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Stylish, luxurious and delightfully comfortable, the brand new Lexus UX is a compact crossover SUV worth having.

15 Mar 2019



Oh look, yet another compact crossover SUV, because, you know, the market needs yet one more of them. But yes, Lexus has now introduced its own compact SUV offering, the brand new UX, to duke it out with, oh, the 500 other such cars in the market right now. So does it even stand a chance? 

Lighting the way

The first thing the UX has going for it is its looks. We like its rather bold design - sculpted lines, angular details and low-to-the-ground stance. It's especially eye-catching from the rear, with what Lexus calls 'Aero Stabilising Blade Lights' stretching across the entirety of the car's posterior. Made up of 120 LEDs, it accentuates the car's sleek and dynamic design. The car's stylish exterior certainly stands it apart from its German counterparts, which tend towards a more sterile aesthetic.

With its compact dimensions, sleek design and low stance, the Lexus UX is certainly one of the best-looking compact SUVs

Inside, you are greeted by a largely familiar Lexus cabin - soft leathers, stylish buttons and the same tricky-to-use touchpad controller. However, while the cabin demonstrates high levels of quality in terms of materials and build quality, it doesn't quite exude the same sense of lavish opulence we normally associate with the brand's bigger (and admittedly more expensive) models.

There are some hard plastics used in the cabin, such as the rear door panels, that unfortunately reduce the overall sense of Lexus-typical luxury. That said, it's definitely still a lot better than many other cars in its class.

A special trim finish, inspired by Japanese paper called washi, accentuates the feeling of bespoke luxury in the cabin

The UX is also saddled with Lexus' rather unintuitive infotainment system. It's a big, 10.3-inch screen, but with no touchscreen capability and the finicky Remote Touch Interface, trying to operate it while driving can be a little difficult. There are some hard-button shortcuts to key functions like, map, radio and media, but there's no getting around the fact that the infotainment operation still isn't the brand's strong point.

One other niggle we had with the UX is that due to an unusually high boot floor, the boot offers just 272 litres of cargo space. It'll do for simple errands like the weekly grocery run or loading a couple of bags, but it'll struggle to do serious haulage like picking up new furniture from IKEA.

The naturally aspirated 2.0-litre engine pumps out 168bhp and 205Nm of torque in a creamy smooth fashion

Take it to the highway

Mechnically, the UX actually shares the same platform as the Toyota C-HR. However, thanks to extensive mechanical tinkering, the difference in driving character is incredibly stark. The UX excels in comfort (no real surprise here), thanks to its supple and soft-riding suspension. The low ride height also negates some of the bounciness you tend to get with higher-riding SUVs.

The powertrain is also similarly smooth and comfortable. Powering the UX 200 is a 2.0-litre naturally aspirated engine that packs 168 horses and 205Nm of torque. Those numbers may not looks very impressive (considering turbocharged 2.0-litre engines are now producing a lot more power), but the engine pulls with surprising verve, expecially in the mid-range.

The Direct-Shift CVT delivers smooth and natural-feeling acceleration

Part of this is down to the rather interesting transmission in the UX - it's a CVT with a mechanical gearset, something Lexus calls Direct-Shift CVT. The mechanical gearset is used for acceleration from a standstill, before transferring to the CVT system. This allows for smooth and natural-feeling acceleration, eliminating the dullness commonly associated with CVT gearboxes.

Additionally, the UX impresses when it comes to cabin refinement while driving - noise insulation is top-notch, delivering a level of serenity that accentuates the car's sense of comfort and luxury. 

A raft of active and passive safety systems ensure that you and your passengers are well taken care of

The UX is also equipped with extensive safety features, such as the Pre-Collision System and Lane Keep Assist, to keep you safe and within your lane. 

Be yourself

The UX is definitely late to the crossover game, but it still demonstrates a high level of competence, luxury and capability that will certainly allow it to compete aggressively with the rest of the market. Where the UX excels is in delivering an authentic Lexus experience overall. It embraces and embellishes its own particular character - comfort, luxury and style.

Stylish, refined, comfortable and luxurious, the brand new UX delivers an authentic Lexus experience overall

Understandably, as the entry model within the Lexus lineup, it doesn't have the same feeling of opulent lavishness. The plus side is that prices of the UX start at $154,800 (as of 14 March) for the Executive variant, and $164,800 for this Luxury variant.

Those are really rather reasonable prices, considering the high overall quality of the car. Compared to some of the other competitors in its segment, such as the BMW X1 and higher-end variants of the Mercedes-Benz GLA, we reckon the UX is something of a bargain.
Also read our comparison article on:
Jaguar E-PACE 2.0 S (200PS) vs Lexus UX 2.0 Luxury
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Car Information

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Promotion
There's a promotion for Lexus UX 200

Price

: $168,800

Engine Type

:

4-cylinder in-line 16-valve DOHC VVT-iE

Engine Cap

:

1987cc

Horsepower

:

127kW (170 bhp) / 6600 rpm

Torque

:

204 Nm / 4400 rpm

Transmission

:

10-speed (A) Direct Shift CVT

Acceleration (0-100 km/h)

:

9.2sec

Top Speed

:

190km/h

Fuel consumption

:

17.2 km/L

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