Little 'Forest', the Lexus UX250h F Sport has proven to be quite the luxurious urban runabout, but what about touring on the highway? That's what we're looking at in this latest update.
Historically, one of the major weaknesses of hybrid vehicles is that their efficiency-tuned combustion engines struggle with extra urban driving. This is due to their limited power and prolonged high-speed use, which would usually see fuel consumption balloon far beyond the manufacturer's claim.
On the open road, the UX rarely feels underdone thanks to a smart CVT transmission that helps to keep revs low when cruising, and a hybrid system that's happy to engage EV mode for short periods when the speed is reading triple figures.
It's a relaxed, comfortable and refined drive experience that makes you feel like the UX can really eat up kays over long stints, despite being primarily designed for the city.
We will note that there's a bit of tyre roar from the run-flat tyres fitted to the F Sport model we have on test, though it's certainly not below par for the class. Despite this, the UX is well insulated from wind noise off the windscreen and mirrors.
During our time with the car, we've had plenty of opportunities to test out the UX's driver-assistance suite on the freeway, and as we noted in our technology and infotainment update, it's pretty good.
Specifically for freeway driving, the all-speed radar-guided adaptive cruise control truly is capable of handling itself across all speeds.
There's rarely been an occasion where the little Lexus hasn't recognised a slowing vehicle ahead, and tends to take the 'better safe than sorry approach' when finding an appropriate following distance – even with the minimum gap selected via the controls on the steering wheel, there's plenty of distance to the car in front in case they brake suddenly.
The blind-spot monitoring system also operates well without being too intrusive, and is quite handy given the large C-pillar of the UX can restrict over-the-shoulder visibility. The mirrors are nice and big, too.
Whereas conventional combustion-powered vehicles see their most efficient fuel use on the highway, you'll find the UX's consumption figures will raise slightly with prolonged freeway use – though nowhere near the extent you may have seen from older-generation hybrids.
Forest tends to show an indicated readout closer to 6.0L/100km with more freeway driving, and you can expect around 550–600km per fill. That's not bad given the UX has a tiny 43L tank and runs happily on cheaper 91RON unleaded.
It's worth noting Lexus claims an extra-urban fuel consumption figure of 4.6L/100km, and a combined rating of 4.5L/100km, so we're a little up on the official claim.
In saying that, hybrid and electric vehicles are said to be less efficient in cooler temperatures, and this year's cold Melbourne winter has no doubt provided evidence for that theory.
All told, the Lexus UX250h proves hybrids don't have to be one-dimensional.
2019 Lexus UX250h F Sport
- Odometer: 8289km
- Distance travelled since last update: 402km
- Fuel consumption (indicated): 5.9L/100km
MORE: Long-term report one: Introduction
MORE: Long-term report two: Interior
MORE: Long-term report three: Infotainment and tech
MORE: Long-term report four: Urban driving
MORE: UX250h news, reviews, comparisons and videos
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