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Quick Drive: 2020 Lexus NX 300h & UX 250h

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  • The NX 300h does stand out in the crowd from other compact crossovers with a chiseled look: Deep creases along the side, angular headlights, and the distinct spindle grille. My tester came finished in an orange color which helps amplify various design traits.
  • The NX is also spacious for a compact luxury crossover. There is plenty of legroom for both front and rear-seat passengers. Rear headroom is at a premium for tall passengers, especially when ordering the optional panoramic sunroof.
  • Where the NX falls flat is in ergonomics. For example, if you want to turn on the heated steering wheel, you need to press a button on a small control panel that is positioned towards your left knee. This is also where you find the switch to turn on the auto high beams and other settings. Who thought this was a good idea?!
  • Then there is Lexus Remote Touch - a small touchpad that provides input for the 10.3-inch infotainment system. One wrong swipe or press on the touchpad means you’ll end up on a different screen or changing a different setting. It also makes using Apple CarPlay or Android Auto very unintuitive.
  • The NX 300h’s power comes from a 2.5L Atkinson-Cycle gas engine paired with an electric motor. Output is rated at 194 horsepower. The 300h is only available as an all-wheel drive model.
  • If most of your driving is around town, the NX Hybrid will impress. The electric motor helps add some pep to the acceleration and makes it a pleasure to drive. Where the powertrain falters is on the highway. It takes a noticeable amount of time to get up to speed and passes need to be planned out.
  • Fuel economy figures for the NX 300h aren’t too shabby for the class. EPA figures are 33 City/31 Highway/30 Combined. My average for the week landed at 31.2 mpg.
  • Handling is a bit of a surprise as the NX 300h feels confident around a winding road with minimal body roll. Ride quality is excellent with bumps of all sizes soaked up.
  • Lexus still hasn’t ironed out the transition from regenerative braking to four-wheel disc braking, making it difficult to modulate the brakes.
  • I feel mixed on the NX 300h. On one hand, the hybrid powertrain does give it a slight advantage over most of its competitors in terms of fuel economy. It can also be a nice place to sit in. But in other areas, the NX 300h does lag behind competitors - primarily in terms of ergonomics, infotainment, and performance if you’re doing a large amount of highway driving.
  • The biggest issue is the price. My tester stickers at $50,905 which puts you in the realm of the RX.
  • Unless you can score a decent deal on an NX 300h, wait for the next-generation model due out later this year. 

2020 Lexus UX 250h 4.jpg

UX 250h

  • The only differences between this 250h and 200 F-Sport I drove last year in terms of looks are no sporty touches (mesh grille and side skirts), and new wheels. I liked the F-Sport, but the standard UX takes the cake when finished in this Nori Green color.
  • The interior comes well furnished with leather upholstery, soft-touch materials, dual-zone climate control, and power adjustments for the seat.
  • Front seat passengers will not have any issues finding a position that works, but they may be surprised with the low seating position. Those sitting in the back will like the amount of headroom on offer, but legroom can vary depending on where the front seats are set.
  • Compared to standard UX and its small cargo area, the UX 250h’s space is even smaller. It measures 17.1 cubic feet, about 4.6 cubic feet smaller than the UX 200. This decrease in space is due to the battery pack which sits underneath the cargo floor.
  • Infotainment duties are provided by Lexus Enform with Remote Touch. On the plus side, Lexus has finally added Android Auto compatibility, alongside Apple CarPlay. On the negative side is the Remote Touch touchpad which is imprecise and difficult to make fine selections. I can only hope that a new touchscreen system is around the corner.
  • Under the NX 250h’s hood is Lexus Hybrid Synergy Drive which comprises of a 2.0L Atkinson-Cycle gas engine and electric motor to produce a total output of 181 horsepower. Unlike other UXs, the 250h comes standard with all-wheel drive via an electric motor on the second axle.
  • Performance characteristics are similar to the NX 300h; does very decently around town with the added thrust of the two electric motors, but falters in terms of highway driving and passing.
  • Fuel economy is pretty impressive for this vehicle - 41 City/38 Highway/39 Combined on the EPA cycle. My average for the week landed around just over 39.
  • Handling is pretty impressive with little body roll and steering having some nice heft when turning. The suspension tries its best to smooth over bumps, but the standard run-flat tires do mean some will make their way inside.
  • The UX 250h is an intriguing option in the subcompact luxury crossover class. The fuel economy figures and handling characteristics help it stand apart from other models. But the small cargo area and infotainment system are major negatives. 

Disclaimer: Lexus Provided the crossovers, Insurance, and One Tank of Gas

Year: 2020
Make: Lexus
Model: NX
Trim: 300h
Engine: 2.5L DOHC 16-valve Dual VVT-i Four-Cylinder, Electric Motors on Front and Rear Axles
Driveline: CVT, All-Wheel Drive
Horsepower @ RPM: 154 @ 5,700 (gas engine); 141 (electric motor on front axle); 67 (electric motor on rear axle); 194 (combined)
Torque @ RPM: 152 @ 4,400
Fuel Economy: City/Highway/Combined - 33/30/31
Curb Weight: 4,180 lbs
Location of Manufacture: Tahara, Aichi, Japan
Base Price: $39,070
As Tested Price: $50,555.00 (Includes $1,025.00 Destination Charge)

Premium Package - $3,270.00
Navigation/Mark Levinson 14-Speaker System - $2,920.00
Triple-Beam LED Headlights - $1,515.00
Panoramic Back-up View Monitor - $800.00
Premium Paint - $595.00
Power Back Door with Kick Sensor - $550.00
Intuitive Park Assist with Auto Braking - $535.00
Leather Heated Steering Wheel - $150.00
Auto-Dimming Rear View Mirror - $125.00

Year: 2020
Make: Lexus
Model: UX
Trim: 250h
Engine: 2.0L 16-Valve DOHC, VVT-i Four-Cylinder, Electric Motors on Front and Rear Axles
Driveline: CVT, All-Wheel Drive
Horsepower @ RPM: 181 (combined)
Torque @ RPM: N/A
Fuel Economy: City/Highway/Combined - 41/38/39
Curb Weight: 3,605 lbs
Location of Manufacture: Miyawaka, Fukuoka, Japan
Base Price: $39,550
As Tested Price: $43,625 (Includes $1,025.00 Destination Charge)

Triple-Beam LED Headlights with Auto-Leveling - $1,660.00
Parking Assist, with Rear Cross-Traffic Alert - $565.00
Head-Up Display - $500.00
Heated Steering Wheel - $150.00
Windshield Deicer - $100.00
Wireless Charger - $75.00

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13 minutes ago, riviera74 said:

By that definition, is the UX a rebadge of the Toyota CH-R as a hybrid?

Agree, it would seem to me that the NX is a rebadge of the Rav4 Hybrid and the UX is a rebadge of the CH-R Hybrid.

@William Maley Can you do a compare and contrast of if other than the badge and cosmetic bits, is this not just a rebadge or is there more that Lexus gives you?

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5 hours ago, David said:

Agree, it would seem to me that the NX is a rebadge of the Rav4 Hybrid and the UX is a rebadge of the CH-R Hybrid.

@William Maley Can you do a compare and contrast of if other than the badge and cosmetic bits, is this not just a rebadge or is there more that Lexus gives you?

They share the same platform, but the NX has some differences in terms of how it drives, ride quality, and interior appointments.

I would like to when I can get my hands on the current RAV4 Hybrid and upcoming NX Hybrid, but may be some time. 

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These should both be hard pass vehicles.  They are small and expensive, might as well just get a RAV4 which is same powertrains, probably a lot of the same options are available and it costs way less.   The RAV4 is a pretty solid vehicle, but for $50k with an “L” on the front it isn’t.  Better to just get a lightly equipped RX350 for that money.

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