• Lexus added an EX model to its UX line up.
• The EX model is the most affordable of the hybrid-powered derivatives.
• It retails from R690 300.
Lexus launched its latest UX model, the EX in 250h guise, via a virtual launch in mid-May and we recently had a go in the entry-level hybrid derivative.
The EX denotes the brand's most affordable trim level. However, at R690 300 it is comprehensively furnished with standard features such as rear parking sensors with a rear-view camera, a hands-free boot opening system, two rear-located USB ports, satellite navigation, LED headlights, and heated seats.
Lexus is known for not skimping on standard equipment and the EX is derivative is testament to that. The electrically-adjustable seats were supportive on my weekend jaunt, I got out of the car after a few hours of driving and felt as fresh as free-range lamb.
Inside, the dash is dominated by a large screen that is navigated by a touch pad on the left of the gear lever. I didn't master it as quickly as I would have wanted to, but I'm sure an owner will get the hang of it by virtue of more practice.
The updated infotainment system has Apple CarPlay connectivity and even has Wi-Fi connectivity for the driver and passengers.
The engine powering this model isn't a secret, the 250h is used in the SE and F-Sport models. The normally-aspirated 2.0-litre petrol engine delivers 107kW and 180Nm of torque. Coupled to the electric motor that offers a short burst of power from pull away, and up to 30km/h, the power figure rises to 135kW.
Progress is swift and like Lexus' other hybrid models it's a seamless change to petrol power when the four-cylinder motor is called upon. Lexus says the EX model will reach 100km/h from standstill in 8.5 seconds, and has a top speed of 177km/h. It produces fuel economy figures of 4.5-litres/100km combined, and CO2 emissions of 103g/km.
I averaged a very commendable 6.9-litres/100km over the couple of days I had it on test. There are three different driving modes: Eco, Normal and Sport. Eco mode is really fine to use in any situation.
The UX uses a CVT 'gearbox' to send power to the front wheels and while it doesn't offer loads of feedback. I felt it to be pleasant cruiser and a car that makes driving feel light and easy. It perhaps goes together with the car's nature then.
There's a chance we could see the electric UX in 2021, the local arm of the Japanese luxury brand however says it has not been confirmed for introduction to South Africa at this point.
Overall, it looks edgy, it's filled with comfortable features, and offers a comfortable drive. It's also clear that Lexus' strategy is to build on the 147 hybrid models it sold in 2019.
In this segment however, it faces stiff competition from other compact premium SUVs such as the BMW X1, Mercedes-Benz GLA, and the Volvo XC40. Although the UX is the only hybrid model, and offers a peace of mind with seven-year or 105 000km warranty and maintenance plan.