2019 Lexus UX 200 Luxury – Can a small SUV really be a luxury vehicle?

Not only did Lexus invite me to WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca for the IMSA race they provided me a ride for a week, a ’19 UX 200.

If you’re at all like me all these alpha-numeric vehicle models confuse you. Evidently the X denotes a SUV but what the U stands for I have no idea. I believe the ‘200’ denotes the engine size, 2.0-liters. So you can figure out the engine size of most Lexus models by the numeric part of the name; hybrids get an ‘h’ tacked on.

Of all the Lexus SUVs the UX 200 is the smallest and least expensive. The UX has a total length of 177” on a wheelbase of 103.9”.  According to Lexus, and like almost every vehicle, the seating capacity is 5 but with only 52.9” of shoulder room in the back seat five adults might find it tight. According to Lexus there is a total of 21.7 cubic feet of storage.

I found the interior to be very nicely appointed and all the controls were reasonably easy to use with the exception of the Lexus touch pad. My fingertips don’t always work on touch pads. At times they didn’t work on this one while at other times I found the touch pad to be too sensitive and I’d click on something I didn’t want.

Another control that seemed weird to me was the sound system controls. Instead of being on the dash somewhere near the screen they were part of the center armrest. The volume control was easy to use and I think with time they would become second nature but it seemed to be an odd spot to put them.

The 2.0-liter four-cylinder has a fairly high compression ratio 13.0:1 yet thanks to modern electronics it only requires regular fuel. The 169-hp and 151 lb-ft of torque can move the 3,307 lb. UX from 0-60 mph in 8.9 seconds. The transmission is a CVT but with built in steps to mimic gear changes. For the first little while I wasn’t sure if it was a CVT or not.

There are three modes to the transmission – Normal, Sport, and Econ. Econ was the default mode. I drove to Monterey in Econ and back home in Sport – the fuel mileage averaged a tad of 34 mpg in both modes. And I didn’t dawdle (75-80 mph on the highway). The EPA test saw 37 mpg on the highway and 29 mpg around town.

One of the problems I have with some Lexus models is that they are built on Toyota platforms. The UX is very similar to the Toyota C-HR yet in this case, price not considered, I prefer the UX 200. I think it looks better. It has more power and it gets better fuel economy. Price is a consideration of course. The UX starts at $32,150, while the CH-R starts at $21,145. That is a big difference and only you can decide which one suits you. I like my creature comforts so I’d go with the UX, maybe the F Sport version. In Ultra Sonic Blue Mica 2.0. Definitely not the Nori Green Pearl like the test car.

The test UX 200 was a Luxury model that had a total price of $39,515.


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