Behind closed doors and in secret Whatsapp groups, tech designers are snickering at Lexus’ newest compact crossover, calling it ‘User Experience’ instead of its given name; we think. Its official name, though, stands for Urban Explorer and its purpose cannot be more obvious.
Fabricated on the GA-C (Global Architecture-Compact) Platform, the UX’s design is an interesting one. The brand-defining spindle grille on the UX is moulded with a new three-dimensional design that appears to change with the viewing angle, albeit only for the Urban and Luxury trim.
The dramatic curves and acute angles do more than make this Lexus look cute. They aren’t just for show; these features exist for aerodynamic purposes. As an example, the wheel arches do more than protect the body from stone-spray, it also guides air over the wheel arches to the shoulder lines. The air then flows over the rear wheel arch and past the Aero Stabilising Blade Lights. Lexus claims that this aids in the vehicle’s stability around corners and through crosswinds by reducing lift and turbulence.
The UX 200 Urban has another aero advantage over the other two. Its 17-inch wheels are designed with flaps along the spoke edges to reduce wind resistance and ventilate the disc brakes. The UX with Luxury and F Sport trims runs on 18-inch wheels wrapped with run-flat tyres.
Just as it is outside, the interior of the Lexus UX is appropriately stylish. Inspired by the LC500, all essential functions are angled towards the driver. In the middle of the dashboard sits a 10.3-inch widescreen display (7.3-inch only for Urban) linked to a touchpad on the transmission tunnel called the Lexus Remote Touch Interface. The touchpad can also recognise Roman block letters that allows you to write instead of selecting alphabets on the display screen.
The UX can also interface with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. Lexus Premium Audio system comes as standard, albeit the Urban comes with six speakers while the rest comes with eight speakers. Those with Luxury and F Sport trims have the convenience of wireless charger embedded under the dashboard, on top of the 12V sockets.
The UX 200 Luxury features a new trim finish inspired by a kind of Japanese paper known as washi, which you’ll find on the dashboard. The UX 200 Luxury also features a traditional Japanese quilting technique known as Sashiko. It is not just having up to 10 stitches per inch that make the seats unique, but also the way the perforation in the leather is mathematically calculated for optimum ventilation.
Supplying motivation to the UX is a 2.0-litre Dual VVT-i engine that produces 169hp and 205Nm. The engine is mated to a 10-speed Direct-Shift CVT that has a mechanical first gear, which is said to provide a livelier acceleration. As a result, the UX accomplishes the 0-100kph in 9.2 seconds; fuel economy is rated at 6.2l/100km (or, 16.1km/l)
As mentioned earlier, the UX rides on the GA-C platform, which employs MacPherson front struts and multi-link double wishbone suspension for better ride and handling. The F Sport spec gets upgraded with the Adaptive Variable Suspension (AVS) that is said to be smoother on bumpy roads and rigid around corners.
The Lexus UX is packed with active and passive safety systems. The Lexus Safety System+ consists of tech that bestows the UX with semi-autonomous functions. Pre-Collision System (PCS), Dynamic Radar Cruise Control with Stop & Go, Lane Tracing Assist and Adaptive High-beam System. On top of that, the UX also fitted with Blind Spot Monitor with Rear Cross Traffic Alert and a Panoramic View Monitor.
Prices for the UX starts from RM243,888 (Urban), RM283,888 (Luxury) and RM299,888 (F Sport). As with all Lexus, the UX comes with a five-year warranty with unlimited mileage.
We had a short run with the Lexus UX during its launch; first impressions will be up soon.