Lexus Jumps Into the Subscription Fray

Steph Willems
by Steph Willems
lexus jumps into the subscription fray

No doubt courting Millennials who’ve grown used to bundled costs, Lexus plans to offer its new subcompact crossover — hey, something else Millennials seem to like! — for an all-in-one monthly payment. The vehicle, the insurance, and the maintenance are all covered by a no-haggle price over a two-year term.

Lexus hasn’t listed what the monthly prices might look like, but its UX crossover isn’t the first vehicle to see a subscription-style lease treatment. Volvo popularized the idea with its recent XC40 crossover, also targeted at young, urban professional types with stable incomes and an aversion to dealership salespeople.

As the smallest of the Lexus utility vehicle line, the UX bears the edgy styling of its larger NX and RX siblings and comes pretty well equipped, with a single transmission and two flavors of the same engine on offer. Pricing starts at $32,000 (before destination) for a UX 200.

There’s also a UX 250h model, this one with an electric motor assisting the 2.0-liter gas inline-four. Going hybrid adds the all-wheel drive you can’t get on the base model, as well as a slight boost in power (175 combined horsepower versus the UX 200’s 169 hp and 151 lb-ft). It warrants a $2,000 markup — the same price as the (*gulp*) F Sport variant, which can also be had in hybrid/AWD guise for a corresponding price increase.

Lexus annoyingly characterizes the UX as just the right tool for “the modern, urban explorer.” Ugh. Toyota Motor Corp’s Millennial marketing pitches, even in this more rarified air, often churns the stomach. Reviews of the UX pouring in from Sweden, where a first-drive event just wrapped up, are mixed. The powertrain (minus the AWD and electric motor) sounds pretty much identical to that of the 2019 Toyota Corolla Hatchback we tested back in April, right down to the direct-shift continuously variable automatic. Weighing more than that car, it seems the thing’s not exactly a catapult-launched warplane.

Anyway, that’s neither here nor there. We’ll put the UX through its paces when it shows up at one of our doors. Lexus calls this new way of leaving the dealer with a car the Lexus Complete Lease, which goes live in the first quarter of 2019. Applied only to the UX upon its debut, the new lease bundles all those aforementioned things into a nice, easy package, sparing you from the having to speak with an insurance provider. Who provides the coverage for this two-year lease? Unknown.

Again, as Lexus hasn’t detailed lease pricing, there’s no way of knowing whether lessees stand to get a bargain with their monthly payment, or if they’d be better off looking elsewhere for entry-level premium transportation.

[Images: Lexus]

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  • ToolGuy VW (marque not group) and Tesla very nearly switched positions on a YTD basis.
  • RHD Inexpensive gasoline appears to be a thing of the past. ILO is correct - we have enough sunlight, wind and emerging ocean wave energy to power the entire country and then some. Clean air is nice, and being free of the whims of OPEC, geopolitics and hugely profitable oil companies will do all of us a world of good.
  • Raymond Segura Can you tell me where I can get the rear bumper for 69 impala?
  • Art Vandelay some of the crazy numbers I get. Percentages look bigger with any fluctuations with low volume makes and brands leaving the market will see massive month over month changes. But what’s with Buick? I still see the occasional ad on TV and yet the drop is disproportionate even compared to all the other GM brands.
  • Master Baiter "There is no mandate for consumers to buy EVs, not in any country or state. That’s made up."Right. And you are not mandated to purchase a toilet that only uses 1.6 gallons/flush. You could choose to not have a toilet--just go in the woods, like the bears do.