The luxury compact Lexus UX, the smallest and most affordable SUV in the Lexus lineup, is available in two variants: the gasoline-powered UX 200 and the gas-electric hybrid UX 250h. It is enhanced for 2021 by the inclusion of blind spot monitoring with rear cross-traffic alert as a standard feature for both versions, and a new adjustable rear cargo deckboard for the UX 250h that increases its cargo capacity from 17.1 to 21.7 cubic feet.
UX 200 and UX 250h both have three trim levels: base, F Sport, and Luxury. A Black Line special edition model has been added to the UX 250h group for this year.
The 2021 base UX 200 costs $34,025 with its $1,025 destination charge included. A UX 200 F Sport is $36,025 and the UX 200 Luxury trim is $38,725.
For the 2021 UX 250h, pricing starts at $36,225 for a base model, then $38,225 for an F Sport, $40,235 for the Black Line, and $40,925 for the Luxury trim.
A 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine propels the UX 200 with 169 horsepower and a continuously variable automatic transmission (CVT) for a partner. It has front-wheel drive and an EPA fuel economy rating of 29/37/32 mpg.
Combined output of the UX 250h hybrid powertrain is 181 horsepower. It’s also paired with a CVT and has a mild all-wheel-drive system. The fuel economy rating is 41/38/39 mpg.
Regular unleaded is the recommended fuel for both Lexus UX models.
The base UX 200 is equipped in typical Lexus fashion, that is, well furnished with desirable standard features. To name some: 18-inch alloy wheels, LED headlights, dual zone climate control, eight-way power adjustable front seats with two-way lumbar, three drive modes (Eco, Normal, Sport), Lexus safety and service connection systems, and an infotainment system with 7-inch display, four USB ports, Wi-Fi with 4GB/three-month trial, voice command, Android Auto and Apple CarPlay integration, and Amazon Alexa compatibility.
My tester was a UX 200 F Sport, whose horsepower rating doesn’t exceed the base model’s, but adds sport-tuned suspension, LED fog lights and cornering lights, bolstered front seats, paddle shifters, an 8-inch multi-information display, and appearance modifications including unique bumpers and grille, and a performance-style gauge cluster. Its wheels are fancier, too.
The F Sport’s bolstered front seats are supremely comfortable, and rear seats aren’t bad at all. Cabin space is respectable for the compact SUV class. The 17 square feet of cargo space is less generous, but rear seatbacks are split 60/40 and flip down to free up more room. Restoring seatbacks to their upright position is effortless. My grievance against the cargo area is its sunken floor, making difficult work of unloading heavy items.
One other thing can’t escape criticism: the infotainment system’s touchpad control. Its use can be avoided, something I always do, but inadvertent contact happens easily due to the touchpad’s prominent position in the center console, a busy spot. So, even lightly brushing the touchpad accidentally while reaching around for things can trigger it into changing a setting on the display screen.
The UX 200 garners affection with its artistic styling, approachable price tag, civilized ride, compact design, and dexterity in urban settings and tight parking spots. In spite of a performance level lower than some of its sportier competitors, the UX 200 is sporty unto itself and is a fun car to drive.
2021 LEXUS UX 200 F SPORT
Base price, including destination charge: $36,025
Price as driven: $41,905
Mary Lowry is an independent automotive writer who lives in Snohomish County. She is a member of the Motor Press Guild, and a member and past president of the Northwest Automotive Press Association. Vehicles are provided by the manufacturers as a one-week loan for review purposes only. In no way do the manufacturers control the content of the reviews.