WE SAY: LEXUS’S SUV GOES FOR BOLD DESIGN AND ECO TECH THAT DOESN’T NEED A PLUG...
As almost every other brand in the world has already launched a compact SUV, Lexus had to come up with something new for its take on the segment. Fortunately, the UX genuinely does, as a hybrid-only model with a bold, angular exterior design that can’t be mistaken for any other. It’s a big deal for Lexus too, the UX is expected to quickly become the brand’s top UK seller, outgunning its NX and RX SUV brothers.
Longer than any premium compact SUV rival, lower than most and with a lower seating position too, the UX feels car-like to manoeuvre. It will be sold alongside the ageing CT hatch, contrary to rumours of the latter’s demise, but the UX is a much better vehicle. Steering is sharp and chassis agile, and the car features a new 4cyl 176bhp 2.0-litre petrol-electric hybrid with direct-shift CVT that doesn’t whine like older CVTs. Result.
Zero to 62mph and top speed figures aren’t available so far in advance of the April 2019 UK launch, but these aren’t the key numbers for a family hybrid. Eco estimates of 68.9mpg and 96g/km for the 17in-wheeled FWD model are more important for the tax-focused target audience. And AWD and F-Sport versions with sportier driving modes and suspension are available.
The front cabin is smart and uncluttered and features original materials like a dashboard cover that resembles textured Japanese washi paper. In the minus column, rear space is a bit cramped for tall folk, the laptop-like remote touchpad for the infotainment screen is still fiddly, and unconfirmed bootspace looks small (we’d say sub-500 litres). Spec is to be finalised but should be generous, with three trims – Standard,
F Sport and Takumi – costing from £30,000 to £35,000. Ultimately, the UX may not handle better than a BMW X1 or look as smart as a Jaguar E-Pace, but for drivers seeking alternatives to conventionally powered cars who can’t afford pricey PHEVs and EVs (and their compromises), this hybrid is in a class of its own.
Lexus UX £30,000 est