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.