Video: Is The 2021 Lexus UX 250h the Gateway Car into the World of Japanese Luxury? I Find Out!

Then little 2021 Lexus UX 250h is a huge compromise – but it might be right for you.

Like many other Lexus products, the 2021 Lexus UX is based on a Toyota vehicle. In this case, it’s based on the Toyota C-HR platform. The flexible TNGA-C platform also underpins modern Corollas and Prius models. Platform sharing isn’t a bad thing, especially for other Lexus products. As you’d expect for a price point north of $30,000, the 2021 Lexus UX 250h is superior to its Toyota C-HR in almost every way.

Sporting a remarkably efficient powertrain, the 2021 Lexus UX gets a combined 39 mpg. It also benefits from Toyota/Lexus’ hybrid all-wheel drive (AWD) system. This setup adds an electric motor to power the rear wheels when additional traction is needed.

Images: Lexus

The internal and exterior design looks fantastic. No one will mistake it for anything other than a Lexus, despite its tiny dimensions. I think it has the nicest looking front-end design among all of the Lexus crossovers. It’s slick from every angle, and the rear is very aggressive looking. Internally, the front seat comfort, steering wheel and material quality are outstanding.

If you’re driving one person around, they will find the space inviting, sophisticated and fairly luxurious.

2021 Lexus UX 250h compromise(s)?

Four things go against the tiny 2021 Lexus UX 250h: powertrain, space, ergonomics and noise. The base-model UX 250h starts at $31,100 – which is pretty reasonable for a Lexus hybrid. Unfortunately, the 181 (combined) horsepower engine mixed with electric motors isn’t exactly powerful. Despite its sporty looks, it’s a bit poky with acceleration – especially off the line.

Lexus states that the Lexus UX 250h can run 0 to 60 mph in 8.6-seconds. Up at high elevation, it’s closer to 10 seconds – which is pretty slow.

That 2.0-liter engine is loud too. It buzzes often, with a unhappy engine drone that can be irritating. The reason it runs on and off all the time is to charge the batteries AND add power. It is a Lexus, but it’s one that allows too much engine and road noise inside the cabin.

Ergonomics are hit-and-miss. This is a tight space and some of the controls are located in compromising locations. Audio and screen controls are counterintuitive in function and location. After a few hours, many of the controls make a little more sense, but they are still a pain. On top of all that, there is a sever lack of storage throughout the UX 250h.

Backseat space is dreadful. If you are short in stature, and pull your driver’s seat far forward, you might be able to sit a few small adults in the back – maybe. In reality, the back seat is either for babies, luggage or small pets. If you drop the rear seats, maximum cargo space is about 22-cubic feet. It’s not a ton, and (for perspective) the four-door Mini Cooper has a maximum of over 40-cubic feet of cargo space.

It’s a fine statement – as long as you refrain from hauling passengers

For the most part, I enjoyed driving the little Lexus. Sure, it’s kind of slow, but it handles well. Add to that a smooth ride and outstanding sound system (higher trims) – you have a pleasant commuter. My cousin, who just passed her Bar-exam, I think this would be an ideal car for her; until marriage/children.