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The 2022 Lexus UX is a great compact SUV but it isn’t perfect. In fact, the Lexus UX just misses out on winning the best safety award the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) gives out. Here’s why the new UX model falls just shy of taking home the IIHS Top Safety Pick+ award, and whether it’s still a good SUV.

The back of a 2022 Lexus UX
2022 Lexus UX | Lexus

The 2022 Lexus UX has mostly good safety ratings

The 2022 Lexus UX has all good IIHS crashworthiness scores. It also has superior safety systems, which is the highest rating safety systems can get. However, the Lexus UX has two available headlights with different safety ratings. While many UX trim levels have good headlight ratings, several have poor. These include the 200, 200 Luxury, 250h, 250h Luxury, 200 F Sport, and 250h F Sport trim levels.

To win the coveted Top Safety Pick+ award, a vehicle must have good crash test ratings in all major categories. It also has to have superior or advanced safety systems and acceptable or good headlights standard on all models. Since the UX has trim levels with poor headlights, it can’t win the Top Safety Pick+ award. However, there are many trim levels with good headlights, so if you’re interested in the 2022 Lexus UX, just make sure you buy the right trim. The IIHS website lists all of the headlight ratings for each trim level, as well as other safety scores.

Half of all deadly car accidents happen at night

Half of all fatal crashes occur in the dark, according to the IIHS, and more than a quarter of those crashes happen on unlit roads. As you might imagine, headlights come in handy on unlit roads, unless you have night vision (and you don’t, unless you’re Count Dracula).

Just the fact that a vehicle has headlights doesn’t mean that they’re any good. Headlights have to be bright enough and even point in the right direction to be optimal. Curve-adaptive headlights are fantastic, and help headlights illuminate the path in front of them even around turns and bends in the road. 

To make matters even more complicated, there’s no consistency surrounding the rules about headlights. That means headlights can vary from poor to good (with marginal and adequate in between). Headlight ratings can keep an otherwise safe vehicle from receiving a Top Safety Pick or Top Safety Pick+ award. By avoiding these SUVs with poor headlights – or at least the trim levels – you’ll have a better chance of finding a safer SUV.

How much does the UX cost?

The 2023 Lexus UX price starts at $35,850 and it will only come with a hybrid powertrain. The 2023 UX hybrid powertrain can make 181 hp, which is respectable for a small SUV. It comes with an 8-inch display screen as well as voice assistant. You can also have your Lexus infotainment system updated over the air, meaning you won’t have to bring your SUV to a dealership for many updates that it may have to undergo. The Lexus UX also comes with an eight-speaker sound system.

Overall, the 2022 Lexus UX is a great luxury SUV with very good safety ratings. You just want to make sure you pay attention to which trim level you buy, so that you can get the safest SUV possible.


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