Lexus has solely simply begun tiptoeing into totally electrical autos, but it surely’s been the king of gasoline-electric hybrids amongst premium manufacturers because it launched the RX hybrid in 2005. Father or mother firm Toyota’s hybrid tech has helped the luxurious automaker create a portfolio of fuel-sipping crossovers as consumers have gravitated away from sedans, and now the 2023 Lexus UX will grow to be its first hybrid-only SUV.
Premium consumers are clamoring for extra EVs, however past the upcoming RZ450e, a wider array of Lexus electrics continues to be a few years off. Within the meantime, an expanded array of hybrids is there to fulfill. Final fall noticed the debut of an all-new NX with hybrid and plug-in hybrid (PHEV) choices, and the new-for-2023 RX boasts an analogous expanded vary. Now it’s the UX’s flip.
The previous UX, the model’s smallest crossover, will now be known as the UXh, and can for the primary time be obtainable both with front- or AWD. The automaker can also be including enhancements to the F Sport variations—going past cosmetics to permit the UXh to drive, not simply look, the a part of a sporty grocery getter.
The 2022 AWD 250h hybrid UX returns 41 mpg metropolis and 38 freeway, numbers that are second solely to the Kia Niro amongst the entire non-EV SUVs available on the market. Lexus officers say they anticipate the front-wheel drive 2023 UXh to do a bit higher than that. Name it a half step towards electrification. And it’s not a foul one, as the prevailing UX hybrid was by far essentially the most fascinating mannequin within the lineup.
Sportier Wanting, and Truly Sportier Feeling
Arguably the way in which to get your UXh is with on the very least the F Sport Design package deal. That’s as a result of, along with darkish wheels and blacked-out wheel arches and roof rails, Lexus has additionally blacked out the roof of each F Sport variations of the UXh, and the automotive appears to be like somewhat slicker in two-tone guise.
Whether or not or not you just like the creased metallic of Lexus’s present design ethos in addition to the hourglass grille may be very a lot a polarizing query, however the UXh does look speedier in F Sport livery.
The inside dimensions stay unchanged, so that they’re a bit tight within the second row, however drivers are going to understand the addition of what Lexus calls its Interface multimedia higher-resolution touchscreen show. Gone is the irritating touchpad of outdated, because the carmaker has revised the cockpit to suit customary 8.0-inch or non-obligatory 12.3-inch contact shows, each of which get sharper decision and anti-glare know-how. The revised heart console additionally options extra room for wirelessly charging a telephone and two further USB ports.
Though it’s not a visible characteristic, you’ll be able to see that good audio system are influencing Lexus, for the reason that UX will get its personal “assistant” voice tech, so you’ll be able to say one thing like “Hey Lexus” to persuade the UX’s Lexus Interface Assistant to ask for recommendation on navigation, to vary the radio station or lower cabin temperature.
F Sport Dealing with Bundle
Whereas the title of the hybrid has modified from UX 250h to UXh, Lexus is soldiering ahead with the identical 169-horsepower 2.0-liter inline-four and electrical motor for a mixed (and modest) 181 horsepower. However they’ve made updates to the chassis of all UXh fashions, including 20 welds in 5 key areas of the physique: on the strut mounts, on the bulkhead, behind the rear seats, and the place the rear struts meet up within the hatch.
Lexus says the goal was including structural rigidity, and that additional enabled higher steering response from the UXh, but in addition, with a stiffer chassis, allowed engineers to create the F Sport Dealing with package deal, which provides a number of driving modes and variable dampers to tighten physique function.
As a result of Lexus additionally wished to ship a extra refined journey, spokespeople say that Lexus Adaptive Variable Suspension smooths the highway in all circumstances, taking the sharpness out of small and huge dips and divots. The UX has at all times been nearer to a tall hatchback than an SUV, so imbuing it with a luxurious journey is a transparent precedence.
F Sport Dealing with variations additionally get some bling to go together with the elevated operate. You’ll spy an aluminum driver’s footrest and scuff plate, F Sport-exclusive seats, steering wheel, shift knob, gauges and aluminum pedals. Purchase F Sport Dealing with and the cabin additionally grows a bit sharper, with sportier entrance seats which have reminiscence operate in addition to heating and air flow.
Lexus is aware of that security sells. So the following UX will get what the carmaker calls Lexus Security System+ 2.5 to maintain you out of hurt’s means. The automaker touts a mixture of radar and entrance digital camera recalibrations now higher capable of detect hazards forward, together with pedestrians and cyclists within the path of your UX in additional mild circumstances in addition to hazards posed by different automobiles that may flip towards you, or that you could be not see when you’re engaged in turning.
Lexus says that the system that retains the UX in its lane throughout freeway driving now makes use of synthetic intelligence to assist the automotive wander much less throughout the lane traces, and in addition takes enter from steering round a curve to extra naturally scale back pace to what the UXh can deal with and pace up after the highway unwinds forward.
Security System+ 2.5 additionally boosts steering mojo if it senses that you simply’re engaged in an emergency maneuver. Fortunately, all this gear is customary, in contrast to on the BMW X1 or Mercedes-Benz GLA, the place the nicest techniques (highway departure mitigation, adaptive cruise management) price additional.
The 2023 Lexus UXh goes on sale towards the tip of summer season. Firm officers have but to launch pricing however did say to not anticipate a considerable improve over the present worth of the 250h hybrid of $35,750, although, naturally, each F Sport fashions and the AWD variations will price greater than the bottom front-wheel drive UXh.