Lexus Turns Urban Explorer with new UX Compact Crossover

Luxury brand finally fills hot-selling hole in its line-up.

by on Mar.07, 2018

The new Lexus UX 250h launched today at the Geneva Motor Show.

Lexus is making the jump into the compact crossover, or urban crossover as it calls it, with the new UX that made its debut in Geneva.

In addition to being the luxury brand’s first entry in the hot-selling compact utility segment, the UX is the first vehicle to uses the brand’s new GA-C, or Global Architecture – Compact, platform. The new base is extremely rigid and has a low center of gravity improving the ride and handling of the new UX.

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Having the ability to move in-and-out of spaces quickly and authoritatively while being easy to park makes it ideal for a city commuter, hence the “urban” crossover.

“The first-ever Lexus UX is designed for the modern urban explorer seeking a fresh, contemporary and dynamic take on luxury driving,” said Chika Kako, executive vice president of Lexus International and chief engineer of the UX.

(Lexus releases first look at new UX urban crossover. Click Here for the story.)

“We designed the UX to appeal to buyers in their 30s who seek not only what is new and exciting, but what is also relevant to their lifestyles.”

The new Lexus UX features the well-known "spindle" grille with elements that almost look 3-D.

The 2019 Lexus UX will be available in two versions: a gasoline-powered model and a hybrid. The UX 200 introduces a new 2.0-liter, four-cylinder engine paired with a new Direct-Shift continuously variable transmission (CVT).

The UX 250h pairs the same 2.0-liter gas engine with a new fourth generation hybrid-drive system. New technology that networks with navigation allows the UX 250h to proactively optimize hybrid operation by learning, and adapting to the driver’s routes and driving habits.

Those driving habits can be improved with a vehicle whose proportions allow for easy maneuverability. The UX boasts a best-in-segment 34-foot turning circle. A 103.9-in. wheelbase contributes to a smooth, stable ride and cabin roominess, while the 177-inch length lets the Lexus UX easily slip into convenient “compact only” parking spaces.

The new UX can also be equipped with the brand’s F Sport suspension system and can be combined with a UX-tailored version of the high-response Adaptive Variable Suspension system that increases damping force to minimize roll when cornering or changing lanes and reduces damping force in straight line driving to preserve ride quality. When AVS is fitted, it is linked to the Sport S+ mode in the vehicle’s Drive Mode Select system.

(Click Here for more about Lexus downsizing with new UX crossover.)

The Lexus UX fills a hot-selling hole in the luxury brand's line-up: compact luxury crossovers.

The new model borrows is exterior styling from the new RX and the brand’s new styling directive, which is to be less staid and more aggressive. Featuring the newest iteration of the spindle grille, the vehicle’s front and rear fenders are flared to give it a dramatic presence.

The aforementioned spindle grille uses a new block-shape mesh pattern with individual elements that gradually change in shape as they radiate out from the central Lexus emblem, almost providing a 3-D effect, according to the maker.

Entering and exiting the UX is made easier through optimal placing of the hip-point and unique shaping of the seat cushion. The “human-centered” approach continues behind the steering wheel. The instrument panel’s low design and slim A-pillar moldings improve visibility, giving the driver a “commanding view” of the road, which is expected from a crossover, but a driving position more like that in a hatchback.

A “seat-in-control” concept focuses operation of all key vehicle functions and technology around the driver’s side of the cabin. There’s plenty of technology in the Lexus UX, and here again, the human-centered design approach makes it all easily accessible. One example is the integration of audio switches into a palm rest on the center console.

Lexus's new "urban crossover" is designed to make city driving easier.

Another is that each of the UX’s air vents uses a new single-knob control for airflow direction and volume while the vents themselves are illuminated using a new wireless system. By combining the two functions in a single control, the vents could be made larger, improving their effectiveness. Each control’s LED light source is wirelessly powered using electromagnetic resonance between two coils vibrating at the same frequency.

(For more about Lexus setting industry pace in long-term dependability, Click Here.)

The UX 200 and UX 250h will start production this fall and go on sale in the U.S. in December. Pricing will be announced closer to the on-sale date.

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