IT seems somewhat oxymoronic that people want small car spirit in an SUV body, but it’s a thing. Versatility, space, safety, with a dash of lux, or as Lexus calls it; the urban explorer. The 2021 Lexus UX 200 F Sport is built to fit the bill.
It all starts with the iconic spindle grille, which continues to be the highlight of the front end of Lexus’ entire range. Sharp headlights and soft lines across the bonnet keep it humble yet classy.
The stance from the side of the vehicle is pure SUV, with pronounced fender guards, continuing out from the front lip. 18-inch F Sport alloy wheels suit the car really well, and subtle rails span the length of the rooftop. The rear of the car is also a standout.
Small little wings on the corner of the taillights are a nice touch, giving the UX 200 an aerodynamic look, with the lights connecting blade like from left to right across the tailgate. It looks fresh.
Nice and compact, the 2021 Lexus UX 200 F Sport comes in Cobalt Mica, Khaki Metal, Carnelian, White Nova, Mercury Grey, Premium Silver, Titanium, Onyx, Graphite Black, and Caliente.
When you step inside, the interior is simply wow. When we popped open the driver’s door, we took a moment to just admire the styling and colour combinations, which, in the case of our test vehicle was white and black. Boy does it look fancy.
Once you climb into the front seat, you begin to appreciate the thought and consideration Lexus has put in to the design. Firstly, the 10-way adjustable seat and steering wheel return to the predefined settings of your choice, when you start it up.
Conversely, switching the car off moves the seat back and retracts the steering wheel into the column, giving the driver ample space to get in and out. Then you have the centre armrest and console.
This literally puts the gear shifter and remote touch pad for the multimedia screen at your fingertips. The leather-wrapped steering wheel is loaded with controls, once again, minimising the need for hands moving and distractions during your drive.
One digital dial greets you in the instrument cluster, providing you with notifications when necessary. Shift your vision to the middle of the car and a driver focused 10.3-inch infotainment system offers everything you need.
A beautiful analogue clock sits to the right of this, adding an extra touch of class and timelessness to the cabin (pun intended). The infotainment system supports Apple CarPlay and Android Auto (wired), as well as Bluetooth.
There are two USB ports and a wireless phone charging pad, with the latter conveniently located behind two cup holders. There are also two USB ports in the rear for your back seat passengers.
The 2021 Lexus UX 200 F Sport is also fitted with an 8-Speaker premium sound system to pump out the tunes, and a built-in DVD player. All this driver and front passenger focus comes at the expense of those sitting in the back though.
We noted that once you’ve adjusted the front seats, there was little legroom left for adult passengers in the rear. It’s the one downside in an otherwise splendid car. A large boot area offers 424-litres with the rear seats up.
We took full advantage of that space by laying the seats flat and loaded up on flatpacks from Ikea as we updated some furniture at home, squeezing in a TV bench, shelving unit, and a few lamps, with room to spare.
A long list of safety inclusions also feature in the 2021 Lexus UX 200 F Sport, beginning with the Japanese car maker’s pre-collision system, offering pedestrian and daylight cyclist detection, adaptive cruise control, and lane keep and lane trace assist.
It also adds traffic sign recognition and adaptive high beam. We didn’t rate the adaptive cruise, lane keep assist or traffic sign recognition highly though, finding that the car would often go faster than the predefined speed set in downhill situation.
It also didn’t always detect an approaching speed sign, or even detect whether the lane was swinging away. It worked for the most part, but had random sporadic lapses in detection.
Other notable safety features include blind spot monitoring, ABS, and stability control. The 2021 Lexus UX 200 F Sport also has eight airbags and a 5-star ANCAP safety rating.
It’s powered by a 2.0-litre 4-cyclinder petrol engine, generating up 126kW of power and 205Nm of torque, pumped through a direct shift CVT transmission. It’s punchy off the line and fuel efficiency is good too, at 5.8-litres/100km.
But it’s in the handling where this car sings. MacPherson strut front suspension with trailing wishbone rear suspension makes for racetrack like steering. We found cornering around Sydney streets a breeze.
It’s just an agile car, offering genuine hatch handling in an SUV body. That’s the very thing we talked about at the beginning, delivered on the road. And Lexus have absolutely nailed it.
The 2021 Lexus UX 200 F Sport delivers it in a beautiful, classy, and complete package. It comes with a 4-year 100,000km warranty, and you can pick one up (with the optional moon roof we had in our tester) for $65,968 drive away.
Our test vehicle was provided by Lexus Australia. To find out more about the 2021 Lexus UX 200 F Sport, contact your local Lexus dealer.