REVIEW: 2020 Lexus UX 200 in Malaysia, from RM244k

The Lexus UX may not be the obvious choice when you’re looking for a compact premium crossover, but should you consider it over a Mercedes-Benz GLA or a BMW X1? Yes, yes you should, because this is easily one of the most surprising cars I’ve ever driven.

At first glance the UX may appear underpowered (2.0 NA plus CVT), too small and quirky against very established players in the same class. It may well be all of those things to varying degrees, but that doesn’t stop it from being a brilliant car. More than the sum of its parts, the UX is a prime example that you can’t judge a car based on its spec sheet alone.

Watch this video to find out how I was very pleasantly surprised by the Lexus UX, even despite its fair share of shortcomings (Remote Touch Interface(!), tiny rear seats and boot). Do you agree with my verdict? Discuss in the comments section below.

Looking to sell your car? Sell it with myTukar.

10% discount when you renew your car insurance

Compare prices between different insurer providers and use the promo code 'PAULTAN10' when you make your payment to save the most on your car insurance renewal compared to other competing services.

Car Insurance

Hafriz Shah

Preferring to drive cars rather than desks, Hafriz Shah ditched his suit and tie to join the ranks of Malaysia’s motoring hacks. A car’s technical brilliance is completely lost on him, appreciating character-making quirks more. When not writing this ego trip of a bio, he’s usually off driving about aimlessly, preferably in a car with the right combination of three foot pedals and six gears.



  • Not Toyota Fan on Aug 21, 2020 at 8:18 pm

    same technology, better buy proton x70 premium.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 19 Thumb down 11
  • Hafriz u sounded too long winded & promo in this review! I’m surprised of so many UX reviews, U are one of the rarity saying this was an ok car for 300k! Perhaps u have your validity by claiming that despite hard plastics all over behind the driver seats

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 9 Thumb down 5
    • Hafriz Shah (Member) on Aug 21, 2020 at 9:35 pm

      Like I wrote above, this car is more than the sum of its parts, and I’m genuinely a big fan of it, despite its many shortcomings (all mentioned in the review too).

      In the Malaysian context, especially, with how the comparable Mercedes, BMW and Audi models are specced, the UX shines.

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 19 Thumb down 16
      • JOACHIM on Aug 22, 2020 at 9:05 am

        In the wider international market, its specs pales vs other luxury makers.
        In our market, its spec is on par vs other luxury makers.
        Sad how even luxury makers are taking advantage of our market.

        Like or Dislike: Thumb up 10 Thumb down 1
    • Do more, pay less, fuel saving on Aug 21, 2020 at 10:39 pm

      This car with double wishbones, dynamic force engine dynamic cruise control, 10 speed d-cvt, it works like wonders

      Even the Toyota corolla comfort above the germans, lexus is simply impeccable in handling and comfort. Lexus 10speed steptronic d-cvt is a real thing that matched dual clutch speed, with more reliability.

      Lower gear ratio by d-cvt with 10 virtual gears, 6000rpm rev when u accidentally need. It’s there when u need, cornering speed and stability with confidence, beyond others

      Hard plastic? Germans also have, more or less but still there.
      Its better than raw steel, uncovered

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 10 Thumb down 9
      • autodriver (Member) on Aug 22, 2020 at 11:11 am

        Toyota comfort is above Germans maybe yes but handling and agility is not on par with German. TNGA is greater than its previous chassis but it did not outshine the German with its double wishbones.

        Besides dont make joke the eCVT is matching to dual clutch speed. Maybe you have yet sitting in Porches or Merc to feel how fast the gearshift can be.

        Talking about hard plastic, I would said the solidity of plastic material used by German is far more superior than Japanese. But we can’t blame on Japanese as those soft and less rigidity plastic is highly recyclable.

        Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 0
        • Placebo on Aug 22, 2020 at 3:58 pm

          Sudah tent Lexus is a satisfaction, dont need compare already

          Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0
        • Jonathan Khan on Aug 22, 2020 at 4:44 pm

          E-CVT is different, that one used in Lexus hybrids

          Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0
        • Jonathan Khan on Aug 22, 2020 at 4:50 pm

          Hard plastic, all same.
          Most important it can tahan malaysia weather, many Beemers plastic tend to melt over the years – it gets sticky

          Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0
  • seancorr (Member) on Aug 21, 2020 at 10:58 pm

    Wah 26 mins of advertisement haha. Yes the door cards is a total let down coming from a Lexus. There’s no bottle holder or storage pockets in the rear doors! It’s driving dynamics would very well be contributed to it’s lower center of gravity so the X2 would be a better competitor compared to the high riding X1. Can’t really compare it with the current GLA though. That Benz is well past its age and the new GLA is already unveiled so I’ll pass judgement once that fella arrives on local shores.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 3
  • Ben Yap on Aug 22, 2020 at 4:04 am

    Hidden due to lowcomment rating. Click here to see.

    Poorly-rated. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 135
  • tricycle on Aug 22, 2020 at 9:33 am

    Although I agree with what most of Hafriz said in the video with regards to this segment of vehicles in Malaysia. But I do like turbo (japanese or germans dont matter) and I don’t like CVT. CVT doesn’t give the driver confidence he/she need, when “taking” corners or going downhill. So for me these two are the only reason for not choosing the UX over other vehicles in this category.

    Other things on UX are excellent especially the adaptive cruise control assuming it can function during the traffic jam.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0
    • Hafriz Shah (Member) on Aug 22, 2020 at 11:06 am

      This particular CVT is a little different, though. It’s great even for Getting runs, which sure took me by surprise. I’m not a fan of CVTs either, but this one is an exception.

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 3
      • tricycle on Aug 22, 2020 at 8:53 pm

        Ok this is new. Maybe different kind of CVT. I should book a test drive then.

        Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0
  • Wahaha on Aug 22, 2020 at 10:03 am

    Cx5 tebu looks like a steal

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 2
  • I made the following comment in an earlier article about the UX, in response to a comment about the UX not having turbo in comparison to its peers. Re-posting.

    Turbo is not necessarily better than NA.

    In a turbo, air is pumped into the engine at very high pressure. This causes the engine to operate at a very high pressure and temperature, which causes wear and tear. In a typical turbo engine, 3 years of normal usage (25k/year) can introduce problems caused by wear and tear. These problems manifest in the form of less power and lower fuel efficiency, and not by breakdown requiring parts replacement. 4-6 years of normal usage will result in breakdowns requiring parts replacement, which is also the time when most warranties run out.

    In an NA, this engine wear and tear does not occur, as the engine operates at far lower pressures and temperatures. As such, an NA can easily last 10+ years without any significant drop in performance and fuel efficiency.

    There are good reasons to buy both Turbo and NA.
    1) If you are planning to purchase a new Turbo and dispose of it within 3-4 years, it is a perfectly good choice.
    2) If you are planning to purchase a new car that you intend to keep for 7-10 years, an NA would be a better choice
    3) If you are planning to purchase a second-hand car, it is best to stay away from Turbos.

    This then brings us to the question, why do so many manufacturers move to turbo and ditch NA?
    1) NA technology has reached its theoretical limits for power for a particular engine size. It’s no longer possible to increase power, and the current market continues to demand more power for newer models. If additional power is needed, a larger displacement is needed.
    2) NA technology has reached its theoretical limits for fuel efficiency. It’s no longer possible to achieve higher fuel efficiency without some hybrid accompaniment.
    3) Manufactures earn far higher profit margins with turbo, as the the engine size can be reduced while maintaining or increasing power output.

    Who are the manufacturers who still sell NA in the >RM100k market today?
    1) Some Hondas
    2) Most Nissans
    3) Most Toyotas
    4) Some Lexuses
    5) Most Mazdas

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 23 Thumb down 4
    • Fact check
      Mazda cx-5 NA sold more than civic turbo

      Turbo is a dinasuar, when u always like that oomph, soon your engine will be leaking
      Pre-mature aging, turbo+ direct injection combo make it worse.

      The best turbo are tgdi+mpi triple combo

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0
    • autodriver (Member) on Aug 23, 2020 at 9:31 pm

      1. Turbo is extremely hot is true that’s why there is intercooler to cold down the engine. Nowadays many NA is using direct injection and the compression ratio rate is way higher than turbo engine. Usually 13:1 while turbo usually is below 11:1. The high compression mean more heat and explosion is greater. You can see how shaky the engine can be when you open the bonnet as explosion is greater.

      2. Turbo has been exist for decades, it is not a new technology where all aircraft engines are with turbine. It is fuel economy meanwhile producing greater power than NA.

      3. Latest turbo engine basically is maintenance free and it designed to last more than 10 years or 250k km. There are many Volvo car more than 25 years are still running around. All trucks are using turbo too and many of them being used for more than 30 years old.

      4. NA is great to provide linear drive than turbo. However more and more countries implement strict emission standard and also consumer is looking for fuel saving vehicle while retain good performance. This is hard to achieved by NA engine. A 1.5T output can easily surpass the 2.5NA while remain 1.8NA fuel consumption but enjoying 1.5 road tax. Certain countries taxation based on displacement, that’s why smaller CC with turbo gain advantage over NA.

      5. All BBA and Volvo models are using turbocharged. The 320i twin-scroll turbo launching in 2012 is still running strong until today.

      6. In future Honda will likely move to turbo or small displacement paired with hybrid. Nissan is having turbo in overseas market and upcoming Almera will likely 1.0T to Malaysia.

      Conclusion – turbo and hybrid are future trend and is unavoidable. 1.5T having 2.5NA power while fuel consumption is like 1.8NA but road tax is only RM 90. How many will hold their belief to go 2.5NA still?

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 1
    • Monana on Aug 24, 2020 at 8:07 am

      Dude, are u saying this UX’s 2.0 NA engine with 169 hp and 205 Nm is the limit? Have u heard Toyota Altezza 2.0 NA with 207 hp and 216 Nm?
      You, are not the best person to be referred about car engine. “Autodriver” below you is better.
      Anyway, the general term suitable to be used here is NA vs forced induction. For forced induction, we have turbocharged and supercharged. And as mentioned by “autodriver”, reliability is not an issue in forced induction. I’m still driving a supercharged car built in 2004.

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 2
  • Programmer on Aug 23, 2020 at 1:32 am

    Why the hell it looks like Mitsubishi Eclipse X..come on la

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0
  • MingHo on Aug 23, 2020 at 5:36 pm

    Say wha’eva u like, CVT is NOT most American, British, Korean, Mazda or even me; my cup of tea. Acceleration from standstill is not CVT problem now; Honda’s CVT is good now. The main problem of CVT is mid acceleration (e.g. 30 to 90 km/h) for overtaking and this car (with NA) acceleration (30 to 90 km/h) is better than C-RV/Civic? I would love to see some drag race. Lexus SHOULD NOT be associated with CVT.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0
  • Eric Octaviano on Aug 23, 2020 at 8:46 pm

    Hi Haf

    If you are in the market for a new car, would you buy this Lexus UX or BMW 320 G ?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0
    • Datuk on Aug 24, 2020 at 1:19 pm

      hafriz already has a C class sedan, X70 suv, why need a 320?
      He more likely take the Lexus UX Cross, the lower riding Lexus NX

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0
  • Hafriz Shah (Member) on Aug 24, 2020 at 1:26 pm

    Tough choice. As my only car, probably the 320i. But as an addition, the UX would be sweet.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 1
  • Lancermania on Aug 24, 2020 at 5:52 pm

    this or Subaru XV?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

Add a comment