Lexus UX

WE SAY: LEXUS’S SUV GOES FOR BOLD DE­SIGN AND ECO TECH THAT DOESN’T NEED A PLUG...

Top Gear (UK) - - CONTENTS -

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

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