Lexus Jumps Into the Subscription Fray

Steph Willems
by Steph Willems

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]

Steph Willems
Steph Willems

More by Steph Willems

Join the conversation
3 of 7 comments
  • Doug brockman There will be many many people living in apartments without dedicated charging facilities in future who will need personal vehicles to get to work and school and for whom mass transit will be an annoying inconvenience
  • Jeff Self driving cars are not ready for prime time.
  • Lichtronamo Watch as the non-us based automakers shift more production to Mexico in the future.
  • 28-Cars-Later " Electrek recently dug around in Tesla’s online parts catalog and found that the windshield costs a whopping $1,900 to replace.To be fair, that’s around what a Mercedes S-Class or Rivian windshield costs, but the Tesla’s glass is unique because of its shape. It’s also worth noting that most insurance plans have glass replacement options that can make the repair a low- or zero-cost issue. "Now I understand why my insurance is so high despite no claims for years and about 7,500 annual miles between three cars.
  • AMcA My theory is that that when the Big 3 gave away the store to the UAW in the last contract, there was a side deal in which the UAW promised to go after the non-organized transplant plants. Even the UAW understands that if the wage differential gets too high it's gonna kill the golden goose.