2019 Lexus UX250h First Drive: NXing The CT

The automotive media tends to lament crossovers replacing cars. Sure, CUVs make automakers more money, but aside from their higher seating position and available all-wheel-drive systems, they're almost universally worse than a traditional sedan or hatchback. CUVs are generally less efficient, less agile, more expensive, occasionally tough to handle in parking lots, and, oh yeah, soul-suckingly boring.

In some cases, though, we get behind the transformation, typically because the car that went away was so bad a crossover couldn't possibly be worse. The 2019 Lexus UX is one such case. Lexus' decision to effectively replace its old, unlikable, hybrid-only CT hatchback with the new UX crossover is a good one, not only because CUVs are what's popular, but because the UX is a better realized attempt at what the CT was supposed to be – a small, smart, city-friendly piece of luxury for the young buyer.

But the young buyer in question isn't necessarily an American. While Lexus will sell the 2019 UX on our side of the pond, its primary focus is customers on European city streets. In a few important ways, the UX won't appeal to American needs or sensibilities.

2019 Lexus UX
2019 Lexus UX

That's most obvious under the hood, where Lexus will offer the UX with two powertrains that lack the power needed to successfully win over American consumers. A naturally aspirated 2.0-liter four-cylinder pum...