$32,150 - $37,350

2019 Lexus UX Performance Review

Note: This performance review was created when the 2019 Lexus UX was new.


Performance: 5.7

The 2019 Lexus UX delivers a smooth ride over most road surfaces, and its small size makes it incredibly maneuverable. However, its engine feels underpowered at times, and even though it's fairly agile, the UX is less fun to drive than many class rivals.

  • "You won't feel much force during acceleration, however, regardless of whether you're in a front-wheel-drive UX 200 or an all-wheel-drive UX 250h hybrid." -- New York Daily News
  • "It's really tough to get excited about driving the Lexus UX, even in the F Sport model with the drive-select knob twisted to Sport+, because you always feel mildly detached from what's going on. The UX's chassis is agile and happy to change direction, but not exactly eager to dive into bends. No feedback is telegraphed through the steering wheel, but at least the action is nicely weighted, quick and precise. It's a crossover that will neither annoy nor excite you on the road -- fitting in well with the ethos of most other Lexus models." -- CNET
  • "The UX is firmly part of a newer generation of Lexus cars that really do go around corners well and ride better than their predecessors. With a seating position lower than other SUVs, the UX is more car-like to maneuver, and combined with lightweight aluminum and composite panels, Lexus claims the UX has the lowest center of gravity in its class. Either way, there is a surprising agility on twisty roads, improved further by Active Cornering Assist, which monitors the trajectory through curves and applies the appropriate braking on the inside wheels to suppress understeer." -- Autoblog

Acceleration and Power

The UX 200 features a 169-horsepower 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine paired with a continuously variable automatic transmission. Don't expect to be wowed by this powertrain. It gets you from point A to point B, but it takes its time. Most class rivals are more powerful and deliver better acceleration. The transmission generally works smoothly.

According to Lexus estimates, this crossover will earn 33 mpg city/highway combined. That's one of the highest ratings in the class.

  • "What the UX 200 never feels is fast. And apparently no UX is, whether it's wearing F Sport regalia or not. Toyota estimates that the most strident 0-to-60 mph run in the slightly more powerful hybrid will take no less than 8.6 seconds, with front-drive non-hybrids taking even longer at 8.9 seconds. These figures make the UX twins among … the slowest vehicles on the market today, regardless of price." -- New York Daily News
  • "The powertrains are less convincing. The front-wheel-drive-only UX200's 169-hp 2.0-liter inline-four sounds coarse at higher revs, and while the continuously variable automatic transmission (CVT) it pairs with works well enough, this combo has nothing on the German mini-crossovers' strong turbocharged fours." -- Car and Driver
  • "The Lexus UX 200 isn't very sporty, nor is it intended to be. … with 169 horsepower, it significantly trails rivals like the aforementioned Volvo XC40, which packs up to 248 ponies. Lexus pegs the 0-60 mph time of the UX 200 at 8.9 seconds. The Volvo XC40 T5, by comparison, sprints to that benchmark in the low 6-second range. So no, the new Lexus UX 200 isn't all that quick. But it also doesn't feel sluggish. You needn't fear being the last one up the on-ramp, and if you have adequate space on that 2-lane road, you'll be fine getting around slower traffic. There is a Sport mode that adjusts throttle mapping and steering sensitivity, but it doesn't exactly open up the stable for more horsepower." -- Kelley Blue Book

Handling and Braking

The 2019 UX is highly maneuverable, making it adept at navigating city streets and tight quarters. It also handles well on winding roads, though it isn't particularly fun to drive. As for the ride, you'll have no complaints: The UX absorbs road imperfections with ease. Front-wheel drive is standard; all-wheel drive is not available.

Lexus Drive Mode Select comes standard. It lets you choose between three modes (Normal, Eco, and Sport) that alter driving dynamics to provide more athleticism or better fuel economy. The available F Sport package includes revised springs, stabilizer bars, and different wheels to add a bit more performance.

  • "The UX follows the ethos of other recent Lexus models, with a suspension that can find its way around the corners with surprising rapidity but doesn't seem to enjoy it much. There are plenty of positives: Good grip … good control of body movement, and excellent bump absorption—all with a steady and comfortable ride. F-Sport models have stiffer shocks, a stiffer rear stabilizer bar, and a body-mounted 'performance damper,' but I didn't notice much difference between it and the regular UX. Overall, I found the driving experience to be pleasant, but I can't say I had a whole lot of fun." -- Automobile Magazine
  • "… city driving is what the UX feels made to do. It's ideal for navigating narrow streets shared with innumerable cyclists and dotted with stamp-size parking spaces. And the 34-foot turning circle comes in handy for the tight left-handers and U-turns that accompany regular travels." -- Edmunds
  • "What this small Lexus does best is, well, be a Lexus. By that we mean provide a comfortable, premium ride. In this respect it feels like a smaller Lexus NX, which in turn feels like a smaller Lexus RX. … Except on some rougher roads, we found the cabin quiet. And the Lexus' suspension did a good job quelling said rougher roads. Also above average is the UX's maneuverability." -- Kelley Blue Book

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