The 2022 Lexus UX is perfect for folks who want a small hatchback marketed as a crossover with premium features at a premium price. Unfortunately, that audience isn’t very big, especially when many rivals have higher seating positions, larger cargo areas, and superior tow ratings. While the UX is more affordable than most luxury alternatives, it’s less practical and a lot less powerful. Its proletariat powertrains betray Lexus’s cachet with their leisurely acceleration and coarse engine sounds. The hybrid UX250h at least brings all-wheel drive and better fuel economy, but the front-drive-only UX200 actually proves thriftier at highway speeds. Thanks to their small proportions and low center of gravity, both variants are entertaining to drive. Although the 2022 UX has a nicely appointed cabin and comes packed with standard equipment, its compromises keep it from being a crowd-pleaser.
What’s New for 2022?
For 2022, the UX200 and UX250h offer more exterior and interior color combinations. Most notably, the subcompact ute’s plastic overfenders can now be color-matched to the rest of the body, resulting in a more upscale look. Likewise, the paint palette grows with the addition of Cloudburst Gray and Grecian Water. The latter is compatible with the Black, Birch, and Birch- with-Lapis interior colors.
Pricing and Which One to Buy
We think the hybrid UX250h is the one to get because of its standard all-wheel-drive system and better fuel economy in the city; we’d go with the F Sport version that brings a sportier suspension, more supportive front seats, and a slick-looking gauge cluster—among other enhancements. Of the two available packages, we’d pick the Premium option that includes heated front seats, rain-sensing windshield wipers, better interior materials, and a sunroof. Finally, we’d recommend adding a head-up display, heated steering wheel, power liftgate, and wireless charging.
Engine, Transmission, and Performance
The Lexus UX is available with either a gas-powered or a hybrid powertrain paired with a continuously variable automatic transmission (CVT). However, only the hybrid UX250h offers all-wheel drive; the regular UX200 is front-drive only. The latter uses a 169-hp four-cylinder engine. The last UX200 we tested needed a lengthy 8.5 seconds to get to 60 mph, and the engine sounded unrefined at high revs. While the UX250h hybrid version we tested makes 181 horsepower, it had equally unimpressive acceleration. Thankfully, both had great steering feel and quiet refinement endearing enough to help make up for their lack of quickness. An F Sport package brings performance-oriented upgrades such as a sport-tuned suspension, 18-inch wheels on run-flat tires, and exclusive interior and exterior appointments.
Fuel Economy and Real-World MPG
The hybridized UX is better suited to saving fuel when driving around town, with an EPA-estimated 41 mpg city and 38 mpg highway. The gas-only model is rated at 29 mpg in the city and 37 mpg on the highway. We tested both versions on our 75-mph highway fuel-economy test route—part of our extensive testing regimen—to see how they perform in the real world. The UX200 earned 35 mpg highway while the UX250h only earned 31 mpg, both lower than advertised. For more information about the UX’s fuel economy, visit the EPA’s website.
Interior, Comfort, and Cargo
Inside, Lexus ensures that passengers know this is a luxury vehicle thanks to an attractive layout and posh materials. It also boasts a bunch of standard features that includes dual-zone climate control and power-adjustable front seats. The experience can be elevated with options such as heated and ventilated front seats, a head-up display, and snazzier materials. While the back seat is far from spacious, it’s also not as cramped as one might expect. Unfortunately, the cargo area behind those seats is pretty small and it’s even smaller on hybrid models. We managed to fit four carry-on suitcases back there on the regular UX, but we could cram an extra three carry-ons in the rear of the BMW X1.
Infotainment and Connectivity
Every UX has a loaded infotainment system with Apple CarPlay and Amazon Alexa compatibility, a mobile Wi-Fi hotspot, and four USB ports. The little Lexus also can be enhanced with numerous options that include a larger 10.3-inch center screen, built-in navigation, wireless charging, and an eight-speaker premium audio system. While we appreciate this amount of content, the infotainment system is often frustrating to operate with its unintuitive touchpad controller and other illogical controls.
Safety and Driver-Assistance Features
Every model is also equipped with standard driver-assistance technology. For more information about the UX’s crash-test results, visit the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) websites. Key safety features include:
- Standard forward-collision warning and automated emergency braking
- Standard lane-departure warning and lane-keeping assist
- Standard blind-spot monitoring and rear cross-traffic alert
Warranty and Maintenance Coverage
Lexus provides a competitive limited warranty and an even better powertrain warranty. The automaker also includes a short period of complimentary scheduled maintenance.
- Limited warranty covers four years or 50,000 miles
- Powertrain warranty covers six years or 70,000 miles
- Complimentary maintenance is covered for one year or 10,000 miles