For those looking to enter the more popular than ever hybrid vehicle market but not wanting to sacrifice luxury or style, the 2023 Lexus UX Hybrid crossover SUV offers an affordable “best-in-class” option, backed by the Lexus name. But if you’re interested in buying one, as you should be, which of the 2023 Lexus UX trim levels could be the right one for you?
This updated hybrid model replaces Lexus’s existing small crossover option, as Lexus will no longer sell the non-hybrid UX200 models. The company has also made some improvements to the previous hybrid model, including additional spot welding points added to the body for improved structural integrity and new Bridgestone 18-inch flat run tires. These improved tires will help reduce noise and vibration on the road, so let’s look at the 2023 Lexus UX trim levels and how they compare.
As the most affordable option in Lexus’ hybrid/electric line, the Lexus UX does not compromise on features and performance at any level. You’ll average 42 mpg combined with the 250h FWD, making it the most-efficient non-plug-in luxury SUV on the market.
Choose from one of the four trim levels that give you your pick of added features and customized style. They all come with a 181-horsepower powertrain, ample safety equipment, and lots of technology. The interior is also classy and comfortable, with a redesigned center console, a more convenient infotainment system, and an integrated voice-activated assistant.
You’ll find that both the UX 250H and the UX 250h Premium come with many of the same basic options and specs, making them both excellent choices for someone looking to get into a moderately-priced luxury hybrid SUV.
Both models are available in FWD or AWD versions and feature an in-line 4-cylinder engine with Lexus HybridDrive technology. With a 181-horsepower powertrain, this Certified Ultra Low Emissions Vehicle (ULEV II) will go from 0-60 mph in approximately 8.4 seconds (8.6 seconds for AWD models).
Regarding the interior, both models comfortably seat up to five people. There’s a decent amount of cargo space in the trunk as well, and the 60/40 split-folding rear seats allow you to configure it to fit more if needed.
Passengers will also enjoy the dual-zone climate control and a standard air filter, making the cabin comfortable and healthy. With the front seats adjustable up to eight ways, both driver and passenger can find a position for optimal comfort.
The auto-dimming rearview mirror is one area where these two models differ on the inside. In the UX 250h model, this feature is only available as an extra option. For the 250h Premium model, an auto-dimming rearview mirror with HomeLink system comes standard. The mirror option for the base model does not come with the HomeLink system.
The 250h Premium also has a power liftgate with a kick-sensor and heated and ventilated front seats. Climate-controlled seats are not an option on the base model, so if you live in an area where this feature is essential, you may want to consider moving up to the Premium. A heated steering wheel remains an extra option for both models.
Another neat styling option you’ll find inside three models (F Sport Handling model excluded) is the Washi tape interior trim design. Unique to Lexus, the company’s Japanese heritage inspired this design. The washi dashboard trim displays the texture of ancient Japanese sliding paper doors. Looking closely at the dashboard, you can see this unique but subtle design element.
From the outside, you’ll find slight differences between the overall look of the two models. Although they both come with 18-inch alloy wheels with a dark-grey finish, the Premium model comes standard with color-keyed overfenders, giving it a slightly sleeker look. Adding to the sleekness of the Premium model is the standard moonroof, which isn’t even an option for the base model.
For features that help with the outside environment, both models come with heated outside mirrors, which help with snow and ice, and Bi-LED headlamps, LED taillamps, and daytime running lights. However, you’ll only find rain-sensing windshield wipers in the Premium model, and if you’re looking for a windshield wiper de-icer, it’s an added option in both the 250h and 250h Premium.
As you can expect from the Lexus name, some integrated luxury features come standard in all models. The six-speaker premium sound system and touchscreen interface are just two examples. This year, the touchscreen has been made even larger (8-inches) and includes Drive Connect capability with Cloud Navigation, an Intelligent Assistant (voice-controlled), and a subscription-based Destination Assist feature. You can also connect to both Apple CarPlay and Andriod Auto to integrate the features and apps from your phone into the system. The Premium model has the option to upgrade this interface to a 12.3-inch screen.
As expected, a backup camera comes standard in all models, and push-button stop/start SmartAccess. Extra options in both models include a wireless charger and a color head-up display.
You won’t find too much difference between the models with the safety features either, as they both come with numerous options for lane markings and numerous alerts to enhance the driving experience and make it safer.
They both also come with a trial of the SafetyConnect and ServiceConnect programs, which help you in the event of an accident and provide valuable information about your vehicle’s maintenance needs. An optional safety feature for both models is the Intuitive Parking Assist feature, which makes parking the vehicle more manageable and helps prevents scrapes and dings by alerting you to hazards.
2023 Lexus UX 250h Premium vs. UX 250h F Sport Design
If you want a model that’s a bit more sporty-looking, you might want to check out the UX 250h Sport Design. It comes with all of the features of the Basic model and many of the added features of the 250H Premium model. The main differences reside in the exterior.
Right off the bat, you’ll notice the difference in the wheels, with the F Sport Design having 18-inch split-five-spoke alloy wheels instead of the standard 18-inch five-spoke alloy wheels. Other unique exterior styling features include sport-stylized front and rear bumpers, a black roof with black roof rails (vs. the aluminum ones on the other models), and LED foglamps and cornering lamps.
Aside from these noticeable exterior options, the interior features are on-par with the 250h Premium Model, including the standard moonroof. However, it notably does not offer the option for the 12.3-inch touchscreen display, ten-speaker premium sound system, power rear door with kick sensor, or auto-dimming mirror with HomeLink system. These differences essentially mean that the 250h Premium model is better-suited for those who prefer more luxury and style inside the car. The F Sport Design would appeal to those who like a more sporty-looking style on the outside.
2023 Lexus UX 250h Sport Design vs. 250h Sport Handling
For those Lexus UX owners who want the ultimate performance, it’s worth giving the 250h Sport Handling model a look. This model has key features that improve the handling and provide more advanced driving options than the other models.
On the interior, you’ll find FSPORT bolstered front seats, and a perforated leather-trimmed FSPORT steering wheel and shift knob. The aluminum pedals and front aluminum door-sill scuff plates add to the high-end look inside. For the interface, this is the only model where the more extensive 12.3-inch interface and ten-speaker Premium Sound System come standard.
Another cool feature is the way that the instrumentation looks. It’s performance-inspired and comes with a sliding bezel. Like the Premium model, the auto-dimming rearview mirror with HomeLink and the climate-controlled front seats come standard. As with the other models, a heated steering wheel feature remains optional.
The exterior of this model shares the same unique FSPORT features as the regular Sport Design model. The only difference is that this model includes power-folding outside mirrors that auto-tilt down in reverse and have driver’s side auto-dimming functionality.
Of course, all of the safety features are the same as the other models, but because it is the Sport Handling model, it does have some added Performance features. These include a Drive Mode Select with five drive modes (ECO, Normal, Sport S, Sport S+, and Custom Drive) and paddle shifters on the steering wheel to support these enhanced drive modes. You’ll also enjoy the fine-tuned suspension that really does set this model apart from its siblings when it comes to engaging driving characteristics.
Which 2023 Lexus UX Trim Should You Buy?
There’s no doubt that all four models of the Lexus UX Hybrid SUV make great options for individuals looking to enter this market at a moderate price point. All of the models have features synonymous with Lexus’ reputation as a luxury automaker and details that make both driving and riding in the vehicle a pleasure.
If you’re looking for a model that genuinely provides the allure and look of a luxury vehicle, the Premium trim model is the way to go. The added features of the moonroof, climate-controlled seats, power rear, door, and HomeLink System integration make this an appealing family or executive vehicle with small touches that make it feel more high-end.
For those who want something a bit more “showy” from the outside, the Sport Design trim model makes a great option. However, it does lack some of the luxury interior options of the Premium model, making it a decision of whether you want a sporty look on the outside or extra luxury on the inside.
If you want all of the luxurious inside features and still have the sporty-looking exterior, you’ll need to go with the Sport Handling model. This model will truly have you forgetting that you’re driving a hybrid crossover and give you more of the feeling of riding in a sportscar. For people that like to have the ultimate control over their driving and want a vehicle with precision handling, the Sport Handling model makes the best choice.