It is a lede we have revealed time and time once more in recent times: Clients love crossovers, particularly ones with luxurious badges on the nostril, so a premium automaker is introducing a smaller, extra reasonably priced one. This time, it is the 2019 Lexus UX, which arrives within the US this December to fit on the backside finish of the corporate’s vary.
Like a number of its rivals, the UX is geared toward the kind of urban-dwelling younger individuals whom demographers imagine need automobiles for journey slightly than, properly, driving. “A automobile that’s versatile for his or her way of life is extra vital to them than horsepower,” says Cynthia Tenhouse, Lexus normal supervisor of product and shopper advertising. And, positive sufficient, the UX is none-too-exciting from behind the wheel. However its luxurious appointments, beneficiant function set and enticing value ought to greater than make up for any dynamic downfalls.
Small constructing blocks, massive fashion
The UX builds on Toyota’s GA-C (International Structure Compact) modular platform and is intently associated to the reasonably priced C-HR. In contrast with that crossover, nevertheless, the UX’s subcompact chassis will get further laser welding and structural adhesives to extend rigidity. The doorways, hood and entrance fenders are constructed from aluminum and the liftgate from polymers, all to avoid wasting weight. At 177 inches lengthy sitting on a 103.9-inch wheelbase, the UX is 5.Three inches shorter than the NX, Lexus’ next-biggest crossover.
It is simply as fairly as different Lexus crossovers, which is to say the UX is an acquired style. The chunky, plastic-clad fenders are supposed to add some toughness, whereas Lexus’ acquainted large spindle grille dominates the nostril. The place so many new luxurious automobiles are provided in black, silver and white, the UX’s palette is pleasantly various, with such choices as Nori Inexperienced, Cadmium Orange and Autumn Shimmer.
The most effective styling aspect are the taillight assemblies. These three-dimensional components in conjunction with the physique function practical air guides (contributing to a very good Zero.33 drag coefficient) and are linked by a Three-millimeter-thick full-width LED aspect. It appears particularly slick once you comply with a UX at nighttime. Go for the F Sport mannequin to nab a distinct grille design, a distinct entrance fascia with inset fog lights and distinctive 18-inch wheels (plus varied inside and mechanical tweaks I will focus on momentarily).
The styling is daring from each angle — particularly in a extra daring coloration like this one.
Two engine choices are provided. The UX 200 makes use of a 2.Zero-liter inline-four rated for 169 horsepower and 151 pound-feet of torque, with front-wheel drive and a repeatedly variable transmission. As within the Corolla Hatchback from whence this powertrain comes, the distinctive CVT has a set first gear for crisper take-off. The UX 250h, in the meantime, makes use of a hybrid that mixes an Atkinson-cycle model of the two.Zero-liter tuned for 143 horsepower, together with two motor-generators, to drive the entrance wheels; peak output is 175 horsepower. There’s one other motor that may ship as much as 7 horsepower to the rear wheels at as much as 45 miles per hour to endow the 250h with low-speed all-wheel drive.
As with most Lexus fashions, upgrading to the F Sport package deal brings no powertrain enhancements, however you do get retuned shock absorbers, new anti-roll bars, stiffer wheels and completely different tires. The US won’t, nevertheless, get the adaptive damping featured on the European F Sport package deal.
Whichever powertrain you choose, my expertise on the UX’s Stockholm, Sweden world launch reveals that this Lexus drives simply wonderful, a judgment which will sound like faint reward. The non-hybrid feels the faster of the pair on the street, with pleasantly sturdy midrange torque and easy energy supply (although neither is particularly brisk above metropolis speeds). The hybrid is quiet and slick off the road when it is working on electrical energy, however its engine can each sound and really feel strained when requested for extra acceleration.
A minimum of its brake pedal feels virtually precisely the identical as that of the non-hybrid, spectacular given how usually regenerative braking leads to mushy and unpredictable brake really feel.
Lexus expects an EPA ranking of 38 miles per gallon mixed from the hybrid.
It is actually powerful to get enthusiastic about driving the Lexus UX, even within the F Sport mannequin with the drive-select knob twisted to Sport+, since you at all times really feel mildly indifferent from what is going on on. The UX’s chassis is agile and completely satisfied to alter route, however not precisely wanting to dive into bends. No suggestions is telegraphed by way of the steering wheel, however no less than the motion is properly weighted, fast and exact. It is a crossover that can neither annoy nor excite you on the street — becoming in properly with the ethos of most different Lexus fashions.
Although Lexus claims its UX has the quietest cabin within the class, a notable quantity of wind roar comes off the facet mirrors at freeway velocity (which, in Sweden, seems to be an exhilarating 62 miles per hour) and there is a good quantity of tire and suspension noise. Nonetheless, in site visitors the cabin does hold most exterior hubbub at bay.
Gasoline financial system from each powertrains might be a excessive level. The UX 200 is anticipated to return 33 miles per gallon mixed (actual EPA metropolis and freeway numbers are nonetheless being finalized). That is extra environment friendly than rivals just like the Audi Q3, BMW X1, Mercedes-Benz GLA-Class and Volvo XC40, although it is price noting the Lexus is much less highly effective. The hybrid ought to submit 38 mpg mixed.
The cabin is well-organized and crammed with premium supplies.
The within of the Lexus UX affords loads of house on your fellow active-lifestyle associates. With the motive force’s seat adjusted so I may drive comfortably, I had good (if not distinctive) legroom within the second row, in addition to loads of headroom, so becoming 4 adults ought to be wonderful. Although a low cowl and thin pillars present a panoramic view ahead and to the perimeters, the UX’s stylized C-pillars and considerably small rear window cut back over-your-shoulder visibility.
Cargo house is a bit tight. The ground may be very excessive (regardless that there’s nothing — not even a spare tire — beneath it) and the liftgate slopes, so that you get simply 21.7 cubic ft of house within the UX 200 and 17.1 cubic ft within the UX 250h. The rear seats do fold down for extra storage.
Materials decisions all through the cabin are becoming for the UX’s value level, and all the switchgear has a satisfying tactile really feel. Daring coloration schemes embrace crimson upholstery and a white-and-blue selection, and there are alternatives for Japanese “washi”-inspired dashboard toppers. A full-color digital instrument cluster presents a number of driver data entrance and middle, supplemented by an non-obligatory coloration head-up show. In F Sport fashions, the cluster has a shifting gauge ring, as seen in different sporty Lexuses.
These controls on the console make utilizing the fiddly infotainment system slightly simpler.
The UX comes normal with a 7-inch infotainment system, whereas a 10-inch model with navigation is non-obligatory. Sadly, each of these screens depend on the identical frustratingly obtuse Distant Contact Interface software program as present in different Lexus fashions. Translation? A very sophisticated menu construction is operated by a twitchy touchpad on the middle console. In contrast to another Lexus fashions, the heated/cooled seat and heated steering wheel controls have luckily been liberated from the infotainment show and have bodily buttons.
A serious enchancment within the system’s usability is the addition of recent controls by the armrest particularly designed so that you can use along with your proper hand whereas driving. There are search, tune, quantity, radio and media buttons, all of which might be manipulated with out taking your wrist off the armrest. It really works very properly, however the “tune” knob is by your thumb and the amount by your index finger; I might slightly have them swapped as I spend extra time adjusting quantity than tuning.
Assist for Apple CarPlay is normal whereas Android Auto stays unavailable. Although Lexus officers say they’re “nonetheless and researching” including Android Auto, they cited knowledge displaying that 80 % of Lexus drivers personal iPhones.
The 10-inch widescreen show has vibrant, crisp graphics.
The infotainment system additionally has built-in Spotify web radio assist and Amazon Alexa integration for, say, locking or remote-starting your automotive by voice command. A Wi-Fi hotspot comes with one 12 months/four GB of information without spending a dime, after which you may must pay for a Verizon knowledge plan. You may additionally discover 4 2.1-amp USB ports (two up entrance, two in again) to cost your devices up shortly. A wi-fi system charging pad can be non-obligatory.
Security gear is in abundance, with the UX that includes the Lexus Security System 2.Zero Plus suite as normal. That decodes to imply pre-collision braking with bicycle owner and pedestrian detection, adaptive cruise management with Lane Tracing Help, computerized braking in reverse and street signal help — that final function may even present warnings for cease or do-not-enter indicators. Blind-spot monitoring is non-obligatory.
The proper mannequin on the proper value
Pricing for the UX 200 will begin at $32,000, not together with $1,025 for vacation spot, which is able to undercut the Mercedes GLA-Class, BMW X1 and Audi Q3. The UX 250h hybrid, in the meantime, will begin at $34,000, and each fashions will provide all-wheel drive for a further $2,000. Nonetheless, that’ll make the brand new mannequin probably the most reasonably priced Lexus mannequin within the US, slotting beneath the $37,180 NX 300. The UX 200 will hit sellers in December with the 250h following in January 2019.
As is the case with its rivals, the UX is focused towards urban-dwelling drivers.
You may additionally have the ability to subscribe to the UX by way of a brand new program referred to as Lexus Full Lease. Although costs have not been finalized, this system will bundle lease funds and insurance coverage prices into one fastened month-to-month sum.
It is simple to put in writing off the Lexus UX; its principally forgettable driving expertise and not-for-everyone styling are powerful to get enthusiastic about when there are lots of attention-grabbing choices on this crowded phase.
However, the UX arguably affords a greater value-for-money equation than its rivals, with all of the know-how and magnificence some prospects are in search of in what could also be their first luxurious automotive. For that cause, it is sure to be a success with customers. Some of these autos are the most popular factor going — crossovers and SUVs already account for 69 % of Lexus gross sales — and the 2019 UX is the best automobile to capitalize on that craze.
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