The new UX is a rather important model for Lexus, as it is the Japanese automaker’s first foray the small premium SUV segment, one of the fastest-growing in the market.
The third SUV on Lexus’ range features a rather distinctive styling approach that makes the new UX look different and fresh. Whether it will attract new customers to the brand, as Lexus intends, remains to be seen.
Under the bold bodywork, you’ll find the TNGA modular architecture, which is currently used by models like the Toyota Prius, C-HR and the new Corolla.
The Lexus UX makes extensive use of high-tensile steel, high-strength adhesives and laser-screw welding, resulting in a very rigid structure with obvious benefits on handling, refinement and ride comfort. In addition the side doors, wings and hood are made from aluminum, while the tailgate is made out of composite materials. Lexus says that the UX has the lowest center of gravity in its class.
The hybrid UX 250h also debuts a new generation of the Lexus Hybrid Drive powertrain that combines a naturally aspirated 2.0-liter four-pot engine with two electric motors for a combined output of 175hp (178PS) and is the sole option for the UK (the U.S. gets a 2.0-liter non-hybrid as well). A new and improved CVT gearbox is the only transmission option, while an all-wheel drive version with an additional electric motor on the rear axle is optional (standard in the North American version).
The interior comes in a wide choice of color combos and premium finishes, while a seven-inch display in the instrument cluster offers the trademark Lexus features. The infotainment system comes with either a seven- or 10.25-inch display than can be controlled by a touchpad with haptic feedback.
There isn’t another premium small SUV with a hybrid powertrain in the market right now, which should give the new Lexus UX an edge over the competition. Auto Express finds out whether that’s enough and delivers its first driving impressions on the video that follows.