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Refreshed 2023 Lexus UX is now a hybrid-only proposition

The refreshed 2023 Lexus UX family has arrived and it gets several key updates on the driving experience and multimedia fronts. For better handling, the crossover gets 20 extra spot welds on the body to improve structural rigidity, a retuned electronic power steering system, and revised shock absorbers. New 18-inch alloy wheels with freshly developed Bridgestone tires from the factory have been added to further cut noise and vibration.

For the U.S. market, the 2023 Lexus UX 250h will be the only model on sale, making the hybrid powertrain standard. The outgoing car was powered by a 2.0-liter four-cylinder coupled to three electric motors, a nickel-metal-hydride battery, and a planetary gear set for a total system output of 181 hp. This should carry over unchanged as will the car’s standard e-AWD system. A newer version of this hybrid system is already in use on the European-spec Toyota Corolla Cross Hybrid with more powerful electric motors and a smaller and lighter lithium-ion battery. That version is more potent at 197 hp combined.

There aren’t many tweaks to the car’s exterior styling. The most obvious ones are the 18-inch wheels and black accents in the lower front fascia just below the headlights, which mimic the new RZ 450e. Lexus also dumped the L logo with the blue highlights in favor of a traditional one. Also gone are the hybrid badges on the lower portion of the rear doors and the blue UX 250h badge on the liftgate. Body-colored fender flares have also replaced the black plastic ones from the pre-facelift model.

The F Sport model gets some significant updates for improved handling. You can now get the F Sport Handling package, which adds performance dampers and the Adaptive Variable Suspension. The latter keeps the UX 250h stable through corners and absorbs excess shock on all road surfaces. Lexus says this should result in enhanced steering response, stability, and ride comfort. The steering gear now comes with bracing for improved steering response. Also included on the F Sport Handling package are F Sport seats, steering wheel, shifter, meters, and pedals. Heating and ventilation for the front seats are optional and are bundled together with the driver’s seat memory function.

Perhaps the most major upgrade to the UX is the new Lexus Interface infotainment system. Available with an 8.0- or 12.3-inch touch screen, this system first appeared on the new NX and LX and will also go on the RZ 450e. It features a virtual assistant that can be toggled by saying “Hey Lexus.” The system also understands natural speech, enabling you to easily do things like change the climate controls or input navigation directions by voice. Like the Toyota version, the Lexus Interface also includes wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, Google points-of-interest data, and over-the-air (OTA) update capability.

On the safety front, the 2023 UX 250h gets the Lexus Safety System+ 2.5 suite of collision prevention and driver assistance features. This includes the same contents as the outgoing Lexus Safety System+ 2.0 but it now gets improved front collision prevention features, better lane centering, and slows down ahead of curves when adaptive cruise control is active. New features include evasive steering assist, daytime cyclist detection, low-light pedestrian detection, and intersection assist. That final feature allows the forward collision warning and front automatic emergency braking system to work at intersections and hit the brakes if it sees a pedestrian or another vehicle coming.

On sale by late summer, the 2023 Lexus UX 250h will remain the entry point to the brand’s vehicle lineup. Lexus hasn’t revealed pricing yet but don’t expect it to change much versus the current car.

Written by Stefan Ogbac
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