2020 Lexus UX 250h

Change year or car

Change year or car

$34,500

starting MSRP

2020 Lexus UX 250h
2020 Lexus UX 250h

Key specs

Base trim shown

Overview

The good:

  • Comfortable ride (non-F Sport)
  • Carlike handling
  • Front-seat comfort
  • Adults can fit in backseat
  • Supplemental armrest multimedia controls
  • Estimated gas mileage

The bad:

  • Front headroom
  • Backseat legroom
  • Small cargo area
  • Touchpad-based multimedia interface
  • Driver’s B-pillar blocks over-shoulder views
  • Gas engine can be noisy

3 trims

Starting msrp listed lowest to highest price

Wondering which trim is right for you?

Our 2020 Lexus UX 250h trim comparison will help you decide.

Notable features

  • Android Auto now available
  • Five-seat subcompact luxury SUV
  • Gas-electric hybrid drivetrain
  • All-wheel drive standard
  • Automatic emergency braking standard
  • 10.3-inch multimedia screen available

2020 Lexus UX 250h review: Our expert's take

By Mike Hanley

The verdict: The 2020 Lexus UX 250h hybrid subcompact SUV drives like a small hatchback and has great gas mileage estimates, but a small cargo area limits its utility. 

Versus the competition: Other small luxury SUVs from Audi, BMW and Volvo actually look more like SUVs, but none of them can touch the UX 250h’s exceptional fuel economy. 

Some so-called SUVs stretch the definition more than most, and the 2020 Lexus UX 250h “SUV” is one of them. With a low ride height, hatchback shape and carlike ride and handling, the UX 250h doesn’t feel or look like an SUV. While calling it one may be the right marketing move in the hatchback-averse U.S. — and it does have all-wheel drive, unlike the front-drive-only UX 200 — Lexus isn’t fooling anyone. 

Related: 2019-2020 Lexus UX: Everything You Need to Know

The UX 250h starts at $35,525 (including a $1,025 destination charge), but we tested a top-of-the-line Luxury trim level, which starts at more than $40,000. Optional features on the car we drove included a head-up display, triple-beam LED headlights, front and rear parking sensors, rear automatic braking and a heated steering wheel, increasing its as-tested price to $44,555.

How It Drives

The UX 250h is powered by a gas-electric hybrid powertrain that makes 181 total horsepower. Instead of a driveshaft connecting the hybrid system under the hood to the rear axle, there’s an electric motor driving the rear wheels, which gives the UX 250h all-wheel drive. The setup is rated an EPA-estimated 41/38/39 mpg city/highway/combined — considerably better than the gas mileage estimates of AWD versions of the Audi Q3, BMW X1 and Volvo XC40, none of which offer a hybrid drivetrain. 

The UX 250h is decently quick, accelerating up to highway speeds without much fuss. Its 2.0-liter four-cylinder gas engine, however, doesn’t sound great in the process; it’s as if there were an angry blender under the hood. High-speed passing power is modest, but the UX 250h’s hybrid drivetrain feels stronger overall than the UX 200’s gas-only powertrain, which is rated at 169 hp.

Lexus did a good job tuning the UX 250h’s suspension. The ride is comfortable over uneven pavement, and the suspension’s responses are controlled and refined, but with enough damping to avoid undue harshness. Despite the suspension’s comfort orientation, it manages to keep body roll in check. F Sport versions have firmer suspension tuning, and when we tested that setup in a UX 200, we thought the ride was choppy.

The UX 250h has light-effort steering and not much steering feedback, though switching to Sport mode adds some heft to the steering wheel. The brake pedal, meanwhile, has a spongy but predictable feel, without any abruptness as the system balances the regenerative and friction brakes. 

The Interior 

The UX 250h’s diminutive size is apparent from the driver’s seat; the roofline is low, and I had just a half-inch or so of headroom to spare (I’m 6-foot-1). Over-left-shoulder views are almost completely obstructed by the large roof pillar next to the driver’s seat. Rear visibility isn’t great, either, which makes the standard backup camera even more valuable. 

Comfortable front bucket seats are finished in simulated leather upholstery and have substantial side bolsters that help keep you in place in quick corners. They’re heated and ventilated in Luxury trims.

The UX’s backseat is more accommodating than you might guess; it’s reasonably comfortable for taller adults, if a bit short on legroom. The small rear doors, however, make getting out of the rear seat an ungraceful exercise. 

The UX 250h’s cargo area is even smaller than I expected. The combination of a high cargo floor and low roofline result in a small space, measuring 17.1 cubic feet. The standard 60/40-split rear seat folds flat for more cargo space. 

Multimedia Usability 

Lexus’ multimedia interface changes from vehicle to vehicle, and the UX 250h’s system incorporates some smart usability features along with some frustrating ones. 

The console-mounted Remote Touch trackpad is one of the frustrating ones. It works like a laptop trackpad, controlling a pointer on the UX’s dashboard screen. The interface isn’t new, but it’s still not easy to use; navigating menus using a freeform pointer in a moving vehicle requires a lot of attention — attention better spent on the road and what’s ahead of you.

2020 Lexus UX 250h touchpad 2020 Lexus UX 250h | Cars.com photo by Mike Hanley

On the plus side, Lexus’ integration of volume and tuning thumbwheels on the front center armrest is a smart usability move. The controls are easy to use, located where a driver’s right hand naturally falls.

Apple CarPlay and Android Auto smartphone connectivity are standard — the latter being a new feature for the 2020 model year. Both interfaces are optimized for touchscreens, but the UX’s display isn’t a touchscreen; you have to use the console trackpad instead. My test vehicle had an available 10.3-inch display in place of the standard 7-inch one, and its screen clarity was good. With that setup, CarPlay uses the full width of the widescreen display. 

More From Cars.com:

Safety and Driver-Assistance Features

The Lexus UX earned the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety’s highest rating, good, in all crashworthiness tests (based on a scale of good, acceptable, marginal or poor), and its standard automatic emergency braking system received a rating of superior (on a scale of superior, advanced or basic). IIHS also tested the UX’s standard bi-LED headlights and optional triple-beam LED headlights; the standard headlights were rated poor and the optional ones rated good. 

Other standard active-safety and driver-assistance features include lane departure warning with steering assist, automatic high-beam headlights, and adaptive cruise control with stop-and-go capability and lane-centering steering. Blind spot warning with rear cross-traffic alert is optional. 

Value in Its Class

The combination of a comparatively low starting price and impressive estimated gas mileage helps the UX 250h on the value front. Good driving manners are another plus. That said, the UX’s multimedia interface still needs some work, and one of the typical subcompact SUV trade-offs, limited cargo space, is especially apparent in this model. If you regularly carry people and cargo, a small luxury SUV like the BMW X1 would be a better bet. 

Related Video:

Cars.com’s Editorial department is your source for automotive news and reviews. In line with Cars.com’s long-standing ethics policy, editors and reviewers don’t accept gifts or free trips from automakers. The Editorial department is independent of Cars.com’s advertising, sales and sponsored content departments.

Photo of Mike Hanley
Senior Editor Mike Hanley is a father of three boys; he reviews new cars, admires classic cars and has embraced the minivan lifestyle. Email Mike Hanley

Consumer reviews

Rating breakdown (out of 5):
  • Comfort 4.9
  • Interior design 4.9
  • Performance 5.0
  • Value for the money 4.9
  • Exterior styling 5.0
  • Reliability 5.0

Most recent consumer reviews

4.9

BEST EXPERIENCE

I just bought a new car from Watertown Lexus. I met William at the door, he was very helpful and made the entire process easy from start to finish. His customer service was excellent and he was honest, knowledgeable and professional. I highly recommend him!

5.0

Lexus Groupie

I enjoy the Lexus brand. The vehicle runs well and as a hybrid is extremely economical. It feels luxurious with the trademark Lexus interior styling.

5.0

Great new car!

Great small sized car. Most comfortable seats ever and all the luxury I deserve. Great gas mileage and such a smooth ride. Fantastic maneuverability and great safety features!!

See all 10 consumer reviews

Compare the competitors

2021

Hyundai Kona EV

$37,390

starting MSRP

2020

Volvo XC40

$33,700

starting MSRP

2021

Toyota RAV4 Hybrid

$28,500

starting MSRP

See all 2020 Lexus UX 250h articles