2024 Lexus UX 250H EX

2024 Lexus UX 250H EX

Baby Lexus gets tech treats aplenty; untouched hybrid and CVT reaffirm it’s more suited to Silicon Valley than Silverstone.

Say yes to UX

For anyone from ruling parties to market leaders, the benefit of incumbency is a powerful enabler. It allows those in command to look forward, whereas in its wake, the pack keeps chasing.

2024 Lexus UX 250H EX

In the realm of automotive hybridisation, for Toyota, this defining market standing was institutionalised with the introduction of the Prius in 1997. In consumer minds, this cemented the brand as a pioneer in its field … until its competitors inevitably caught up.

Amid the fallout from the 2008 cash crunch that notably affected the American automakers and their European counterparts, which embarked on chasing forced induction until 2015’s diesel scandal broke, an unruffled Toyota persisted with hybrids. Today, the Japanese giant owns this landscape in South Africa. The lion’s share of its passenger applications boasts a hybrid offering and the same can be said of its more urbane sister brand, Lexus.

2024 Lexus UX 250H EX - interior

Naturally, when the UX compact crossover (the most minute in the Lexus stable) saw the light in 2019, it featured an electrically assisted petrol powertrain option. However, four years in the current era of tech-transitioning mobility is worth a lifetime in evolutionary terms. Whereas there’s been a degree of head-scratching from OEMs in deciding what form the nextgen fuel source will take, the digitisation of active safety and in-car entertainment has roared on relentlessly.

For example, as a mid-life upgrade, the UX was recently updated to include a large 12- inch infotainment screen, cloud-based navigation with real-time traffic updates and Apple Carplay/ Android Auto. Strangely, users can only interact with the former wirelessly and this necessitates the inclusion of a pair of USB-C charging points installed below the dashboard.

The introduction of a touchscreen tablet presents a welcome break from Lexus’ unwieldy trackpad to operate its on-screen cursor (try this while negotiating washboard surfaces) that appeared in the previous-gen UX and others. Killing the makeshift mouse has cleared the transmission tunnel and made space for seat ventilation (heated and chilled) controls and the EV-only mode button. The driveand traction-mode selectors still inelegantly reside as turn dials on either side of the top of the instrument binnacle.

The UX line-up has grown by an additional entry in the form of a bi-tonally-hued flagship F Sport derivative (R958 100). This comes fitted with a full active safety suite, essentially consisting of a pre-crash system, lane-keep assist and adaptive cruise control, and bookends the range that starts at R808 600 for the entry-level 250h EX. Adaptive suspension is also now fitted as standard on both F Sport models.

As the engine and drivetrain are unchanged, so too is the drone from the engine at high revs, marred by slack from the CVT (it behaves acceptably when free from duress). On the other hand, the UX – which was prone to understeer – is lower than a rival such as the Volvo XC40. As such, it has less roll; dynamically, though, it is still significantly behind a BMW X1/X2 and its only other hybrid adversary, the Alfa Romeo Tonale, when the more exciting curves come calling.

2024 Lexus UX 250H EX

01 Brakelamps are interlinked via horizontally extending light bar.

02 FWD-only configuration and low ground clearance dispel off-roading aspirations.

03 In Sport S+mode, fake engine noises often mismatched to engine.

04 To its credit, the fully loaded F Sport is equipped with kit optional in rivals.

05 Large touchscreen has removed cabin clutter.


  • Price: R808 600
  • Engine: 2,0-litre, four-cylinder, petrol + electric
  • Transmission: CVT
  • Max Power: 107 kW @ 6 000 r/min + 80 kW/202 N.m electric
  • Max Torque: 188 N.m @ 4 400 r/min
  • Acceleration 0-62mph 0–100 km/h: 8,5 seconds
  • Top speed: 177 km/h
  • Fuel consumption: 4,5 L/100 km (combined)
  • CO2 emissions: 103 g/km
  • Rivals: Alfa Romeo Tonale, Audi Q3, BMW X1/X2, Mercedes-Benz GLA, Volvo XC40
  • + overdue tech improvements, premium interior feel
  • — shallow boot, hybrid adds negligible driving appeal, rivals are sportier
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