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Paris show: Lexus teases UX Concept

Crossing over: Lexus says the UX is just a concept at this stage but it could form the basis for a future production crossover.

Lexus UX Concept shows its rear ahead of Paris show debut

9 Sep 2016

LEXUS will unveil a sub-compact SUV concept at this year’s Paris motor show that reveals the next evolution in the Japanese premium car-maker’s design language and could point to a future Audi Q2 rival.

The UX Concept will be revealed in full at Paris on September 29, but Lexus has released one rear three-quarter image after it was leaked on the internet yesterday.

Dimensions will not be revealed until Paris but several reports have suggested that the UX will form the basis of a new compact SUV that would sit below the NX crossover that straddles the small and medium SUV segments.

Given parent company Toyota will next year launch its new C-HR crossover rival for the likes of the Honda HR-V and Mazda CX-3, there is a chance the production version of the Lexus UX would be based on the same underpinnings.

Lexus is keeping quiet on the future of the UX, suggesting that it is just a concept.

If it does get the green light for production as a premium sub-compact SUV, it would face competitors including the forthcoming Audi Q2 and Mini’s Countryman as well as Volvo’s mooted XC40.

It would also fly in the face of comments by Lexus executives that have ruled out an entrant below the NX.

Former Lexus Australia chief executive Sean Hanley told GoAuto in November last year that the company did not “have any plans immediately for a compact SUV in Lexus, I can tell you that up front”.

“However, the difficulty I have with the compact SUV is brand positioning.

Because for me, we won't be bringing a car in sub-$40,000 in compact SUV anyhow. It's not going to happen, because frankly I'm not sure that's where a luxury brand should be,” he said at the launch of the Lexus RX last year.

Designed and built at Lexus’ ED2 European Design Centre, the UX “takes the luxury automotive company's bold design language to the next level”, according to the premium marque.

“Its strongly differentiated identity is meant to appeal to a progressive, urban audience living in a connected environment,” Lexus says in a release.

The sole image reveals massive chunky wheel arches that appear to be squared off, housing enormous wheels with a distinctive design and tyre tread pattern.

The tail-light design continues across the width of the concept, kicking up at the outer edge for a dramatic, futuristic look.

Other design flourishes include crease lines on the tailgate, a high-set shoulder line at the rear and slimline roof racks as well as cameras instead of exterior mirrors.

The UX appears to have smoother body panels compared with other recent Lexus SUV concepts including the LF-NX that spawned the NX.

Lexus says the UX features “imaginative technologies” to ensure an “immersive driver experience”, while the interior will showcase high-tech manufacturing techniques combined with traditional craftsmanship, but this won’t be seen until its Paris debut.

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