Lexus is having a baby

Riley Riley

Lexus is having a baby, with the addition of a new “gateway vehicle to the brand — the 2019 UX.

Due in Australia late this year, the hatch cum SUV is targeted at younger buyers with less to spend, with prices expected to start from around $45,000.

Lexus says the UX will not only be the first Lexus for many customers, but also their first luxury vehicle.

The car derives its name from the design team’s guiding concept and describes the vehicle’s mission: Urban (U) and Crossover (X).

“The Lexus UX is designed for the modern urban explorer seeking a fresh, contemporary and dynamic take on luxury driving,” chief engineer, Chika Kako, said.

“We designed the UX to appeal to young buyers who seek not only what is new and exciting, but what is also relevant to their lifestyles,” she said.

The new model is engineered to deliver quick and engaging drive experience, with a Lexus-smooth demeanour, making it a unique entry in the luxury compact crossover segment.

The range kicks off with the front-wheel-drive UX 200, that introduces a new high-efficiency 126kW/250Nm 2.0-litre, four-cylinder engine coupled with a new Direct Shift continuously variable transmission.

The UX 250h pairs an even higher-efficiency version of the 2.0-litre petrol engine with a new, fourth-generation hybrid drive system engineered specifically for this platform.

It is available with either front-wheel drive or E Four electric all-wheel drive.

Combined output of 131kW makes the 250h the leader in performance as well as fuel efficiency while providing exhilarating driving, high-speed responsiveness and a feeling of smooth, natural acceleration.

UX is the first vehicle to be built on the new Compact GA C platform, with its lightweight yet super-rigid structure, extremely low centre of gravity and refined suspension.

As a result, it’s expected to deliver exemplary ride and handling, along with a distinctive driving personality.

“I wanted to positively overturn the image of a crossover with a high body that requires careful manoeuvring and offer a car with nimble performance and excellent manoeuvrability that makes it as easy to drive as a sedan,” Kako-san said.

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