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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.

Go deeper

3 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Senate Democrats target billionaires

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

After failing to get a deal on other planned tax increases, key Senate Democrats are pivoting to a billionaires' income tax to pay for President Biden's social spending.

The big picture: No advanced economy has attempted anything similar on such a scale.

Anti-abortion activists' Supreme Court dreams are coming true

Photo illustration: Annelise Capossela. Photos: Kevin Dietsch/Getty Images

This is the moment the conservative legal movement has been building toward for decades: The solidly conservative Supreme Court is about to hear two major abortion cases within a month of each other.

Why it matters: All of this is likely to end with significant new restrictions on abortion and a clear path for Republican-led states to win the next big abortion cases, too — the culmination of a long and bitter fight for control of the judiciary.

Felix Salmon, author of Capital
8 hours ago - Economy & Business

Trump's volatile return to the stock market

Expand chart
Data: YCharts; Chart: Axios Visuals 

Donald Trump this week became both a meme stock and a social-media entrepreneur at the same time, by announcing that a new company called Trump Media & Technology Group was going to merge with an existing company listed on the stock market.

Why it matters: The medium-term promise of Trump's media company is that it will replace Twitter for anybody wanting to keep track of Trump's messages. The short-term promise is that it can be a hot new speculative vehicle for people wanting to get rich quick in the stock market.