Hybrids & Electrics

Is the Lexus UX 250h Just a Fancy Toyota Corolla Hybrid?

Out of all of the models in Lexus’ current lineup, the UX 250h has to be the most confusing one. In pictures, it looks to be the same size as its NX stablemate and possibly the size of a RAV4, but it’s as big as neither of those. Instead, think of it as a Toyota Corolla hatchback with bulkier fenders and the usual Lexus front and rear bumper treatments. Aside from its “smedium” size, the most interesting part is that it’s a hybrid, only a little sportier. Could it really just be a fancier version of the Toyota Corolla Hybrid?

This is not your typical Lexus UX 250h review

We have actually spent some one-on-one time with the 2020 Lexus UX 250h this past week and after driving it a few hundred miles, there is still some confusion. Don’t get us wrong, it’s a nice car with a well-appointed interior that anyone would come to expect from the Japanese luxury brand as well as a smooth hybrid powertrain under the hood. But we just can’t seem to figure out who would buy such a car, so we’ll get back to that later.

For now, we can say that the Lexus UX 250h does make for an excellent fuel-saving runabout, and if you’re ever in the market for a hybrid car, then it could present a great option. That is, if you don’t mind spending around $40,000 to get one. Price tag aside, it could easily be one of the best hybrid models that Lexus has ever produced.

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2020 Lexus UX 250h F Sport | Lexus

It’s much better than its predecessors

Does anyone remember the Lexus CT 200h, or even worse, the HS 200h? Probably not, but if you do, you can rest assured that the UX is nothing like them. In fact, in its base form, the Lexus UX isn’t a hybrid at all, as the base UX 200 trim level is powered by a 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine that produces 169 horsepower and is paired with a CVT transmission. That setup is good for 29 mpg in the city and 37 on the highway, but if you want to save more fuel, then the UX 250h is the one to go with.

The UX 250h is motivated by a 2.0-liter, four-cylinder engine that is paired up with an electric motor to produce a total of 181 horsepower and 149 lb-ft of torque and achieve up to 41 mpg in the city and 38 on the highway. That’s interesting, considering our test vehicle, which was also outfitted with the F Sport package achieved an average 51 mpg with mixed driving. So, your results can vary.

RELATED: Despite Rave Reviews, Consumers Still Aren’t Sold on the 2020 Lexus UX

2020 Lexus UX 250h F Sport | Lexus

A sporty hybrid?

Speaking of our test model, we were provided with the F Sport trim level which – in addition to all the luxurious Lexus amenities – did well to confuse us even more. The reason being is that the F Sport package includes sporty components like 18-inch F Sport wheels with all-season tires, a sport-tuned suspension, F Sport front and rear bumpers, sport seats, a thicker steering wheel with paddle shifters, and LED fog and corner lamps. We fully appreciated the brighter lights and the sportier nature of the car, but when was the last time anyone wanted a hybrid that could corner well?

After some weekend driving through curvier roads and a dose of highway cruising, the car started to make a little more sense though. It is more fun to drive a slow car fast, so the fact that the car could take corners well (without getting us into trouble) and still return stellar fuel economy numbers was a welcomed realization. The F Sport add-ons made for a grippier affair in every corner we threw the car in and the steering was surprisingly responsive with a decent amount of feedback, despite the thicker amount leather and steering-wheel material. Although, we will note that the larger wheels and short wheelbase of the car did make for a noisier ride and most likely sacrificed some ride comfort as compared to the non-F Sport trim.

RELATED: 2019 Lexus UX: A Close Look at the First Lexus Subcompact SUV

2020 Lexus UX 250h F Sport | Lexus

So who is the Lexus UX 250h for?

When it’s all said and done, we would say that the Lexus UX 250h F Sport is well-suited for someone that needs the fuel efficiency of a hybrid, wants the fun-to-drive nature of a sporty hatchback, but doesn’t want to be seen in a Toyota Corolla. So if money is not an issue and you want something with a luxury badge while getting the fuel efficiency that you need, then the Lexus UX 250h could be a viable option.