Founded almost thirty years ago, Lexus immediately established themselves as a premium vehicle marque that made luxury, craftsmanship and technology much more attainable. What they arguably lost in kerbside appeal they more than made up with, in driveability and overall, the way you felt when behind the wheel. In 2012, Lexus made a design shift that embraced its roots and challenged its creativity both in outward image and underlined technology. Their new face looked towards the future and the range expanded on premium SUVs and hybrid powertrains.
This year sees this tide of change move further still, with the introduction of the all-new UX. The UX, or Urban Crossover, is just that, it’s for urbanites that enjoy hatchback handling yet welcome a loftier road stance.
The design brainchild of Chika Kako-san, the UX focuses on four key strengths, design (obviously), aerodynamics, interior character lines and above all, craftmanship. The exterior sports a unique front grille yet is unmistakably Lexus, triple beam headlamps, LED DRLs. The UX has flared wheel arches that offer form and aerodynamic function (the overall compact SUV has a drag co-efficient of 0.33) and the rear makeup boasts a roofline spoiler and full with 132 LED lights that taper down to 3mm in the centre. The boot could be bigger but it still took six grocery bags with ease. There are a variety of new colours on offer but mine came in a stunning ‘Celestial’ blue.
The interior looks refined and uncluttered but there’s much more than meets the eye. Firstly my F-Sport edition came with flare red bucket seats that have been inspired (or is that stolen?) by the ones housed inside the LC 500, they’re embossed too. The instrument cluster is low, increasing the sense of space, but the head-up display is bold and bright. The air vents feature a wirelessly illuminated control knob, the F-Sport as an exclusive analogue clock, there can be stitching design taken from martial arts uniforms and the tactile dashboard mimics Waashi, a traditional paper texture. Told you it was premium.
The UX looks good, the light dances well on the body and it is a wonderful drive to match. It feels great on the open road and has a class-leading turning circle of 10.4m to navigate urban life. Powertrains are petrol (126kW/205Nm) and since it’s Lexus, Hybrid (135kW). Ample acceleration for the city and a 10-speed direct-shift CVT transmission that moves nicely.
It’s quiet on the inside, thanks to particular attention from the noise-cancelling team and when it comes to safety and driving aids, well it’s almost endless. Lane trace assist to keep you between the lines (even when there aren’t any), rear cross traffic alert, adaptive cruise control, traffic sign recognition – I really could go on, basically their Safety System+ is Standard.
I have only had a taste of the UX so far, but it’s easy to see its merit. As its name suggests, the UX crosses the bridge between urban and country life, with easy manoeuvrability and longer run comfort but more importantly it somehow ‘crosses over’ the Lexus of old and new. Modern design and technology, interlaced with heritage and craftsmanship, the UX is an easy way to elevate your status.