UX an alpha bet for Lexus

Big things are expected from a new baby Lexus that debuted in Geneva today and will be here by year-end.


THE UX, a small chic crossover just unveiled in its production format by Lexus, will be in New Zealand by late 2018, the brand’s local arm has confirmed.

Paul Carroll, senior general manager of Lexus New Zealand, is also already picking that the micro model could have a big future here, due to the rapidly increasing interest in compact luxury crossovers.

“The UX is obviously (in) an expanding segment and we look forward to offering it here in NZ late this year, competing with vehicles such as the (BMW) X1, the (Audi) Q2 and the (Mercedes Benz) GLA.

“We expect to sell around 200 units per annum, perhaps more, but global demand is expected to be so high it will depend on how many units we can get.”

Carroll has also confirmed the model will be provided to Kiwis in both pure petrol and “latest generation” hybrid electric formats, thus keeping true to a trend that also carries into the NX and RX lineups.

Lexus has so far released the single image, and short video, seen today as tasters ahead of its full debut tonight at the Geneva motor show.

The model sports an unmistakeably Lexus design that is dominated by a large spindle grille – as has become the Japanese car-maker’s trademark. The overall design is closely aligned with the existing NX and RX SUVs.

Lexus says the UX has a “bold and stylish design that features powerful bodywork, aggressive rear shoulders and muscular wheelarches that contrast with a sleek, compact cabin profile and a high beltline”.

The interior design is more modern than its larger siblings. It has a fully digital instrument cluster pinched from the LC sportscar, and a widescreen infotainment system that is mounted high on the dashboard and controlled by a touchpad with shortcuts.

The driver-orientated centre stack features a refined two-row set-up that reduces button clutter, while a traditional gear selector for the automatic transmission and an electric park brake reside below.

The UX here is likely to be the UX250h F Sport, as evidenced by the ‘Hybrid’ badging low on the rear doors, the ‘F Sport’ badging behind the front wheelarches and the blue Lexus logo on the front grille.

It is thought Lexus is to release UX250h, UX250 and UX200 variants, all with F Sport options.

All will be powered by petrol engines – likely four-cylinder units – while the UX250h will provide extra punch with an electric motor that also increases efficiency.

The platform is the Toyota New Generation Architecture (TNGA) which is used by the Toyota C-HR small SUV – a model that the UX is expected to be closely related to.