I purchased in Sept 2019 and have done 8000kms. My UX200 is the base model with options of metallic paint and Enhancement Pack 1 (power tailgate, wireless charging, cornering lamps, headlight washers, metal scuff plates and privacy glass). Although it is a base model it is absolutely loaded to the gills with equipment. Drive-away price was around $53,000.
I bought the UX200 mainly for comfort and refinement. Other deciding factors were high standard of equipment and technology and solid after sales service. The fit and finish of the UX200 is much better than other cars I’ve owned, both European and Japanese.
Build Quality / Interior
My UX200 has cream seats and a light headliner, as I dislike completely black interiors. Other interior colours get a black headliner making the interior a bit gloomy. Keeping the light interior clean has not been a problem.
The doors close with a reassuringly solid thump, and the interior is well laid out with all controls falling easily to hand. The instruments have a clear 7-inch digital display, which offers two different speedo/tacho configurations. This display and the centre screen allow you to customise the numerous features of the car. For example you can choose from five different default heights for the power tailgate opening to suit your garage height.
Set and forget items like the default height are accessed in the centre display, while more commonly used settings like deactivating it to go through a car wash, are accessed in the instrument display. This is just one of a seemingly endless list of customisations possible. The dealer has access to customise even more settings to suit your preferences, and everything is detailed in the owner’s manual in a quick reference section.
The seats are electrically powered (but with no memory) and very comfortable. They have seat heating which can operate automatically. I hate the cold, so I love this feature. Another neat touch is that the centre console storage lid can be opened either towards the passenger or towards the driver.
I like that the air conditioning has its own display and controls separate from the central display screen. All air con controls are also accessible and adjustable in the central display as well if you prefer, with some additional features available there. The air conditioning effectively cools the car on 40+ degree days, and even at maximum fan speed is very quiet. Rear seat passenger’s air vents are automatic and only operate when you put passengers, pets or groceries in the back seat. Neat.
The 10-inch centre screen is high resolution, but isn’t a touchscreen and can only be controlled by the touch controller on the transmission tunnel. The best you can say about the controller is that you get used to it, but it never becomes natural to operate. Luckily there are shortcut keys for the infotainment system scattered around the touch controller.
The large centre screen display can be split to show different combinations of information for map, climate control, fuel consumption, or media. The reversing camera has a high resolution, but doesn’t use the full centre display screen width, so you end up with only a 7-inch reversing display on a 10-inch screen. I expect this is because more expensive models use this dead space for the surround view camera display.
There are two USB ports in the centre console, so both your phone and iPod can be connected to the infotainment system at once, and there are two higher-powered USBs in the rear of the centre console for quicker charging. Android Auto was an extra cost option and integrates well, although Waze is not available even if activated. Sound quality from the DAB equipped infotainment system is very good, and Lexus include a DVD player for some bizarre reason.
Standard safety equipment includes adaptive cruise, blind-spot monitoring, autonomous emergency braking, lane centering, lane departure warning with steering assist, rear cross traffic alert, speed sign recognition (linked to cruise control) and front and rear parking sensors. The active cruise control only uses the brakes to slow for cars ahead, so it won’t use the brakes to slow the car going downhill if the speed exceeds the cruise speed set. It can bring the car to a complete stop in traffic and back up to speed again, but is a bit rough at lower speeds.
The automatic lane centering tends to bounce the car between the white lines rather than tracking the lane centre, so I don’t use it. The LED headlights are fantastic, but the auto high beam is best left off. Lexus service can customise the auto high beam to only operate above 80kph if you want.
Driving / Fuel Economy
The UX200 handles well and the 17-inch wheel/tyre combination gives a comfortable ride. Road and wind noise are well contained. The engine is smooth and near silent up to 2000rpm, but refinement drops above 3000rpm. Power is adequate, but not impressive. The CVT transmission uses a conventional first gear, but is occasionally rough when handing over to the CVT. This launch gear also doesn’t eliminate engine flaring common to most CVTs. The transmission seems to work best in ECO mode, which keeps the engine operating at its smoothest and quietest without sacrificing performance. The engine revs at an unbelievably low 1400rpm while travelling at 100kph but the CVT unobtrusively increases revs as required.
The UX200 runs on standard fuel and I have been often able to beat the manufacturer’s average claim of 5.8 litres per 100 kilometres on a regular half hour suburban run with light traffic, as reported by the on board trip computer. It is amazing that it can even do this with the air conditioning running and when it's 35 degrees outside. My average to date is 6.4L/100km calculated using actual values of kms travelled and litres purchased since new.
The engine has a stop-start system, which is mostly unobtrusive. It requires a firm shove on the brake pedal to activate, so it is easy to disable by using a little less pedal pressure when stopped. The warning message to remind you to press harder to activate the stop start system can be disabled in the instruments settings menu. While there is a dedicated off button, it has to be pressed every time you get in the car to disable the stop-start system.
The styling is mostly positive but I find it a little restrained compared to the Toyota C-HR it replaced. There is a nifty LED taillight across the full width of the rear of the car. Interior ambient lighting subtly lights up the cabin in a soft glow at night, but is not customisable. All buttons and switches are backlit. While the UX200 has electrically folding mirrors, they don’t fold automatically on the base model. My much cheaper C-HR had this handy feature.
Standard convenience items include keyless entry and start, auto lights and wipers, auto door locking/unlocking while driving, soft close front windows, electric auto retracting steering column, plush floor mats and roadside assist for the 4 year warranty period. The door bottoms are recessed into the body work, so wet and muddy sills are never transferred to the owner’s legs. The power tailgate controls can either just close the hatch, or both close the hatch and lock the car. Very handy after retrieving your shopping bags from the boot.
Being an SUV, access to the interior is easy for less able owners. Rear seat room is only average and the boot is relatively small, which is not a problem for me. While the UX200 has wireless charging, it is so slow it is virtually useless and only adds 3% charge to my phone in half an hour. The $25 wireless charger in my kitchen charges the same phone ten times faster. Both require removal of the phone case to work.
Lexus will deliver a loan car to your home and collect your car at service time, but Toyotas with the same engine/transmission are a lot cheaper to service. However my past experience with a previous Lexus is that their after sales support is stellar, so I think it is worth the extra coin. 2020 models offer capped price servicing for 3 years only, but miss out on the free service at 12 months (15000kms) that my 2019 model gets.
The Wrap Up
The only real negative was that the purchase process was less than smooth. But that one problem doesn’t dampen my enthusiasm for the UX200 and any negatives I have mentioned I consider inconsequential. I would definitely buy another Lexus UX or recommend it to anyone looking for a well built, well equipped small SUV.