By C.A. Haire
For those shopping for a quality SUV who don’t need a large vehicle, the Lexus 250h hybrid is worth a look. It’s certainly on the compact side, and trunk space is limited, which explains why there is no spare tire — but it fits into a garage or parking space with ease, and its lighter weight can result in excellent fuel economy.
Under the hood is a 2.0-liter gas engine with an electric motor in front and another in the rear for a total horsepower output of 181, not exactly a potent figure. This combo limits acceleration, but there is enough bottom-end torque to slip through traffic at low speeds with ease. Fuel economy is listed at 41/38 mpg. In the real world, 36/40 was possible in ideal conditions, but in heavy city traffic with the air conditioner blowing at full blast, it dropped to 34 on occasion, which is still acceptable.
The base price is $36,000, but this is the upgraded F-Sport version. That includes larger, 18-inch wheels; self-leveling headlights; adaptive suspension; a moon roof and various electronic gadgets. This brings the tab to $44,000. But wait, there is more! Options like wireless phone charging, a head-up display, a power rear door, custom paint and park assist bump the cost to $48,000. That’s a lot of money, but it’s made in Japan, which explains the high build quality and workmanship.
The UX is very pleasant to drive. The steering has great feel, the handling is very good, it’s a comfortable ride, and the brakes are strong. The cabin materials are first rate, too. Starting with the 2023 year, that silly finger touch pad that operated the info system is gone, replaced with more practical controls.
Overall, those who don’t place value based on size but overall quality might find this little hybrid SUV to their liking. Plus, it’s a Lexus, so reliability is not a worry.