The Lexus UX200 compact crossover is the brand’s smallest and most affordable entry in the United States, starting at about $33,000, less than the IS sedan line. As such, it’s the place many buyers start with the luxury arm of Toyota.

Our UX200 tester was a well optioned F-Sport grade which brings a host of sporting features both inside and out and an additional price start at $35,000. With additional options ours rang in at $42,250.

The UX200 is about the same size as the Toyota Corolla Hatch which it shares chassis and powertrain components. This means it’s powered by the same 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine and CVT which produces 169 horsepower and 151 pound-feet of torque.

The CVT is a more premium unit however, with a 10-speed programmed simulated shift algorithm that allows you to use the steering wheel mounted paddles to pretend you are shifting gears if you feel the urge. It actually works pretty well and is a lot less offensive to us than most CVTs.

Efficiency is the name of the game here with an EPA estimated 29 mpg city, 37 mpg highway and 32 mpg combined. In our week with it that is exactly what we achieved, 32 mpg. This included a healthy dose of both city driving and highway travel.

Handling is really a strong suit for the UX200. It’s chassis while built of humble beginnings has some great feeling tune in its spring, damper and bushing rates. Steering is precise and lively, the suspension firm enough to be sporting yet it has enough compliance to feel “luxury”.

It feels as solid and refined to drive as many of the more expensive Lexus models costing twice as much which is a feat. You don’t get the sense that you are in the cheap seats here at all.

The seats in fact are some of the best in the business with the F-Sport model. Sport bolstered chairs with Nu-Luxe (fake leather) feel very supportive and comfortable. With the package ours had, they are not only power adjusted but both ventilated and heated.

A sport steering wheel with perforated leather is beefy to hold on to and has those aforementioned shift paddles. It’s power tilted and telescoping. Ahead of it is a higher end instrument cluster with the famed sliding dial ring of the LF-A super car. Nice touch.

Rear seat passengers will enjoy a comfortable place that doesn’t feel too cramped in spite of the UX200 compact status. Leg room, head room and seating height were almost just right for our 5′-8” editor. Rear seat amenities include HVAC vents and two USB charging ports.

Overall we came away very impressed with the UX200 in the way it brought the Lexus driving experience down to a compact and affordable level, something other luxury brands don’t always pull off. Here you feel like you spent your money well.