 miles per gallon metropolis and 37 mpg freeway.

A punchier drivetrain could be welcome, however the UX is a decent handler.

Jon Wong/Roadshow

Toss the UX round and you will uncover weighty and responsive steering, managed physique roll by means of corners and serviceable grip from the 18-inch 255/50 Bridgestone Turanza EL450 all-season run-flat tires. Make no mistake, the UX is way from a sporty trip, but it surely’s competent whenever you push it a bit, and it boasts glorious highway manners. The cabin is quiet rolling down the highway, and suspension simply takes the sting off of small to medium bumps — sure, even on run-flat rubber. Merely put, the UX is a pleasant all-around handler.

How I would spec it

My UX would start as an F Sport mannequin for Lexus’ barely extra aggressive exterior touches, supportive sport seats and a tighter suspension tuning to make issues extra entertaining by means of bends. That begins at $35,025, together with $1,025 for vacation spot. Make mine completed with an Extremely Sonic Blue Mica 2.Zero paint job for $595 and a Circuit Crimson inside shade scheme.

From there, I will tack on the $500 blind-spot monitoring system and $75 wi-fi charging pad. The $150 F Sport heated steering wheel can also be a should in cold-weather climes just like the Midwest, however to get that, a $975 Premium Bundle together with a moonroof and rain-sensing wipers, plus a $325 auto-dimming rearview mirror with Homelink are additionally required. All of that brings the value tag of my supreme UX to $37,645, barely undercutting the $38,300 UX 200 Premium pictured right here.

Make my UX a tighter dealing with F Sport mannequin.

Jon Wong/Roadshow

A compelling metropolis ute

The 2019 Lexus UX 200 has fairly a bit going for it. It is sharply styled, boasts spectacular cabin high quality, and it presents an awesome mixture of dealing with and trip consolation. The 2 main issues stacked towards this new Lexus is that it is down on energy in comparison with rivals, and it sports activities a certifiably maddening infotainment interface. If you will get previous these flaws and are searching for an city commuting machine, the UX begins at $33,025, beginning a bit under the aforementioned Q3, X1, GLA and XC40.

What would I do? As a lot as I just like the UX’s seems and inside, its weaker engine, CVT and infotainment are deal-killers for me.

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