By Sibusiso Mkhwanazi
If you are looking to stand out in the premium crossover crowd dominated by the likes of the Mercedes-Benz GLA, BMW X2, Audi Q3 and Volvo XC40s of this world, then buy yourself an eye-catching Lexus UX 250h F-Sport.
From the get-go, you are attracted by its prominent and unorthodox lines, cutting a bold figure in a sea of more traditionally styled crossovers. One of the most noticeable design cues is how the rear lights protrude from the car in an unusual manner. This alone means it is in a design class of its own, like wearing a formal blazer without a shirt.
During our week-long test drive, our jaunts to drop-off and collect the rent-frees at school, buy groceries and to show it off at a birthday party, we travelled in real luxury, thanks to F-Sport seats up front and comfortable seats for the passengers at the back.
The Mark Levinson sound system proved to be more than sufficient as its nine speakers emitted clear Amapiano sounds, as well as being used for GPS prompts. Depending on which device you have, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto make light work of connectivity.
As to be expected, the standard dual-zone climate control is a relationship saver, as couple tend to operate at varying temperatures. Mate this to front seats with heating and cooling, as well as keyless entry and starting, this cabin is one of the most welcoming.
There are very few curves on the exterior of this line, as it is dominated by sharp and intentional lines, all attracting curious eyes as you drive.
At the front, our Madder Red test car had a larger-than-life vertical mesh pattern on it, with a centred Lexus badge, ensuring that onlookers know it no run of the mill design.
The rear is where the loudest statement is made by the Lexus UX, as the rear lights protrude outside of the body. No other car in this segment even comes close to being this eccentric, a welcomed feature during a time when most crossovers tend to look similar. Add 18-inch alloy wheels and you have a winner.
Whether you are overtaking on the highway or taking it slowly in urban settings, the combination of a 2-litre naturally aspirated engine and an electric motor never leave you lacking for more oomph, as 135kW of power and 188Nm of torque are always sufficient.
This combo is one of the most compelling reasons to purchase the UX 250h, as it saw the car return an average fuel consumption of 6.1l/100km, saving a number of trips to the fuel station. This is especially important now, at a time when the price of fuel is ever soaring.
What also works wonders is one of the most pleasurable CVT transmissions in use today. It is so smooth you end up not knowing when it changed gears, a trait other manufacturers can learn from.
The Adaptive Variable Suspension works wonders on all surfaces, as it turns cornering into an adventure and straight-line driving is a breeze, at any pace.
For the special ones
Retailing at R910,000 the Lexus UX 250h F-Sport is a well-balanced crossover that ticks a number of boxes, but you will have to contend with a sensitive mouse-style pad to control the infotainment, as well as a small than average boot. If you can overlook those minor issues, this one is for you, the special one.
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