2020 Lexus UX

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2020 Lexus UX Review: Step Up Your SUV Game

by Michael Butler

Lexus once offered the CT, a Prius-based hybrid hatchback, as its entry-level model in the United States. It's poor sales and lackluster reputation quickly proved that a rethink was in order, which is why Lexus went back to the drawing board to create the UX crossover, which stands for Urban eXplorer. Now positioned at the most affordable entry into the Lexus brand, the UX competes with the likes of the Audi Q3, BMW X1, Mercedes-Benz GLA, Volvo XC40, and others.

It may offer less space inside than its rivals, but the UX is the only vehicle in the sub-compact luxury crossover segment to offer a hybrid model. In this gase, the UX Hybrid is the more powerful drivetrain option, producing 181 total system horsepower. It also provides stellar fuel economy, averaging nearly 40 mpg combined. The UX seems like a far more well-positioned entry into the Lexus brand, but to find out, CarBuzz tested a 2020 Lexus UX 250h in the F Sport trim level for an entire week.

Read in this review:

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2020 Lexus UX Changes: What’s The Difference vs The 2019 UX?

The UX is still a relative newcomer to the Lexus range, having been introduced in 2019. Yet, despite this, Lexus has thought it good to add a few new standard infotainment and safety features that make this subcompact luxury crossover SUV that much more interesting. For 2020 the UX's infotainment system gains Android Auto and Google Assistant functionality while the subscription-based Enform connected service gets a revised trial period. On the safety side of things, the UX now includes rear cross-traffic alert in combination with its blind-spot monitoring system.

Pros and Cons

  • Gorgeous interior
  • High-efficiency hybrid option
  • Looks cool in F Sport guise
  • Lots of standard goodies
  • It feels like a premium luxury product
  • Some niggly interior controls
  • There's not a lot of cargo space
  • Tiny back seat
  • Uninspiring naturally aspirated engine
  • Less sporty than the looks imply

What's the Price of the Lexus UX and UX Hybrid Crossover SUVs?

Compared to subcompact crossovers such as the Honda HR-V or Hyundai Kona, the Lexus UX's price is well over $10,000 more, which is completely understandable considering the levels of refinement and features on offer, although the baby Lexus SUV is competitively priced with its peers from Germany. The base model, simply named the UX 200, starts off with an MSRP of $32,300 which excludes a delivery, processing and handling fee of $1,025. The UX 200 is followed by the UX 200 F Sport, which goes for $34,300. The range-topping UX200 Luxury starts off with an asking price of $37,500, but that pricing can reach as high as $41,000 when you select all the available options. Naturally, if you go the hybrid route, you have to pay a little more upfront, but it is less than you may expect, especially when you consider that these models add AWD, too. The UX 250h, the near-identical twin to the base model, asks for only $34,500, with the mid-tier 250h Luxury set at $36,500. Similarly, the 250h Sport will only cost you $2,200 more than the gasoline variant.

Best Deals on 2020 Lexus UX

2020 Lexus UX Trims

See trim levels and configurations:

Trim Engine Transmission Drivetrain Price (MSRP)
UX 200
2.0L Inline-4 Gas
Front-Wheel Drive
2.0L Inline-4 Gas
Front-Wheel Drive
UX 250h
2.0L Inline-4 Hybrid
Continuously Variable Automatic (CVT)
All-Wheel Drive
UX 250h F Sport
2.0L Inline-4 Hybrid
Continuously Variable Automatic (CVT)
All-Wheel Drive
UX 200 Luxury
2.0L Inline-4 Gas
Front-Wheel Drive
See All 2020 Lexus UX Trims and Specs

2020 UX Exterior

2020 Lexus UX Front View Lexus
2020 Lexus UX Rear View Lexus
2020 Lexus UX Front Angle View Lexus
See All 2020 Lexus UX Exterior Photos


  • Length 177.0 in
  • Wheelbase 103.9 in
  • Height 60.6 in
  • Max Width 72.4 in
  • Front Width 61.0 in
  • Rear Width 61.0 in
  • Curb Weight 3,307.0 lbs

Exterior Colors

  • Eminent White Pearl
  • Nebula Gray Pearl
  • Silver Lining Metallic
  • Atomic Silver
  • Obsidian
  • Caviar
  • Redline
  • Autumn Shimmer
  • Nori Green Pearl
  • Cadmium Orange
  • Ultra White
  • Ultrasonic Blue Mica 2.0

2020 UX Performance

2020 Lexus UX Front View Driving Lexus
2020 Lexus UX Headlights Lexus
2020 Lexus UX Wheel Lexus

Engine and Transmission

  • Engines
    2.0L Inline-4 Gas, 2.0L Inline-4 Hybrid
  • Transmissions
    Automatic, Continuously Variable Automatic (CVT)
  • Drivetrain

Handling and Driving Impressions

Don't let the edgy urban styling fool you into thinking that the UX is a corner-carving sports car; its front Independent MacPherson struts with coil springs and rear independent multilink with trailing arms have been tuned to provide a comfortable and refined ride, instead of a rock-hard performance orientated setup. The lack of outright power is forgiven thanks to the UX's beautiful ride quality, and we appreciated the excellent steering responsiveness, which is a rarity in a category of overly light and overly assisted steering systems. Unfortunately, the steering starts to feel overly artificial when you push the UX even moderately too hard, and if you take a corner too quickly, the tires call it quits and give you obnoxious understeer. It may say F Sport on the outside, but that's really only describing the appearance, not the driving experience.

Hybrid trims feature AWD over the stock FWD setup, which is a boon for those in states with adverse weather conditions that could be mitigated by more confident traction. Unfortunately, the rear wheels only receive power below 43 mph, limiting the grip at high speeds. The F Sport model gets a stiffer sport-tuned suspension, but it does little to improve cornering capability. Fortunately, it doesn't spoil the ride comfort. Around town and at low speeds, the UX soaks up bumps and doesn't get unsettled easily, and at highway speeds, it feels stable and planted; exactly what you want to feel when you're behind the steering wheel. The UX feels slow compared with many of its subcompact competitors, but in terms of comfort and refinement, it outshines most of them.

2020 UX Interior

2020 Lexus UX Dashboard Lexus
2020 Lexus UX Front Seats Lexus
2020 Lexus UX Front Seats 1 Lexus
See All 2020 Lexus UX Interior Photos

Seating and Interior Space

  • Seating capacity
  • Front Leg Room 42.1 in
  • Front Head Room 37.2 in
  • Rear Leg Room 33.1 in
  • Rear Head Room 36.3 in

2020 UX Trunk and Cargo Space

2020 Lexus UX Rear View 1 Lexus
2020 Lexus UX Rear Angle View Lexus
2020 Lexus UX Side View Lexus

2020 UX Safety and Reliability


  • Basic:
    4 Years \ 50,000 Miles
  • Drivetrain:
    6 Years \ 70,000 Miles
  • Corrosion:
    6 Years \ Unlimited Miles
  • Roadside Assistance:
    4 Years \ Unlimited Miles
  • Maintenance:
    1 Years \ 10,000 Miles

US NHTSA Crash Test Result

  • Overall Rating
  • Frontal Barrier Crash Rating
  • Side Crash Rating
  • Rollover Rating

Verdict: Are the Lexus UX and UX Hybrid Good Cars?

The 2020 Lexus UX SUV occupies a very niche section of the crossover SUV market in the US by offering German-levels of quality and comfort at lower prices, and will appeal to those looking for the practicality and efficiency of a small hatchback, but who still want the slightly raised ride height of a crossover. We appreciate the UX's modern exterior design, and the interior feels more premium than almost any other vehicle in its class. The UX truly feels like it belongs in the Lexus lineup, despite being the entry-level model.

Our biggest issue with the UX is its underwhelming power plant: the 2.0-liter inline-four engine moves the UX around with barely enough gusto, and competitors such as the BMW X1 with its 228 horsepower 2.0-liter turbocharged four-pot is in a different league. Sadly, the hybrid engine does not do much to remedy this situation, adding only a measly 12 hp. But the addition of AWD certainly helps it to stay competitive, especially when you factor in the attractive improvements to fuel economy. In either case, the UX makes up for its lack of power by delivering a well-balanced driving experience that's not too soft or too hard, and with a competitive asking price and warranty, the 2020 Lexus UX is a worthy competitor in the luxury compact crossover market.

What 2020 Lexus UX Model Should I Buy?

If we were in the market for a UX, we would consider the UX250h hybrid model in the F Sport trim level. We think the hybrid drivetrain justifies its $2,200 price increase over the standard UX200 with the addition of AWD and an increase in both power and fuel economy. We'd then opt for the F Sport because it only tacks on $2,000 to the price while adding a sportier exterior, bolder interior, and plenty of other add-ons. From there, we'd have to tack on a few other options, including the larger navigation screen, and premium package, pushing the price over $41,000. This may sound like too much for an entry-level crossover, but the German options can quickly exceed $50,000 in a hurry. If you're looking to save on a similar experience, consider the Toyota Venza, which boasts similar hybrid fuel economy, power power, an equally premium interior, and much more space inside.

Check out other Lexus UX Styles

2020 Lexus UX Comparisons

Lexus NX
Lexus RX CarBuzz
CompetitorHorsepowerMPGPrice (MSRP)
Lexus UX169 hp29/37 mpg$33,450
Lexus NX 203 hp26/33 mpg$38,605
Lexus RX 275 hp22/29 mpg$47,400

2020 Lexus UX vs Lexus NX

The Lexus NX slots in above the UX and is officially classified as a compact luxury crossover, which means its the bigger car of the two. Powering the gasoline 2020 Lexus NX is a turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine that produces 235 hp and 258 lb-ft of torque, which allows it to sprint to sixty in 7.2 seconds and on to a top speed of 124 mph. Both the UX and the NX offer hybrid derivatives, too, with the NX Hybrid producing a combined system output of 194 hp, around 13 horses more than the UX Hybrid. The NX's increased curb weight and more powerful engine mean its fuel economy takes a serious hit: gas-fed models will manage 22/28/25 mpg city/highway/combined, compared to the UX's 29/37/33 mpg; hybrid UX models fair much better but cannot compare to the 41/38/39 mpg of the UX hybrid.

Inside the NX offers the same levels of refinement and luxury as we've come to appreciate from the UX, but there's clearly more passenger and cargo space, with the NX offering significantly more rear-seat legroom. The NX is an absolute dream to drive around town, and its potent 2.0T engine provides all the punch we so sorely missed in the UX. With a base price that starts at $4,000 more than the UX, the NX is better to drive and offers more space, but you'll have to sacrifice fuel economy.

See Lexus NX Review

2020 Lexus UX vs Lexus RX

The RX sits two steps above the UX and is considered a mid-size luxury SUV, so the major differences are rather obvious; the RX offers more passenger and cargo space. Unlike the NX, which enjoys turbocharged power, the RX sticks to a naturally-aspirated 3.5-liter V6 engine, which produces 295 hp and 268 lb-ft of torque in standard guise, with 308 horses more from the hybrid derivative. This is a substantial increase over the UX in either form. The RX will accelerate to sixty in 7.7 seconds and continue on to a top speed of 124 mph, but the down side is the increase in fuel consumption from the RX. In terms of size, the RX's total length of 192.5 inches dwarfs the UX's 177 inches, and that translates to the inside where the RX offers a superior 44.1 inches of legroom in the front and 38 in the rear. Out on the road, the RX keeps its composure, but the extra weight is noticeable, and it can't match the nimbleness of the UX. Both cars share the same basic safety system, refined interior quality, and infotainment interface, so the choice will boil down to personal needs and wallet size.

See Lexus RX Review
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