Lexus has officially joined the premium small crossover segment. Making its world reveal at this year's Geneva International Motor Show is the 2018 Lexus UX. It is set to take on the likes of the Audi Q2, BMW X2 and Mercedes-Benz GLA, and is aimed directly at young car buyers that want a compact luxury vehicle.
“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 luxury 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,” said Chika Kako, Chief Engineer of the UX.
Starting with the exterior, the UX features Lexus' signature styling albeit in a more compact and shapely design. The front fascia gets the brand's distinct spindle grill and sharp-looking headlights. Meanwnile, the rear gets a sleek taillight design along with muscular curves and sharp lines. Lexus also mentioned that the strip of light at the back is made up of 120 LEDs and is a world-first Lexus signature.
A plethora of new wheel designs was also made available on the new UX. It will come in four designs and will be available in 17- and 18-inch sizes. In terms of size, the 2018 UX measures 4495mm long, 1840mm wide, 1520mm tall and has a 2640mm wheelbase. Moreover, Lexus stated that the UX has the best-in-segment turning radius at 5.2 meters.
Inside, the UX features a simplistic and intricately-designed dashboard that combines high-tech and luxury styling cues. The instrument panel features a digital display while the center dash features the infotainment system. According to Lexus, the UX has a 'human-centered approach with a seat-in-control concept that focuses on operation of all principal vehicle functions around the driver'.
Smooth leather upholstery was also used in the UX inspired by Sashiko, a traditional Japanese quiliting that is also used in making kendo and judo martial arts uniforms. uniforms. The quilted leather is decorate with new perforation patterns that form mathematical curves and gradations in perfect alignment, enhancing the appearance of the seats.
Two powertrain options are available for the all-new UX. First up is a new generation hybrid system for the UX 250h. It is comprised of a 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine that is helped along by an electric motor. According to Lexus, the engine has a high thermal efficiency and output, and it comes with Lexus' new Direct-Shift CVT.
It is capable of producing a combined system output of 178 PS and can be specified in either front-wheel drive or E-Four all-wheel drive. E-Four works by placing an additional electric motor at the rear which drives the back wheels. Depending on road conditions, the system can automatically adjust power distribution between the front and rear axles for better grip / performance.
Moreover, the UX 250h uses a new nickel metal-hydride battery pack that is more compact than lithium-ion batteries. This allowed Lexus to store the battery below the rear seats so as not to affect the UX's luggage carrying capacity.
Beside the new hybrid powertrain, Lexus also introduced a new 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine for the UX 200. Exact output ratings of the new engine have yet to be released but Lexus did mention it benefits from a wide array of high-tech features. This includes intelligent variable valve-timing (VVT-iE), multi-hole direct fuel injectors, and a continuously variable oil pump and cooling system.
Beside having high-tech engines, the Lexus UX is also the first car to use a new global architecture platform called the GA-C. According to Lexus, it was purpose-built to give the UX nimble handling while at the same deliver a stable ride. It is also one of the most rigid platform made by Lexus as it made use of strong adhesives as well as Laser Screw Welding. The company also made sure it had a low center of gravity and is lightweight.
A suite of safety features will come as standard on the UX as part of the Lexus Safety System +. It comes with pre-collision system, lane-keep assist, adapative cruise control, automatic / adaptive high beam assist and road sign assist as such. It will also come with Parking Support Brake which can detect and automatically apply the brakes should another vehicle or a stationary object get in the UX's path.