The market for small luxury crossovers is heating up, with models like the Audi Q3, BMW X1 and X2, Mercedes-Benz GLA, Acura CDX and Infiniti QX30 all vying for market share on the small, but rapidly expanding niche. Lexus has joined the fray with its own contender that was just unveiled in Geneva.
Called the UX, it slots below the NX as the new entry level model in Lexus’ lineup.
The UX is the first Lexus built on the new Global Architecture – Compact (GA-C) platform that also underpins Toyota models like the Prius, C-HR, Auris, Corollla and Avensis – only this one is , naturally, a premium offering.
The styling is pure “new” Lexus, of course, from the Spindle grille on back and the interior looks suitably upscale, drawing inspiration from traditional Japanese design.
The premium compact crossover stretches just 177 inches (4,495 mm) long and rides on a 103.9-inch (2,640-mm) wheelbase, boasting a best-in-class 34-foot (5.2-meter) turning circle to help it maneuver around town. The electric power steering works with a MacPherson strut front suspension and double wishbone setup at the back.
Though complete specifications have yet to be announced, Toyota’s luxury brand will offer the UX with two powertrain options. The UX 200 packs a new 2.0-liter inline four rated at 168 horsepower that’s mated to a direct-shift continuously variable transmission (CVT). Meanwhile, the UX 250h features a new hybrid powertrain with a combined output of 176 hp and all-wheel drive courtesy of an electric motor at the rear axle.
There’ll be an F Sport package available for both versions, bringing with it a sport suspension and a sportier appearance inside and out, while an Adaptive Variable Suspension and Active Sound Control system will be offered as well.
Lexus will begin production of the new UX this fall and will start shipping it to US dealers towards the end of the year, when we expect that its pricing will be announced.
Article updated with live images from Geneva