What it is: The Lexus UX is a brand-new model from luxury car-maker Lexus which went on sale for the first time earlier this year. The UX slots beneath the NX and much further below in size to the RX in the Lexus lineup. When choosing a UX, you are effectively choosing between two engines, a 2.0-liter four-cylinder that generates 169 horsepower (UX 200) or a 2.0-liter hybrid four-cylinder (UX 250h) that generates 181 horsepower. The hybrid engine is an extra $2,000 and bumps your MPG from 29 city to 43 city and from 37 highway to 41 highway. That’s quite a large jump for only $2,000.

The trim levels available are identical between the UX 200 and UX 250h. Both offer the sportily styled F SPORT trim for an extra $2,000 or the luxury trim for an extra $5,200 over base price. My test model was the UX 200 F SPORT, which was quite the looker. The $2,000 package includes 18-inch wheels, more aggressive bumpers, sport seats, paddle shifters, and an 8-inch dash display. If you like the more aggressive look, it’s easy money to spend.

My car also had several options: $595 for the premium Ultrasonic Blue Mica paint, $500 for blind-spot monitoring, $75 for a Qi wireless charger, $500 Head Up Display, $2,200 for the navigation system with 10.3-inch infotainment screen and eight-speaker premium audio group, $565 for parking assist, $600 for power hatch with kick sensor, $975 for F SPORT Premium package adding moonroof and heated front seats, and finally $150 for a heated steering wheel. All options were worth the money, although I wish that Lexus would include the safety features as standard. The total MSRP hits at $41,185, which is a great value if you are OK with a more compact crossover.

The UX 200 handles extremely well and while it isn’t quick in acceleration, it is extremely nimble. I also think most people would be surprised with how roomy it is on the inside. It’s not a large vehicle, but that’s kind of the point.

One point of concern I heard was that the wheel flares aren’t painted to match the car. I get it, and evidently it is something that Lexus is looking at potentially changing, but it does give the UX a slightly more rugged appearance. It doesn’t particularly bother me, but I get it.

Price: $32,000 base price. $40,160 as-tested. $41,185 with delivery.

Mileage: 33 combined/29 city/37 highway

Upsides: Lots of tech and luxury in a small package. Only $2,000 to add hybrid engine. Options available without having to buy a package.

Downsides: Some safety features are extra.

Wrap-up: Lexus knows that UX buyers are price sensitive, so it’s great to see that you can piece-meal your perfect UX with individual options and not one or two single packages that might cost $5,000 or more. The heated steering wheel is nice a few days a year, but probably not worth $150 to most Houston buyers. If you are dead set on a luxury-badged compact crossover, then the UX is a great option. It has an affordable starting MSRP and it’s plenty of car for most drivers. I know this is hard to believe, but having a third row in your SUV might not be required to live your best life.

Wilson Calvert
Author: Wilson CalvertEmail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Columnist / Director of Operations
I am a long-time Houstonian and am obsessed with cars, soccer, traveling, bourbon and airplanes. I write a regular car review column for The Tribune and travel articles a few times per year.