By on September 12, 2018

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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7 Comments on “Lexus Jumps Into the Subscription Fray...”


  • avatar
    Lightspeed

    This is the car companies’ tacit admission that their cars offer no compelling reason to own them – no character, no style, no elegance, no substance.

  • avatar
    I_like_stuff

    I’m still not sure how this highly touted subscription program is any different than a lease. Yeah you get insurance as part of the payment. Big deal. Chances are you could get a better insurance rate from Geico or something similar on your own.

    A true subscription program would be I pay $X to Lexus (or Volvo or whichever company announced next) and every month I go to the dealer and get a different car. That would be VERY cool. But just paying a fixed monthly fee to drive 1 car for 2 or 3 years is nothing revolutionary. Are people so easily swayed by new marketing terms that they scoff at a lease but jump up and down with glee at a “subscription”?

    What this really does is take away negotiating power away from consumers. This is the Carmax model. No negotiating, with absurdly high prices for one and all. Thanks but no thanks.

  • avatar
    R Henry

    Subscription programs are a dumb idea that has no future. That a firm as savvy as Toyota/Lexus is willing to through good money at this bad prospect is disheartening.

  • avatar
    APaGttH

    Now that Toyota is doing it, this is going to be the bestest most amazingest wowie idea – evah.

  • avatar
    ajla

    A tiny, cladded Lexus with the drivetrain of a Corolla.

    What a time to be alive.

  • avatar
    28-Cars-Later

    Did Melody Lee write this? Has a bit of an “as if” vibe to it.

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