By Ricardo Rodriguez-Long
As parking space becomes a premium in city centers worldwide, luxury car makers see an opportunity by offering a more petite package suited for the urban jungle. These cars also allow people to get into the premium space for much less money than the larger vehicle offerings.
I recently had the opportunity to drive the Lexus UX, a compact SUV that incorporates all the quality materials and technology of the famous LS Sedan and LX SUV models.
The Lexus UX 200 is available in three trims (Base, Luxury, and F-Sport line) and an additional hybrid version, the UX250 h. This SUV, with room for four, distinguished itself from its competitors with very modern and edgy styling. I always applaud companies that let their designers push the envelope a bit. That gives birth to character, visual emotion, and a vehicle with much more presence. Something harder to achieve as the federal and safety regulations determine the virtual box designers get to work with. Additionally, the UX offers a warm ambiance highlighted by the colors and textures you find inside. I believe that the interior quality and feel are key elements when discussing a luxury car, and the UX passes the test without a glitch.
The technology and infotainment integration is what you expect from a high-tech company. Nothing is missing here, including Android Auto and Apple CarPlay compatibility, wi-fi hotspot; and four USB ports. You are connected seamlessly at all times. There is a voice command system as well that lets you keep your hands on the steering wheel. The main interface to all the features is a small pad on the center console, which not everyone likes. The mouse-like (as in a computer) operation with your fingers can be a bit distracting sometimes. At least until you master it. A new interface is due in the next model, and I am sure it will take away the only unfavorable feature I could find with it.
I like the hybrid version best for several reasons. The internal combustion engine coupled with the electric motor has more power and better delivery. It is available with AWD (al-wheel-drive), a considerable safety and vehicle control improvement. This powertrain is one of the most reliable and well-proven in the market. It is also one of the most fuel-efficient cars delivering around 40 mpg.
On the road, this Lexus ride is smooth and quiet. It is not a sports car, but the acceleration is more than adequate for everyday commuting. I found that the power was there when I needed it. Something else that gets my attention is that the overall quality is far above the usual suspects like Jaguar, BMW, Infinity, Audi, and Mercedes Benz. Recent JD Powers studies (the best independent research company) list Lexus products at the top of the dependability index.
The Lexus drive assistance safety system is also one of the best. Thanks to its adaptive cruise control, lane departure mitigation, and forward collision, it minimizes the chances of being involved in an accident. The overall package of the Lexus UX checks all the boxes. With pricing from mid-thirties to forty thousand for a fully loaded luxury package, you get one of the most reliable and comfortable vehicles within its segment. I learned that there are a few improvements to the upcoming 2023 model. Mainly the interface and more on-road safety items. I would not wait, though, since the current model may go on sale and become a luxury bargain purchase if you shop right.
If you need assistance purchasing a new vehicle or have questions about a specific car, I will try my best to get you the correct answer. Email me at Ricardo@labest.com