Road trips can be a lot of fun when you take the right car. Technically speaking, a minivan is arguably the best platform as they afford the passengers a lot of space, the driver a lot of comforts, and they’re relatively fuel-efficient. But what if you can’t take a minivan?
In that case, the next best category, in my opinion, would be a hybrid car. Hybrids are built for efficiency and they are typically pretty comfortable. At least that’s what I found out when I drove the 2021 Lexus UX 250h on a short weekend jaunt to Nebraska.
The Lexus UX 250h is well-fitted for the long haul
If you’re unfamiliar with the Lexus UX 250h, it’s the brand’s entry-level SUV that’s actually more of a hatchback than an SUV. I say that because it’s small, but that didn’t stop it from suiting my needs for the long drive. According to Lexus, the cargo area measures 21.7 cubic feet, which was more than enough room for two carry-on suitcases, a duffle bag, and two scooters.
Additionally, the UX 250h is powered by a 2.0-liter, four-cylinder engine that’s mated to a pair of electric motors. Combined, the powertrain produces 181 hp and what’s even better is that it comes standard with all-wheel drive. One of those electric motors power the rear wheels, which can come in handy if you live in a snow state or want to drive on the dusty back roads in Nebraska like me.
The UX 250h is more comfortable than you would think
Despite the UX 250h’s small size, it was surprisingly comfortable. My girlfriend and I had plenty of room in the front seats and we enjoyed the seat ventilation and auto climate control the top-trim Luxury model had to offer. It even has a head-up display, which gave me something to stare at from time to time while driving on Nebraska’s desolate and wide-open roads.
To top things off, the car comes standard with an array of driver-assist features. I was able to set the dynamic cruise control to my desired speed and it modulated the distance between me and the car ahead very well, slowing my car down and speeding up when needed. I also liked the lane-trace assist feature, which uses the car’s front camera to keep you within the lines.
This feature gives you a semi-autonomous feel to the car since you don’t have to worry about drifting out of the lane. But I found that it did ping-pong the car within the lane from time to time, almost as if the car was drunk. Maybe the Nebraska air had an effect on it.
Its fuel efficiency was on point
Of course, I can’t talk about taking a car on a road trip without talking about its real-world fuel economy numbers. According to the EPA, the 2021 UX 250h is capable of achieving 41 mpg in the city and 38 mpg on the highway. I found that those numbers are pretty accurate at I recorded an average of 38 mpg with mostly highway driving.
The car’s Achilles heel, though, is its small 10-gallon gas tank. I found myself only have to fill up around seven gallons at a time, which was great for my wallet, but not so great considering I only achieved around 300 miles between fill-ups. In contrast, many Toyota Prius owners report getting around 500 to 600 miles on a full tank of gas.
Regardless, the 2021 Lexus UX 250h is a comfortable and efficient car that’s well-suited for a long road trip. It might not be a minivan, but it serves its purpose well as an entry-level luxury hybrid.