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Geneva show: Lexus uncovers production UX

Big mouth: The UX sports an unmistakeably Lexus design that is dominated by a trademark large front spindle grille.

Sharply styled Lexus UX small SUV breaks out ahead of full Geneva debut next week

Lexus logo28 Feb 2018

By JUSTIN HILLIARD

LEXUS has provided the first official look at its forthcoming UX small SUV, releasing a single image of the front three-quarter exterior and an 18-second video that provides a brief glimpse of the interior.

Set for a full reveal at the Geneva motor show next week, the UX sports an unmistakeably Lexus design that is dominated by a large spindle grille – as has become the Japanese car-maker’s trademark.

Compared to the UX Concept from the 2016 Paris motor show, other exterior elements have been toned down for the production version, including conventional headlights, doorhandles, and side mirrors.

However, the swollen wheelarches with squared-off cladding, and the glasshouse and front air intake shapes have been mostly retained. The overall design is closely aligned with the existing NX and RX SUVs.

Lexus says the UX has a “bold and stylish design that features powerful bodywork, aggressive rear shoulders and muscular wheelarches that contrast with a sleek, compact cabin profile and a high beltline”.

Inside, the UX’s design is also toned down compared with the concept, but is more modern than its larger siblings. It has a fully digital instrument cluster pinched from the LC sportscar, and a widescreen infotainment system that is mounted high on the dashboard and controlled by a touchpad with shortcuts.

The driver-orientated centre stack features a refined two-row set-up that reduces button clutter, while a traditional gear selector for the automatic transmission and an electric park brake reside below.

According to the car-maker, “the scene inside the cabin combines a highly focused driver’s cockpit, a wide and inviting passenger space, and a commanding view of the road”.

The production UX shown in the image and video appears to be in UX250h F Sport trim, as evidenced by the ‘Hybrid’ badging low on the rear doors, the ‘F Sport’ badging behind the front wheelarches and the blue Lexus logo on the front grille.

As previously reported, Lexus is preparing – at the very least – UX250h, UX250 and UX200 variants for the new model, with these to be offered in F Sport form as well as other grades.

All will be powered by petrol engines – likely four-cylinder units – while the UX250h will provide extra punch with an electric motor that also increases efficiency.

While additional details are being held back until the full reveal, the marque did hint that “an all-new platform gives the UX exceptional body rigidity and a low centre of gravity for the agile handling of a hatchback”.

The platform in question is likely to be Toyota New Generation Architecture (TNGA) which is used by the recently launched Toyota C-HR small SUV – a model that the UX is expected to be closely related to.

Lexus Australia has previously said it is keen for UX to join its line-up, but a local launch is yet to be officially confirmed. However, it does seem likely given the increasing popularity of small SUVs.

If it does lob Down Under, the UX will go toe to toe with the BMW X1 and X2, Mini Countryman, Audi Q2, Mercedes-Benz GLA and Jaguar E-Pace, among others.

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