The new Lexus UX has made its world debut after being unveiled as the brand’s first ever compact luxury crossover at the 2018 Geneva Motor Show. Specifically aimed at those in their 30s, its contemporary design will undoubtedly be relevant to the young urban car buyers.
It’s the first Lexus to use the brand’s GA-C (Global Architecture–Compact) platform; consisting of a super-rigid structure with the lowest center of gravity compared to any vehicle in its class.
The Lexus UX will be available in two versions: the UX 200 packs 168 hp from a 2.0-litre, four cylinder engine linked to a Direct Shift CVT gearbox while the UX250h delivers a combined 176 hp, pairing the same 2.0-litre engine with a hybrid drive system called the Predictive Efficient Drive that’s able to learn and adapt to the owner’s driving habits.
Unlike conventional CVT transmissions, the Lexus Direct Shift CVT uses an additional gearset that reduces the need for the CVT’s pulleys and belt to be used for moving the car from a stop, giving the UX a quicker, more linear acceleration feeling.
As for the UX250h, its batteries and cooling system are located under the rear seats to maximise cabin and cargo space. The E-Four system gives the UX 250h all-wheel drive capabilities by using an additional electric motor on the rear axle. When the rear-wheel loses grip, power sent to the rear is increased to around 80 per cent, at speeds up to 70km/h, for better traction.
Contributing to the exceptional driving agility is the combination of MacPherson front suspension with a double wishbone system at the back. There’s also an Electronic Power Steering System that offers immediate response to the driver’s steering input.
Being the smallest Lexus SUV, the appeal of the UX is its size and at a mere 4.5 metres long, it’s sure to offer maneuverability through tight spaces and convenience of parking. The compact exterior is enveloped with Lexus’ signature Spindle Grille, front and rear fender flares, Lexus’ L-shaped lighting signature with daytime running lights.
The back houses a new Lexus signature – full-width taillights that project a distinctive night time display formed by 120 LEDs that taper toward the center, measuring just 3mm thick at its narrowest point. 17 and 18-inch wheel options will be available, with the five-spoke 17-inch design said to increase the airflow to cool the brakes – having been through computer simulations and wind tunnel tests.
Inside, Lexus drew inspiration from centuries-old Japanese traditions in craftsmanship. Visibility is key in the Lexus UX – the upper section of the instrument panel appears to extend out beyond the windshield, giving the driver an excellent field of vision and a clear sense of the vehicle’s dimensions.
The instrument panel’s low, unobtrusive design and slim A-pillars are also shaped to improve visibility. The UX gives the driver a commanding view of the road as is expected from owning a crossover without compromising its sporty driving position.
On the safety front, the UX is offered with the Lexus Safety System+ which includes a Pre-Collision System (PCS). There’s also the Lexus Co DRIVE that features Lane Tracing Assist, Adaptive Cruise Control, Automatic High Beam and Adaptive High-beam System.
An F SPORT variant is also available for the both UX 200 and UX250h. The package includes a F SPORT suspension tuning, Adaptive Variable Suspension System (AVS), a different rear bumper design, 18-inch alloy wheels and black trims in the front and rear bumpers.
Inside, the F SPORT comes with front sports seats with extra support, Active Sound Control (ASC) for more dramatic up and downshifts, Sonic Interaction Design (SID) that adjusts the engine sound in Sport S+ mode, a signature F SPORT instrument cluster, F SPORT steering wheel, an eight-inch TFT color display and sports aluminum pedals and footrest.