Autocar - - First Drives -

Not for Lexus a run-of-the-mill down­sized turbo en­gine with an au­to­matic gear­box. In­stead, the UX uses a nat­u­rally as­pi­rated four­cylin­der petrol en­gine, com­plete with in­tel­li­gent vari­able valve tim­ing. The com­pres­sion ratio is a very high 14:1 and Lexus claims an im­pres­sive 41% ther­mal ef­fi­ciency. On hy­brid mod­els, a pair of mo­tor gen­er­a­tors ei­ther aug­ments the petrol en­gine to drive the car for­wards or har­vests en­ergy un­der brak­ing to recharge the bat­ter­ies.

The gear­box is an elec­tronic con­tin­u­ously vari­able trans­mis­sion (CVT). The ad­van­tage of us­ing this sort of gear­box over a dual-clutch or a torque-con­verter au­to­matic, says Lexus, is im­proved re­fine­ment and fuel econ­omy.

There is a four-wheel-drive ver­sion of the UX, too, badged E-four. Un­con­ven­tion­ally, the rear axle is driven by a third elec­tric mo­tor rather than the com­bus­tion en­gine, and that mo­tor can op­er­ate at medium and low speeds only.

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