WITH daring styling, good driving dynamics and a refined interior, the Lexus UX hybrid has emerged as an appealing alternative to the best compact SUVs on the market.

When you factor in average fuel economy of over 65mpg, plus the fact the car comes with an array of safety equipment, you’re looking at a vehicle with plenty of positives on its side.

The UX features Lexus’ fourth generation self-charging 2.0-litre petrol engine mated with two electric motors.

When combined, it delivers a total output of 176bhp, which feels punchy and allows the UX to reach 62mph from a standing start in 8.5 seconds.

Continuously Variable Transmission has been much-criticised by driving purists over the years, but this CVT system on this vehicle is better than its predecessors.

Indeed, it feels smooth and linear, working well with the engine to deliver strong acceleration through the front wheels.

On open country roads, the UX provides a more engaging and rewarding drive than some of its Lexus stablemates.

When you reach cruising speed, the ride is comfortable and composed in a similar way to the Toyota C-HR, with which it shares its platform.

It’s worth noting that the UX is a ‘self-charging’ hybrid, with a battery that regenerates as you drive the car, as opposed to one that needs to be connected to a charging point.

The electric range isn’t great, but you can crawl through a city centre or a traffic jam in EV mode.

The steering is weighty and sharp, there’s plenty of grip in tighter corners, and body roll is well-contained.

The car’s agility is aided by a low centre of gravity and the Active Corner Assist system, which applies the necessary braking on the inside wheels to nullify understeer when cornering.

In terms of looks, the UX has an eye-catching appearance and a highly-distinctive silhouette.

Slim headlights either side of the signature grille give the car’s front end a purposeful look.

Bold creases and chiselled lines in the bodywork flow towards the distinctive sloping rear end, with the UX looking more car-like than any of its small SUV rivals.

Once inside, the interior offers all the style and elegance you come to expect from Lexus.

There’s plenty of quality leather and plastics alongside smartly-designed controls.

The smooth leather seats are designed using a geometric perforation pattern and use traditional Japanese Sashiko stitching techniques. It all feels very elegant.

The graphics on the 10.25-inch infotainment screen are crystal clear, but the remote touchpad makes it tricky to use.

There’s no need to worry about troublesome cables with the availability of a Qi-compatible wireless charger, allowing you to charge a device such as a smartphone simply by placing it on the charger.

Up front, there’s no shortage of leg and head room, but things get a little tighter in the rear seats, while the boot is very much on the small side.

You feel the space in the rear, especially in terms of headroom, has paid the price for the sloping roofline which gives it such pleasing aesthetics.

The UX hybrid is equipped as standard with the advanced second generation Lexus Safety System+, including five-star Euro NCAP Rating, Dynamic Radar Cruise Control, Pre Collision System, Automatic High Beam, Road Sign Recognition, Lane Departure Alert and Lane Tracing Assist.

In conclusion, this is a bold car that challenges much of what has gone before in this segment. That means it’s a great option for anyone who wants something unusual in terms of the styling and powertrain.

Lexus UX F Sport with Premium Plus 
PRICE: £33,905 on the road
ENGINE: Two-litre petrol electric hybrid
TRANSMISSION: CVT with manual mode, driving front wheels
ECONOMY: 65.7mpg
EMISSIONS: 103g/km
PERFORMANCE: 0-62mph in 8.5 seconds and top speed of 110mph