Rebecca Amos is a mother of two, wife, writer, filmmaker, wanderer and constant renovator.
What is it?
The Lexus UX250h Luxury 2WD is a compact hybrid SUV touted as “an urban crossover with the agility of a hatchback”.
The pricing, which starts from $47,950 before on-roads plus a $1550 option pack on the car we're testing here, suggests a target market of young executives looking for a luxury upgrade from their current car before moving into the family-sized SUV stage of life. There’s probably a second market in families looking for a second car for the household, too.
What's it like to drive?
In a word? Quiet. The hybrid engine means starting the car and taking off are essentially silent, and I love it.
The spindle grille at the front gives the car a rugged, somewhat masculine front and the appearance of a more outdoors-y offering, but its luxury interior reassures you that this is a comfortable and easy to drive inner-city car. The contoured seats and sporty looking steering wheel make for a sporty feel , but it remains easy to manoeuvre using the in-built reverse camera, sensors and park assist.
With fuel consumption at 4.5L/100km, the budgetary and environmental benefits of this hybrid are excellent. I drove around the inner city for a week and the fuel gauge barely moved off ‘full’.
What's it like to live with?
With luxury finishes throughout, the interior of the Lexus UX250h is impressive. Styled with the look and feel of a luxury sports car, including a leather interior and a solid-feeling middle arm rest panel, the car provides a pleasant sense of arrival when you hop in.
For someone who uses their car as a third office – after the actual office and the home office – the wireless phone charger is fantastic. I love the reliability of being able to charge the phone without having to remember the USB cord.
Connectivity is easily achieved through Bluetooth syncing; and the multimedia system is familiar and easy to use. The palm rest media control atop the centre console combines with the touch pad control to provide safer authority over your iTunes playlist, or for switching between the sat nav and entertainment system as you drive.
Also in the front of the cabin are two USB ports, a 10.3-inch display screen, front seat warmers and an efficient heating and cooling system. It's worth noting however that the hands-free power tailgate, aforementioned wireless charger, alloy scuff plates, rear privacy glass, cornering lamps and headlamp washers are all part of the option pack we talked about in the first section.
I really enjoyed the standard sound system though. It has a balanced, ambient sound quality throughout the car, even at a louder “see, mum is still cool” level.
For those looking for a compact SUV for their family, I would suggest there is only one sweet spot where this car could suit – kids that no longer need car seats, but have not yet reached full sized adults (let’s call it 8-13 years old). Whilst car seats do fit snugly into the back seat, head height is a problem. Adults too; I’m 5ft 8in and sat neatly, but if you are any taller than that you could struggle.
Generally speaking, the car feels more suited for two people, rather than four, for everyday use. On the upside, the rear seats are very comfortable and the inclusion of two USB ports in the back is a helpful addition.
The boot was sufficient in size, with enough space for bags and grocery shopping, but the elevated boot height (to house the spare tyre underneath) might be a challenge for some as it's quite some distance off the ground.
Is it worth the money?
Whilst this car is not going to be everything for everybody (nor does it purport to be), for those in the market for a compact SUV with some luxury upgrades and a brand name to impress, there is a lot to like about the Lexus UX250h.
Pros: Fuel efficiency, ease of use, luxury interior finish, multimedia system
Cons: Better suited for two people or small families that don’t require an abundance of space
Rating: 4/5 stars