Luxury crossovers are popular vehicles for individuals and families who want practicality and style at a relatively reasonable price. Once prospective buyers know they want a luxury crossover, deciding which one to choose can feel overwhelming. Popular websites such as U.S. News regularly release lists to help make these decisions a bit less daunting, but that means some vehicles find themselves all the way at the bottom.
And in 2021, two Lexus vehicles occupy the bottom slots: the 2021 Lexus NX Hybrid and Lexus UX.
The two Lexus SUVs at the bottom of U.S. News’ list
U.S. News recently released a list of 53 crossover SUVs for 2021. The publication based its rankings on numerous merits and factors to give consumers an idea of which models are best. The ranked part of the list ends at 35 until U.S. News can test and review the remaining SUVs.
High-ranking models like the Mercedes-Benz GLE-Class and Audi Q3 consistently earn praise for their luxurious feel, excellent handling, and superior reliability. So you might think high rankings on this list would coincide with astronomical MSRPs. However, many highly ranked vehicles are also some of the most affordable, at least when it comes to their base price.
And if you’re a Lexus fan, you might be surprised to find the popular UX and NX Hybrid tied for 35th place, dead last in the rankings.
An overview of the 2021 Lexus NX Hybrid
The 2021 Lexus NX Hybrid has a lot going for it. This luxury compact crossover boasts a smooth ride, decent gas mileage (30 mpg on the highway), and a predicted reliability rating higher than most. The 2021 model also comes equipped with more advanced safety features than previous models, including blind-spot monitoring and rear cross-traffic alerts. But unfortunately for the Lexus NX Hybrid, these positives weren’t enough to outweigh its many minor drawbacks.
For a crossover, the 2021 Lexus NX Hybrid doesn’t provide as much storage space as you might expect. The vehicle also doesn’t feel graceful while accelerating. U.S. News reviewers note this model feels sluggish while accelerating on the highway, making passing other vehicles more difficult than it should be. Also, some critics mentioned the inconvenient infotainment system. The 2021 Lexus NX Hybrid doesn’t have a touchscreen to control infotainment features; instead, drivers must use an awkward Remote Touch interface. This can be highly distracting, potentially leading to inattentive driving.
Overall, though, the 2021 Lexus NX Hybrid is a solid vehicle. But others offer more for a better price.
Breaking down the 2021 Lexus UX
Like the NX Hybrid, the 2021 Lexus UX also has no glaring flaws that make it a bad vehicle. This crossover actually has many of the NX Hybrid’s benefits and drawbacks, making it another mediocre choice.
The UX also has polished handling and a fantastic reliability rating. Its gas mileage is particularly impressive — up to 41 mpg on the highway. The 2021 model also got more standard advanced safety features like the Lexus NX Hybrid. As for drawbacks, wonky acceleration, a distracting infotainment interface, and disappointing storage space also haunt the UX.
The 2021 Lexus UX costs less than the 2021 Lexus NX Hybrid, but that smaller price tag also comes with a more cramped back seat and less punchy acceleration.
The bottom line
These 2021 Lexus SUVs’ low rankings don’t mean there’s anything inherently awful about either model. Both still scored a solid 7.3 from U.S. News, but that wasn’t enough to rank among the likes of the Audi Q3 and BMW X3.