Lexus has turned up the volume control with an aggressively styled and priced new SUV called the UX.
Priced from $44,450 the five-seat UX is smaller than anything the company currently offers and is geared to bring a greater volume of new, younger buyers to the brand.
There’s a choice of two engines: a conventional 126kW 2.0-litre four-cylinder petrol engine or 131kW self-charging hybrid, the latter a $3500 option across the range.
As well as offering the most power and fastest acceleration, the UX 250h is also the most fuel-efficient with combined cycle economy from 4.5 litres/100km.
There’s three models: UX 200, UX250h 2WD and UX 250h AWD, available in Luxury, Sports Luxury anf F Sport guise.
All wheel drive is in effect a $4500 option, available with Sports Luxury and F sport versions.
The innovative E-Four system provides electric motor drive to the rear axle, automatically providing extra grip in slippery conditions.
Lexus boss Scott Thompson said the the UX could attract an entirely new customer base to the brand.
“The UX delivers a fresh and contemporary appeal to young buyers seeking new and exciting experiences relevant to their lifestyles,” he said.
“For many of them, this will not only be their first Lexus vehicle, but also their first entry into the luxury segment.”
UX 200 variants will be available at Lexus dealerships later this month while the self-charging hybrid UX 250h variants due to arrive mid-January.
Lexus Safety Sense + is standard, including a pre-collision system with pedestrian detection, all-speed active cruise control, lane trace assist, traffic sign recognition, auto high beam, blind-spot monitor and rear cross-traffic alert.
Additional safety features include eight airbags, reversing camera, parking sensors, tyre inflation warning, vehicle speed-limit warning and an anti-theft system.
Standard equipment includes a 10.3-inch display screen, satellite navigation, 8-speaker DAB audio, 7-inch thin-film transistor meter, GPS clock and illuminated entry.
With three drive modes, it rides on 17-inch alloy wheels, with an acoustic windscreen glass, roof rails, LED headlamps, fog lights and tail lamps, power-adjustable heated mirrors.
The spacious cabin offers a leather-accented steering wheel and shift lever, power-adjustable steering column, electro-chromatic rear-view mirror, and 8-way power-adjustable front seats with heater.
Sports Luxury adds 18-inch wheels with run-flat tyres, leather-accented seats, ventilated and 8-way power-adjustable driver and front passenger seats, 13-speaker Mark Levinson audio, an adaptive high beam system, panoramic view monitor and high-grade finishes.
F Sport is distinguished by its bumpers, grille and special 18-inch wheels plus sports seats, steering wheel, shift lever and pedals.
This grade is also equipped with adaptive variable suspension, five drive modes, rear performance damper and active sound control.