The new Lexus hybrid SUV is proof that good things come in small packages writes Geraldine Herbert
What is it? It seems small is the new big and Lexus is the latest car brand to offer a scaled down and less expensive version of their larger SUV. Joining the family of Lexus “X” vehicles including the RX and NX is the even smaller UX or Urban Explorer. While car sales were down by double-digits this year so far, sales of SUVs and crossovers continue to rise and globally they contribute to one in three sales. Is it any wonder that car makers are falling over each other to capitalise on surging sales.
Is it a looker? Facing stiff competition from the Volvo XC40, BMW X1, Audi Q3, Mercedes GLA and Jaguar E-Pace, the chiselled UX with its dominant Lexus’ signature “spindle” grille is a strong step in the right direction.
What about the interior? Inside the car incorporates elements inspired by Japanese culture including leather upholstery that showcases Sashiko, a quilting technique used to make martial arts uniforms. Behind the wheel is comfortable but rear passengers don’t fare so well and the abundance of black plastic throughout takes the edge off the premium feel.
Under the bonnet? Powering the new crossover is a 184bhp 2-litre petrol hybrid with 181bhp/135kW. According to Lexus the UX uses electric power for about 55% of the journey and claim fuel economy of up to 5.3 litres per 100 km and CO2 emissions of 94g/km. The UX has three different driving modes; Eco, Normal and Sport with Eco giving maximum efficiency. The UX 250h is available with either front-wheel drive or E-Four electric all-wheel drive.
And on the road? The UX is the first Lexus to be constructed using the new Global Architecture – Compact (GA-C) platform. This allows for a more lightweight structure and a low centre of gravity all very apparent once you get on the road. In fact, it takes only a short journey to realise that the UX is one of the most car-like SUVs to drive in its class and ride and handling are impressive.
What about safety? All Uxs get eight airbags: driver and front passenger airbags; driver and front passenger knee airbags; driver and front passenger seat-mounted side impact airbags and front to rear side curtain airbags.
Will it break the bank? Starting at £29,000 for the entry-level UX, the F-Sport costs £33,900, while the flagship Takumi will set you back £39,100. All UXs get the second generation Lexus Safety System+, seven-inch Lexus Navigation and multimedia system with DAB, dual-zone air conditioning, heated front seats,
roof rails and 17-inch alloys.
Why you will like it? With distinctive looks, good driving dynamics and an efficient hybrid system, the all-new baby Lexus makes a bold statement. If you are in the market for a stylish crossover with eco -credentials it might be worth spending some time test driving a Lexus UX.
1st April 2019