Aug 16, 2019

What we're driving: Lexus UX 250 F-Sport

Lexus UX. Photo: Lexus

This week I'm driving the 2019 Lexus UX 250h F-Sport, an entry-level Lexus with awfully big ambitions.

Details: The UX (urban crossover) is aimed at millennials looking for adventure in the city. It tries to be both sporty and efficient, affordable yet luxurious. Though labeled a crossover, it's really just a hatchback.

What's new: The UX hybrid has some nifty superpowers that allow it to see into the future to maximize efficiency — a skill Lexus claims is an industry first.

How it works: Per Lexus, the car can optimize charging and discharging of the hybrid battery by working with the navigation system and the driver's habits.

  • Typically, a hybrid draws energy from the battery when accelerating.
  • When braking or coasting, wasted energy is captured and stored, earning power for future driving.
  • When coasting on a long, downhill stretch of road, a full charge could be reached partway down the hill; any additional regenerated energy would be wasted.
  • The UX avoids this by calculating when a long downhill stretch lies ahead, and then relying more heavily on battery-only driving to reduce the state of charge and better accept that regeneration opportunity.
  • The result: a fuel economy of 39 mpg.

Plus, safety tech is standard on the UX, including adaptive cruise control, lane-keeping assist, and front- and rear-collision mitigation systems.

My thought bubble: While impressed by the car's smarts and focus on safety, I think the UX is too cramped and its infotainment system too complicated to get me to fork over $40,000.

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What we're driving: 2020 Range Rover Evoque

2020 Range Rover Evoque. Photo: Range Rover

I'm driving the 2020 Range Rover Evoque, a compact, wedge-shaped SUV that looks like it belongs in the future.

Why it matters: Styling has always been the big selling point for the Evoque, first introduced in 2012. It's all been updated for 2020, including new retractable door handles, which are cool but take an extra second to open the door.

Go deeperArrowAug 23, 2019

Drivers turn off "annoying" safety tech

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Some motorists are turning off driver safety systems because the technologies are "annoying or bothersome," a J.D. Power consumer study found.

Why it matters: Consumers who disable driver-assistance features are depriving themselves of the safety benefits of the technology, potentially putting themselves and others at risk. Their criticism could also be a red flag for consumer acceptance of self-driving vehicles, writes CNBC.

Go deeperArrowAug 28, 2019

What we're driving: 2019 Volkswagen Arteon

2019 Volkswagen Arteon SEL. Photo courtesy of VW

This week I'm driving the 2019 Volkswagen Arteon, a pretty car with a funny name.

Why it matters: VW is trying to revive its brand in the U.S. after its devastating diesel-emissions scandal. Having car names that customers can latch onto certainly helps.

Go deeperArrowSep 13, 2019