The ‘crossover’ body-style is immensely popular in today’s car buying world, and it’s easy to understand why. Blending the elevated ride height of an SUV and the practicality of an MPV with a hatchback-esque silhouette is an unmissable recipe. Crossovers come in all shapes and sizes, but luxury Japanese marque Lexus hasn’t offered a compact SUV crossover as an alternative to the Audi Q andQ3, BMW X1 and X2, Jaguar E-Pace or Mercedes GLA – until now. The forthcoming Lexus UX changes all that and we’ve rounded up six reasons why it excites us.
1. The new Lexus UX will look visually awesome
‘UX’ stands for ‘urban explorer’ and Lexus’ designers are brave and inspired, the exterior styling of the brand’s new small SUV crossover eclipsing even its previously radical NX sibling. Unveiled at the 2018 Geneva International Motor Show, the UX looks tough, strong and futuristic and is certain to stand out from the urban crowd. The front spindle grille is huge and aggressive, flanked by equally evocative air intakes and sleek headlamps. In side profile, the UX boasts highly accentuated lines, while the sculpted vibe continues at the rear where Lexus has incorporated gorgeous single-bar lighting that joins the brake light clusters on each corner.
2. The UX promises a new type of driving experience
Thanks to the new GA-C global architecture platform that Lexus is building the UX on, it’s set to feature the lowest centre of gravity in the prestige compact crossover segment and will wow drivers with its truly engaging, hatchback-like driving experience. An impressively rigid body and sporty proportions translate into handling thrills typically associated with smaller, low-slung cars, equipping the new Lexus to truly represent a compelling alternative to the ‘ultimate driving machine.’
3. It’ll be gorgeous inside too
Fine Japanese craftsmanship has always been a hallmark of Lexus’ exquisite interiors and the new UX crossover’s customisation list will include traditional sashiko leather seats along with fresh trim choices inspired by the delicate grain of high quality paper doors called ‘shoji’. Ideal for four occupants, Lexus’ baby SUV will incorporate gorgeous trick illuminated air vents plus piano key-inspired controls into the interior. The UX’s cockpit is driver-focussed with strong visibility of both the high definition instrumentation and world outside, helping eke enjoyment out of every moment. Switchgear inspired by Lexus’ LFA supercar will get keen drivers’ pulses racing while the supreme levels of comfort, safety and technology such as the widescreen infotainment system and touchpad will delight passengers.
4. The UX is a Lexus so the engines will be creamily smooth
Two brand new engines will be available for Lexus’ small premium SUV initially. The first is the UX 200, a naturally-aspirated (no turbo) 2-litre petrol engine producing 168hp that will be mated to a new Direct-Shift CVT transmission and is tipped to be lively and responsive yet efficient. Lexus is renowned for leading the way in hybrid power and the self-charging UX 250h hybrid sees the same petrol engine incorporated into the brand’s latest fourth-generation hybrid drive system alongside an electric motor and battery. Generating a combined output of 176hp, the Lexus UX 250h will also benefit from the E-Four all-wheel drive system courtesy of a second electric motor at the rear.
5. Lexus’ engineers have given the UX some really clever tech
The UX’s cutting-edge hybrid powertrain is intelligently connected to the car’s navigation system enabling it to proactively optimise the hybrid system’s characteristics, adapting its responsiveness and other variables depending on driving style, route and weather conditions. Acknowledging that not everyone likes CVT gearboxes, Lexus has gone to great lengths to ensure that its new Direct Shift transmission will provide linear acceleration by incorporating an extra gear-set, while F Sport-trimmed variants of the UX are set to feature Active Sound Control plus Sonic Interaction Design technology to make this engaging hatchback-like crossover sound like both a traditional automatic and a more powerful car.
6. Impressively protecting its occupants and other road users
Safety is a key feature of the UX, too, with automatic emergency braking, forward collision warning, road sign recognition, pedestrian and cyclist detection fitted as standard, while the Lexus CoDrive pack provides adaptive cruise control, lane tracing assist and adaptive cruise control. Even the fin incorporated into the rear combination light has safety in mind, helping stabilise the car in crosswinds.
With dramatic looks sure to get one’s heart racing, a sumptuous, tech-packed and driver-focussed interior with some truly unique touches, plus the latest hybrid engines from the technology’s original pioneers, the new UX compact crossover from Lexus really will provide a compelling option for those seeking a small premium SUV that is fun to drive. It’s set to appear in the UK in early 2019 and is likely to be priced similarly to the segment’s current European offerings.
Register your interest in the UX with Inchcape Lexus to be kept up-to-date with details on this immensely exciting new model.