This Affordable 2023 Lexus SUV Comes Only as a Hybrid Model

SUVs have become more carlike in recent years, which is not surprising since many share platforms with regular cars. The Honda CR-V shares its platform with the Honda Civic. Likewise, the Toyota Highlander shares much of its architecture with the Toyota Camry. As for the Lexus UX, it’s based on the Toyota Prius. But the 2023 Lexus UX looks like a completely different vehicle than the Prius. It also further blurs the lines between cars, crossovers, and SUVs. Its styling is all Lexus, but is it closer to a car or an SUV?

Is the 2023 Lexus UX a hybrid? 

A white 2023 Lexus UXh in a white room, an affordable luxury hybrid SUV.
2023 Lexus UXh | Toyota Motor Sales

For 2023 the Lexus UX drops the non-hybrid drivetrain, making the hybrid powertrain the only option. Other changes include a front-wheel drive option and a revised suspension to improve ride and handling. Buyers looking for sharper reflexes can opt for the F Sport Handling package, which includes adaptive dampers. 

Inside the Lexus UX gets an updated infotainment system with integrated voice assistant, over-the-air update capabilities, and Apple CarPlay and Android Auto interfaces. The 8.0-inch touchscreen is standard, with a larger 12.3-inch touchscreen available as an option. The new infotainment system is intuitive, easy to use, and thankfully banishes the awkward touchpad controller. 

Is the 2023 Lexus UX an SUV? 

Lexus lists the UX as a luxury crossover on its website, although its profile looks like a tall wagon. The interior is snug and lacks the room of competitors like the BMW X1 and Mercedes-Benz GLB. However, the UX comes almost fully loaded with standard equipment, including many technology and safety features that are options on other vehicles.     

2023 Lexus UX performance 

The Lexus UX uses the 2.0-liter four-cylinder from the Prius. Combined with the hybrid powertrain, it makes 181 hp and is available in either front-wheel or all-wheel drive configurations. The CVT automatic is the only transmission, and while it helps the UX get reasonable fuel economy, it feels a bit sluggish until it gets up to speed. 

In a recent review, Car & Driver reported the following specs for the Lexus UX:

Dimensions: 

  • Wheelbase: 103.9 in
  • Length: 177.0 in
  • Width: 72.4 in
  • Height: 59.8 in

Engine/Drivetrain Specs: 

  • 2.0-liter inline-4 with a permanent-magnet AC motor
  • Horsepower: 181 hp
  • Torque: 133 lb-ft
  • Transmission: CVT Automatic 

Performance Specs: 

  • 60 mph: 8.6 sec
  • 1/4-Mile: 16.6 sec at 86 mph
  • Top Speed: 112 mph
  • Fuel Economy: 41/38 mpg

Is it worth buying? 

In its review, Car & Driver sums up the Lexus UX as “a small luxury SUV that looks and drives like a small, unexciting hatchback car and delivers small-car mileage thanks to its hybrid powertrain.” Car & Driver also recommends the F Sport Handling package for its sportier suspension, supportive front seats, and the F Performance gauge cluster. 

Kelly Blue Book was more positive about the Lexus UX’s attributes, saying the SUV “is a compact premium crossover SUV that delivers excellent fuel economy and a relatively low price point into Lexus ownership. Its small size and agile steering make it a smart choice for city dwellers.” Kelly Blue Book also recommends the F Sport Handling package and opting for the larger 12.3-inch touchscreen. 

The Lexus UX is worth buying for buyers looking for a small premium SUV that provides good fuel economy and doesn’t scrimp on luxury and technology features. Its $35,925 base price is reasonable for what you get. However, if you opt for the F Sport Handling package, be prepared to spend over $43,000. You can get either the Lexus NX or NX Hybrid at that price point, which gives you noticeably more room and better performance in a slightly larger vehicle than the UX. 

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