By Steve & Tamami Laser
For the 2019 model year, Lexus is expanding its popular luxury crossover lineup with the new compact UX. Following its unveiling at the Geneva Motor Show in March, Lexus is staging the Global Press Launch for the UX this month in Stockholm, Sweden. The lineup includes the new UX 200 front-drive model fitted with a 2.0L gas-turbo engine, and the UX 250h with its fourth-generation hybrid system and available E-Four all-wheel drive. (Editor’s note: We’ll be shopping for a new car in January – and we’ve put the UX 250h F SPORT at the top of our list.)
Targeting younger buyers and empty nesters, the UX model name stands for “Urban + X-over (crossover)” or “Urban Explorer.” While we really like the dynamic styling of the new UX, the F SPORT package (above) enhances the sporty look. Up front, F SPORT is dressed with a unique bumper design, a grille that features a mesh-pattern created with separate L-shaped elements, and L-shaped chrome moldings applied to the fog light housings.
At the rear, F SPORT features a revised bumper with chrome accents. Other styling cues include black front and rear moldings plus unique 18-inch five twin-spoke alloy wheels. The latest version of Lexus’ Adaptive Variable Suspension is available on the F SPORT. Based on inputs from steering, yaw rate and G sensors, AVS continually adjusts damping force to help minimize body lean in corners and maintain optimum tire contact with the road.
“The Lexus UX is designed for the modern urban explorer seeking a fresh, contemporary and dynamic take on luxury driving,” said Chika Kako (above) executive vice president of Lexus International and chief engineer of the UX. “I wanted to positively overturn the image of a crossover with a high body that requires careful maneuvering, and offer a car with nimble performance and excellent maneuverability that makes it as easy to drive as a sedan.”
This video takes a look at the UX concept of Intelligent Design. “There’s no point resisting a powerful opponent,” says Lexus. “You must instead use its own strength…against it.” Aerodynamic innovations allow the UX to harness airflow, stabilize itself and provide enhanced driving dynamics. (video: Lexus Europe)
The UX rides on the Global Architecture – Compact (GA-C) platform (shared with the Toyota C-HR and Prius). Lexus says this lightweight and rigid structure offers a low center of gravity and refined suspension tuning designed to deliver sharp handling and smooth ride comfort along with a distinctive driving personality.
The good-looking 18-inch alloys shown above with the UX HV Graphite Black GF Lifestyle trim are wrapped with 225/50RF18 95V run-flat tires. F SPORT models are also available with summer performance tires.
UX 250h is powered by the fourth-generation Lexus hybrid system featuring a new 2.0-liter 4-cylinder gas engine and continuously variable transmission. Total system output for the UX 250h with either front- or E-Four AWD is 178 DIN hp/131 kW.
Two electric motor generators are mounted coaxially in the compact hybrid transaxle to save space and reduce weight. The NiMH battery with 180 cells and its cooling system is located below the rear seat. Lexus says the speed at which the hybrid system can shut off the gas engine, such as when driving on long downward slopes, has been raised to 71 mph.
Inspired by the traditional Japanese concept “engawa” that blurs the boundary between a home’s exterior and interior, designers created a feeling of seamless continuity inside the UX. From the driver’s seat, the upper section of the instrument panel appears to extend out beyond the windshield into the fenders, while from the outside the hood appears to connect directly to the instrument panel. (video: Lexus Europe)
Lexus says that Chief Engineer Kako drew on her extensive experience in materials development and spent time working in Europe to help define the UX interior’s appearance. The result is an uncluttered “less is more” approach that makes the UX feel inviting and accessible.
A leather-wrapped sport steering wheel, leather-trimmed shift knob, and aluminum pedals are included with the F SPORT package. A 7-inch EMV (Electro Multi Vision) display is standard, while a 10.25-inch version is used when the Lexus Navigation system is specified. The available Mark Levinson Sound System includes 13 speakers, 668W Class D eight-channel amplifier, Quantum Logic Surround Sound, and Clari-Fi™ 2.0 technology to deliver an immersive sound experience.
F-SPORT features an 8-inch TFT LCD display that varies information depending on the powertrain (gas or hybrid) and the selected drive mode. The movable meter ring that slides to the right and enlarges the multi-information display, is an F SPORT exclusive for the UX. (The design originated on the Lexus LFA sports car and can be found on the current LC coupe.)
With Lexus Drive Mode Select, the driver can choose Normal mode, Eco mode to help maximize fuel savings, and Sport Mode for quicker throttle response. When equipped with optional AVS, F SPORT includes five modes: Normal, Eco, Sport S, Sport S+, and Custom.
Available leather-trimmed seats for UX models are inspired by “sashiko,” a traditional Japanese stitching technique that’s also used to make judo and kendo uniforms for martial arts. Quilted leather is decorated with perforation patterns that form mathematical curves and gradations to enhance their appearance. (video: Lexus Europe)
F SPORT seats are made with an integrated-foam technique first developed for Lexus F performance models, designed to hold the driver and front passenger more snugly. To build the seats, Lexus says the upholstery is set into a mold and filled with foam to complete the seat in a single process.
The UX model range offers a wide choice of interior color combos. Seating is available in fabric, leather or a combination of fabric and leather-like Tahara. Standard models offer a choice of five colors including Cobalt, Black, White Ash, Rich Cream, and Ochre. In addition to Black, the F SPORT also offers exclusive Flare Red (above) or White upholstery.
The Lexus Safety System+ for UX includes All-Speed Dynamic Radar Cruise Control, Pre-Collision System (PCS) with Pedestrian Detection, Lane Keep Assist with Lane Departure Alert and Steering Assist, Road Sign Assist (RSA), Adaptive High-beam Assist (AHS) and Intelligent High-Beam headlamps/Automatic High Beam (AHB). Other available safety systems include Parking Support Alert, which can detect vehicles crossing from either side and static vehicles ahead or behind when parking.
The UX 250h is equipped with Predictive Efficient Drive (for North American mainland units and Japan units equipped with the Navigation system.) This Lexus-first system is said to analyze the driver’s habits and the expected road and traffic conditions to optimize charging and discharging of the hybrid battery. Lexus says the more the vehicle is driven, the more data is gathered, contributing to efficient fuel consumption.
The available E-Four AWD system for UX 250h uses a separate, dedicated electric motor generator integrated into the rear differential. Power distribution between the front and rear axles is automatically optimized by the Vehicle Stability Control (VSC) system when accelerating, cornering, or diving on slippery surfaces. Lexus says E-Four provides stable driving on uphill slopes or snow-covered roads with lower fuel consumption than a conventional AWD system with a power split device and driveshaft. In addition to assisting traction on slippery surfaces, it can also actively improve stability by adjusting rear-wheel power to help correct over or understeer.
Lexus plans to start regular production of the new UX 200 and 250h models at the Kyushu factory in Japan this fall with sales expected to begin in Europe soon. The U.S. launch is planned to start in December. (We hope to get behind the wheel of the new UX when we start our next car shopping adventure early next year.)
For more information on the Lexus UX visit Lexus Europe
In the U.S., visit Lexus.com
In other areas visit Lexus International
Note: Preliminary features, specifications, and launch timing is subject to change without notice.
News source, photos and videos courtesy Lexus Europe and Lexus International
Story © 2018 CarNichiWa.com