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The Lexus UX200 is an all new compact SUV that scores high on refinement, driveability and handling.

12 Sep 2018

Locally, the Lexus UX is the third SUV in the Japanese luxury carmaker's lineup after the Lexus RX and the Lexus NX.

Globally, however, the all new compact SUV that you see here is considered the fifth, with larger SUVs such as the GX and LX in the picture.

2.0-litre naturally aspirated engine is capable of 168bhp and 205Nm of torque

But regardless of local or global context, the all new Lexus UX will be battling against strong competitors like the Audi Q3, the BMW X1, the Mercedes-Benz GLA and the Volvo XC40 when it arrives at the Singapore Motor Show next year.

If looks could kill...

While the UX is dubbed the baby SUV of Lexus, there's hardly anything baby about the car. Measuring 4,495mm long, 1,840mm wide and 1,540mm tall, the UX is longer and wider than its German peers. Couple this with its dynamic styling and creased bodywork and you'll get a car that has ample road presence.

Taillights are sharply curved at the edges for the sake of better drag coefficient

Also adding on to its presence is the impressive-looking rear. The taillights are sharply curved at the edges to smoothen the flow of air by reducing air pressure of up to 16%, contributing to the drag coefficient of just 0.33Cd. A strip of light that consists of 120 LEDs intriguingly connects them, giving the Lexus a wider posture than it actually is.

Unfortunately, the F Sport option, which comes with aggressive-looking spindle grille, bigger wheels and air intakes as well as optional adaptive dampers, will not be available for the Singapore market.

Dashboard is driver-centric and well laid out

Luxury through and through

The new car is the smallest SUV in the Lexus' lineup, and it shares the same wheelbase of 2,640mm with the Toyota C-HR. This is clear once you get inside. But with large windows and clever engineering, the cabin feels airy and spacious enough for a couple of Singaporean journalists.

More relevantly, the Lexus UX scores high on fit and finish - an aspect you can safely assume when it comes to the Japanese carmaker. Run your fingers over any part of the cabin and you will not come across anything uneven or sharp.

New exquisite materials are used in the new Lexus

Materials used, too, are exquisite. Our test car, for instance, came with a new trim finish on the dashboard that's inspired by the grain of Japanese paper.

Also new to the UX or any other Lexus models of before, a range of audio switches now surrounds the hand rest, making it a lot safer for the driver to do necessary adjustments without taking his eyes off the road.

Clearly, this speaks volumes about Lexus' attention to detail, which is apparent throughout the new car's cabin.

The UX's only setback here, if we must, is its boot space of 272 litres, which is far more compact compared to the 505 litres and 460 litres in the X1 and the Q3 respectively.

272-litres of boot space may not be class-leading, but it's sufficient for your weekly groceries and hand carry bags

Urban refinement at its best

The high levels of sophistication of the cabin are reflected in the driving experience.

The Lexus UX200 is powered by a naturally aspirated 2.0-litre four-pot powerplant that sends out 168bhp and 205Nm of torque to its front wheels in a linear and refined fashion.

These figures are nicely deployed via a unique direct shift CVT gearbox that has a mechanical gearset, which is used to start from a standstill and accelerate before transferring to the CVT system.

You do not feel dull behind the wheel of the UX, only relaxed

Thus, you do not feel the dullness that's commonly associated with the gearbox in the UX.

Century sprint is dispatched in 9.2 seconds, with a point-to-point acceleration that's more smooth than sporty and a throttle response that's prompt rather than put-off.

In that sense, it doesn't mean the car is slow by any means. Instead, Lexus has prioritised refinement over a racy disposition for the UX by ensuring external noises are kept at bay at cruising speeds while a relaxing and breezy experience is guaranteed during slower-paced driving.

The new Lexus is refined and smooth on the move

Sounds like the perfect car for the perfect family

To be quite honest, it's hard to ignore a car that's as well-rounded as the Lexus compact SUV. Excluding its less than generous boot space, the car remains to be lavishly equipped and user-friendly.

You'll get a digital instrument cluster, 18-inch wheels, a new generation Remote Touch Interface that operates the large 10.3-inch infotainment system and Qi wireless charger, just to name a few, all as standard when the car makes its Singapore debut early next year.

Qi wireless charger will come standard in the UX

So is it the perfect car for the perfect family? Almost, because the only thing left for Lexus to do now is to ensure that the pricing for the UX remains competitive in a bloodthirsty segment where strong Germans have dominated.
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