This luxury urban compact crossover is aimed directly at younger buyers.
Only a few weeks after luxury compact crossover has its North American reveal at the 2018 New York Auto Show. The UX is a major reveal for the Japanese luxury automaker as it seeks to branch out to younger buyers. “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.
To further that appeal, the UX will be offered in two powertrains, the UX 200 and the UX 250h. If you recall, these are the exact same trim levels, engine and transmission options as the global UX we saw at Geneva. As a recap, the UX 200 is powered by a new 2.0-liter inline-four with 168 hp and 151 lb-ft of torque and paired to an also new CVT that delivers power to the front wheels. This is not a turbocharged engine, but does feature injection technology. F Sport models receive a sportier body kit, paddle shifters, tuned suspension, and an available damping system. Those who want AWD will need to opt for the UX 250h, powered by an Atkinson Cycle version of the same 2.0-liter.
However, it's teamed up with a hybrid system for a total of 176 hp and 133 lb-ft. Power is sent to all four wheels through an eAWD system that adds an electric motor to the rear axle. This allows for power distribution between the front and rear axles to automatically be optimized when cornering, accelerating or driving slippery services. The UX 250h also offers something called Predictive Efficient Drive, a system capable of analyzing driving habits as well as road and traffic conditions to determine when to optimize charging and discharging of the nickel metal-hydride battery. Lexus claims the UX 250h will deliver an estimated 38 mpg combined while the UX 200 is estimated at 33 mpg combined.
The UX is intended to be a replacement of sorts for the , and judging by looks alone the new crossover already has tons more appeal. Having already seen it in the flesh, we can say the exterior styling works well here, with that large spindle grille prominently displayed. Out back, the taillights have nighttime signature formed by a sequence of 120 LEDs. Lexus promises a dynamic driving experience thanks to a MacPherson strut front suspension and double wishbone rear suspension. Partly because of its intended audience, the UX comes standard with Apple CarPlay, and also features Amazon Alexa integration.
The overall interior design is actually a bit more conservative than the exterior, but it works well. Some advanced safety systems include lane trace assist, radar cruise control and pre-collision warning. The 2019 Lexus UX 200 and UX 250h will go on sale next December in dealerships across the US with prices, presumably starting at around $30,000, will be announced later. The UX will also be the first Lexus ever to be offered through a subscription service, details of which will also come later. Its debut here is marked in collaboration with RxArt, a non-profit helping seriously ill children by bringing art to their hospital spaces.