The all-new Lexus UX (Urban Crossover) brings advanced technology, convenient and efficient hybrid power and their radical new design language to the compact crossover SUV market.
Launched earlier this year, the UX is a city dwelling crossover that, with its sharp and somewhat dramatic lines, offers an adventurous new look and character to their increasing range of SUVs. It’s the first of their range to be built on the new lightweight ‘global architecture’ chassis and thus introduces compact size, agile performance and best-in-class turning radius.
With a comprehensive model range that runs from petrol front-wheel drive to an all-wheel-drive sports hybrid, there’s something to suit most requirements but it’s the latter that I want to talk about here. Top of the line and top of the UX tree, the UX 250h (hybrid) F-Sport comes with everything you need in the model and probably more.
Firstly let’s talk about the engine, well two of them in fact. The UX 250h’s fourth generation hybrid system combines cutting-edge technology with a new two-litre, four-cylinder petrol engine for outstanding efficiency and power. A seamless combination of electric power and fuel means that you get to enjoy the best of both worlds with Lexus Hybrid Drive, resulting in 135kW of power, 8.6s 0-100km/h and 4.7L/100km (combined). At low speeds, EV drive mode uses an electric motor for a silent and zero-emission drive. No plugging in is required either, the batteries are recharged by the engine and the brakes. It’s all very clever.
Adding to the Lexus UX’s efficiencies is its aerodynamic design. Aero stabilising wheel arch mouldings and rear combination lamps significantly reduce wind resistance for improved control and performance. On the subject of lights up front, the UX has ultra-compact LED headlights that work in tandem with the L-shaped daytime running lights and vertical illumination lines offering superior visibility and a pretty cool look in the dark. Cool lights continue inside too. The air conditioning vent knobs are illuminated with wirelessly-powered LED lights for ease of use and a funky futuristic appearance.
The rest of the UX’s cabin has been lavished in technology and premium materials. Designed to “evoke the feel of a dynamic, luxury sedan” but with the higher seating position and versatility desired in a crossover and finished in smooth leather made using sashiko, a traditional Japanese quilting technique that is also applied in the making of judo and kendo martial arts uniforms.
Behind the leather-clad steering wheel is a seven-inch. TFT LCD display meter that digitally creates realistic, analogue gauges in a three-dimensional space. A vibrant 10.3-inch screen offers convenient access to numerous vehicle features such as the high-end Mark Levinson audio, climate and navigation systems. The HUD (head up display) is full colour and very bright, handy as it projects critical information onto the windscreen.
Lexus has thrown a raft of sound-absorbing and insulating materials in all the optimal positions to ultimately create a very quiet driving experience and although boot space is limited (enough for a weekly shop), access can come via a sensor underneath the rear bumper that allows you to effortlessly open and close the rear hatch with a simple sweeping motion of your foot.
Loaded with technology and luxury but miserly with fuel, the Lexus UX 250h is a compact crossover SUV that really lives up to its name.