Lexus unveiled at the 2018 Geneva Motor Show its new small crossover called the UX. Lexus describes it as “a free-spirited crossover crafted expressly for the modern urban explorer who seeks a fresh, contemporary and dynamic take on a luxury lifestyle.”
Starting with the exterior, the Lexus UX evokes a youthful and dynamic design. Lexus UX Chief Engineer, Chika Kako said: “Right from the start, I focused on the target customer – mid-30s, millennials, men and women – and tried to understand how they would expect a premium compact vehicle to change their lives and enable new experiences. That’s what led us to the basic vehicle concept for the UX of Creative Urban Explorer – a new genre of crossover.” Lexus has made a design that “expresses the sense of security that is expected of a crossover, but which equally communicates agility and a fun-to-drive quality with sleek, attractively condensed appearance.” The result is a distinct look that is immediately noticeable as a Lexus, with its bold spindle grille, sharp LED headlights, “arrowhead” LED daytime running lights, and a chisled bodywork. At the back, the Lexus UX’s LED tail lights are not only eye-catching, but also aerodynamically efficient, says Lexus. The rear lights utilize a single LED bar design that connects both tail lamps into a single unit, a first design trait for a Lexus. The exterior designer worked closely with each other to create a harmonious design that “seamlessly links the inside and the outside of the car.”
Lexus carefully designed the car to seamlessly integrate the exterior and the interior, considering the two aspects as a single entity. That seamlessness is defined by the UX’s instrument panel, which “appears to extend out beyond the windscreen. Conversely, seen from outside, the hood looks as though it connects directly to the instrument panel.” Lexus’ human-centric design focuses on the principle of “seat-in-control”, which gives the principal vehicle functions all to the driver. As a result, the overall design theme creates a cockpit for the driver, which wraps around the occupants to give a sense of intimacy.
The Lexus UX utilizes the brand’s new GA-C (Global Architecture-Copact) platform, which is a derivative of Toyota Motor Corporatons’ TNGA platform that underpins the new Prius and C-HR, which is highlighted by the extensive use of high-tensilte steel and new construction techniques such as Laser Screw Welding for excellent rigidity and better driving dynamics. Because of the GA-C platform, Lexus says the UX has the lowest center of gravity in its class, aided by the MacPherson Strut suspension at the front and independent Double Wishbone rear suspension that “promotes ride comfort and sharp response.”
An F Sport variant is further distinguished by its sportier bodywork, revised suspension with an Adaptive Variable Suspension system, and Active Sound Control for better engine acoustics.
Powering the Lexus UX are two powertrains. The first one is the UX 200, which uses a 2.0 liter inline-4 naturally aspirated petrol engine that produces 168 hp mated to a CVT.
The other one is the UX 250h, which uses a new, fourth generation hybrid electric system, which features a 2.0 liter inline-4 petrol engine, teamed with an electric motor and an e-CVT. Maximum total output for the hybrid system is 178 hp. The new hybrid system uses a lighter, smaller Power Control Unit, which Lexus has worked hard on to reduce power losses through heat and friction. A NiMH (nickel-metal hydride) battery is used with a more compact cooling system for better interior packaging, enabling engineers to put it below the rear seats for minimal intrusion in the trunk space. Standard on the UX 250h is an E-Four all wheel drive system, with the rear wheels solely being powered by electric motors that can send up to 80% of the hybrid system’s total power in slippery conditions at speeds of up to 70 kph.
The Lexus UX will start production this fall, with Philippine arrival to be announced soon.