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Overall verdict

The Top Gear car review: Lexus UX

Overall verdict
The UX hybrid offers a unique solution and silhouette in a crowded segment


Eco tech that doesn’t need a plug, distinctive looks


No other powertrain options, fiddly infotainment touchpad


What is it?

Lexus’s first compact SUV. But hasn’t every other brand in the world already launched one of those? Almost, but the Lexus UX genuinely brings something new to the table. As a hybrid-only model, and one with so many cuts, creases and shiny details in its exterior design it can’t help but stand out. Lexus certainly hopes so, expecting the UX to become the brand’s UK top seller, quickly outgunning its mid-size NX and large RX SUV big brothers.

The UX is longer than any premium compact SUV rival, lower than all but the Infiniti QX30 and in the middle of the pack on width - the Audi Q3 and Jag E-Pace are wider, the BMW X1 and Merc GLA narrower. Those proportions give the UX a much more hatchback/crossover feel, rather than boxy and upright, like the Volvo XC40.

The UX will be sold alongside, rather than instead of, the ageing CT hatchback, contrary to rumours of the latter’s demise, but luckily the UX is a much better vehicle. It features a new four-cylinder 176bhp 2.0-litre petrol-electric hybrid powertrain with direct-shift continuously variable transmission (CVT), and doesn’t whine like older CTs.   

Lexus hasn’t made 0-60mph and top speed figures available so early before launch (April 2019 in the UK), nor prices, but expect a range from £30,000 to £35,000. These aren’t the key numbers for a family hybrid anyway. Economy estimates of 68.9-65.7mpg and emissions of 96-103g/km CO2 (for the 17- and 18-inch wheel front-wheel drive models) are way more important for the urban- and tax-focused target audience.

And there are all-wheel-drive and F-Sport versions with sportier driving modes and suspension (from the acclaimed LC Coupe), if you want to have a bit of fun.