Just a couple of decades ago, premium badges were reserved for large vehicles only. These days, most luxury carmakers have a broad portfolio of models that includes cars of all sizes. This Japanese brand is no exception, and it starts its crossover offer with the model called UX.
Based on the dynamic Toyota C-HR, the eye-catching Lexus UX represents Lexus's vision of a small city crossover, which offers a slightly different package compared to most other premium carmakers in the segment.
The Lexus UX has been around for a while, and it already marks good sales numbers. It is a crossover that brings a lot of features in a compact package. It looks very attractive, features excellent build quality and offers everything you would typically expect to see from the Japanese luxury brand, starting from hybrid technology, tons of safety features and unparalleled reliability.
The First Generation of Lexus UX (2019-present)
Lexus was one of the first luxury automakers to realise the market potential of small crossovers. The development started years ago, and the first version came out in 2016, in the form of the LF-UX concept car, which featured a pretty similar overall shape to the Toyota C-HR.
Eventually, the production version was launched two years later, with similar proportions but with a new design, which offers a more mature, more elegant look.
The Australian model debuted in the first half of 2019, and it is still on sale.
One of the exciting things about the UX is that this was the first Lexus to adopt Toyota's new platform, commonly known as TNGA. The new platform brought significant improvements regarding ride quality, and in this case, many parts are shared with its Toyota sibling. The platform is the same, as well as a lot of mechanics.
However, the UX also comes with plenty of premium upgrades. In terms of mechanics, this primarily refers to the suspension setup, which is notably more refined. The front axle comes with a typical McPherson strut, while the rear axle comes with a multi-link independent suspension. Both axles are equipped with ventilated discs.
In terms of dimensions, the UX also takes a lot from the C-HR. The wheelbase is the same (approx. 2,640 millimetres), but the UX is longer, wider, and lower. The ground clearance goes about 160mm, so we can say that this is more of a hatchback than an SUV.
The off-road potential isn't great, but a lower centre of gravity means a better driving experience, probably more important to an average UX driver.
Lexus UX Dimensions:
- Wheelbase: 2,640mm
- Length: 4,495mm
- Height: 1,520mm
- Width: 1,840mm
- Ground Clearance: 160mm
- Weight: 1,470-1,640kg
- Turning Circle: 10.4m
Engine and Performances
The Lexus UX is available in two variants regarding powertrain. Base models are equipped with a classic 2.0-litre four-cylinder engine (125 kW, 205 Nm), which sends power to the front axle via a CVT transmission. This is the Lexus UX 200, which has a claimed 0-100 km/h acceleration time of 9 seconds and a top speed of 190 km/h.
As expected, the UX has hybrid version. The Japanese manufacturer uses a proven and reliable system in this case, the same one that can be found in C-HR and Corolla for the European market. A 2.0-litre petrol engine powers it with a little help from an 81-kW electric motor. The combined output goes up to 132 kW to drive the front wheels.
You can also get an all-wheel-drive version, but we can't say that this is a genuine AWD system. The rear wheels are powered by the electric motor only, but a good thing to know is that up to 80 per cent of the power can be sent to the rear axle if the system detects a lack of traction.
Fuel economy is better in the hybrid version. According to the manufacturer, the UX 250h is good for about 4.7L/100km in a combined ride. The petrol version features an average fuel economy of around 6L/100km in a combined ride.
Lexus UX 200 Engine Specs:
- Engine Capacity: 1987cc
- Number of cylinders: 4
- Fuel Type: Regular Unleaded Petrol
- Maximum torque: 205Nm
- Maximum power: 125kW
- Transmission: CVT
- Acceleration (0-100 km/h): 9.2s
- Top Speed: 190km/h
- Fuel consumption: 5.8L/100km (combined)
- Fuel tank capacity: 47L
Lexus UX 250h Engine Specs:
- Engine Capacity: 1987cc
- Number of cylinders: 4
- Fuel type: Hybrid (Regular Unleaded Petrol/Electric)
- Petrol Engine Power: 107kW
- Electric Motor Power: 80kW
- Combined Output: 132kW
- Acceleration (0-100 km/h): 8.5s
- Top Speed: 177km/h
- Fuel consumption: 4.7L/100km (combined)
- Fuel tank capacity: 43L
Lexus UX F-Sport
Just like other Lexus models, the UX is also available in the F-Sport version. This version comes with several upgrades over standard models. The first thing you’ll notice is an upgraded, more aggressive body kit. There is a typical F-Sport grille, as well as more aggressive bumpers and unique 18-inch wheels.
Also, this model comes with adaptive sports suspension and allows you to choose between different drive modes. Another "upgrade" is an active sound control system, basically nothing more than fake engine noise.
The interior of the Lexus UX F-Sport also comes with upgrades. You may count on F-Sport seats, as well as on upgrades like new gear lever, F-Sport steering wheel, pedals, and paddle shifters. This version available in different colour schemes and a bigger 8.0-inch instrument cluster screen.
Read the Lexus UX 200 F-Sport full review here.
Lexus UX 300e
The Lexus UX 300e is the all-electric version of the small crossover and the first-ever battery-electric car from Lexus. The model debuted recently, and the latest reports suggest it will hit the Australian market in November 2021. Pricing is yet to be announced.
While the styling looks pretty similar to the standard UX, things are much different under the skin. Of course, the most significant difference is in the drivetrain, as this version is powered by an electric motor (150 kW, 300 Nm) with a single-speed transmission sending power to the front axle. The car needs around 7.5 seconds to accelerate from 0 to 100 km/h.
A 54.3-kWh battery is positioned under the floor, and while the manufacturer claims 360 kilometres of the all-electric range, more realistic estimations suggest around 315 km between recharging. A fast-charging 50kW option is also available, which recharges 80% of the battery in 52 minutes.
What is the Toyota version of the Lexus UX?
The Lexus UX is underpinned on the same version of the TNGA platform as the Toyota C-HR, and despite all the extra features on the UX, the two models feature similar sizes and overall characters.
However, it’s incorrect to say that the two models are the same except for styling, interior quality, and standard equipment. There are more differences than meets the eye.
The C-HR is a lower-grade vehicle in many ways. For instance, it features a more basic suspension setup, especially on the rear end. It comes with less capable engines on offer, especially in Australia. Base versions are equipped with a 1.2-litre turbo engine, which features a max output of only 85 kW, paired with either a 6-speed manual or CVT gearbox.
The hybrid version is also less capable compared to the one found in the UX. This system is based on a 1.8-litre engine and offers a total output of around 91kW. Both petrol and hybrid versions need approximately 11 seconds to hit 100 km/h.
Did you like the article? Do you like cars? If so, feel free to bookmark our Carpedia page and find more interesting content.
Also, if you need parts and find it tedious or time-consuming to search around, you can use our Car Part Finder, and we’ll simplify things for you. Send us a parts request now!
By Nebojsa Grmusa