Lexus hosted the world debut of its new UX at the 2018 Geneva Motor Show, a free-spirited crossover crafted expressly for the modern urban explorer who seeks a fresh, contemporary and dynamic take on a luxury lifestyle.
“Right from the start, I focused on the target customer – mid-30s, millennials, men and women – and tried to understand how they would expect a luxury compact vehicle to change their lives and enable new experiences. That’s what led us to the basic vehicle concept for the UX of Creative Urban Explorer – a new genre of crossover,” said Chika Kako, chief engineer of the UX.
The UX is a new gateway vehicle for Lexus, it is rich in the qualities that define the brand: brave design, exhilarating performance, and imaginative technology.
Led by Chief Engineer Kako and Chief Designer Tetsuo Miki, the development teams have worked closely to produce a car in which the exterior and interior appear almost seamlessly linked. Powerful bodywork, notable for its impressively flared front and rear wings, clothes a cabin that provides a driver-focused cockpit and an open, relaxing space for passengers. While still offering a commanding view from the steering wheel, the UX offers a driving position that makes the crossover feel more like a responsive hatchback to drive, rather than an SUV.
The UX further marks a series of technical innovations, including the first use of the new global architecture platform named GA-C, which delivers fundamental high structural rigidity and a low centre of gravity, thus securing excellent ride quality and stability. New powertrains are also deployed for the first time: a new 2.0-liter petrol engine that reaps the performance and fuel economy benefits of high thermal efficiency; and a new mid- power, fourth generation self-charging hybrid system.
The aim for the UX was not to conform to the established, solid crossover look, but to achieve a compact design that is both strong and stylish, breaking with the conventions of the segment to deliver something more distinctive and dynamic.
This design approach can be seen at work in the way the front and rear wings flare strongly outwards in relation to the car’s basic form, which flows out from the lines of the spindle grille to envelop the cabin. The meticulously formed exterior surfaces are simple but captivating, expressing strength and dynamism.
The UX measures 4,495 mm long, 1,520 mm high, and 1,840 mm wide, and has a 2,640 mm wheelbase. An 870 mm couple distance ensures ample space for rear seat passengers, while the load area is a generous 791 mm long.
Chief Engineer Kako drew on her earlier experience in materials development and time spent working in Europe to help define the quality and appearance of the interior, in particular applying an uncluttered “less is more” approach to achieve the desired effect.
“In the course of [my earlier]work, I learned that even if the elements that make up the interior, such as the seats, instrument panel and ornamentation, are all made to a high specification, that doesn’t necessarily mean that the overall look will give an elegant impression. When it comes to determining whether an interior is good or bad, controlling the overall balance between the continuity, unity and contrast is more important than the relative specifications of individual components,” she added.
Two new powertrains made their debut: a new, fourth-generation self-charging hybrid system with 178 DIN hp/131kW1 and the choice of front wheel drive or E-Four in the UX 250h; and a new 2.0-liter petrol engine with high thermal efficiency, available with a new Direct Shift continuously variable transmission in the UX 200.
Suspension, steering and tires have also all been developed to support Lexus’ dynamic and performance ambitions for the UX.
First use of new global architecture platform named GA-C
The UX is the first Lexus to be constructed using the new global architecture platform named GA-C, the foundation for the car’s dynamic performance. Its development focused on giving the UX nimble and instant response to the driver’s inputs, while communicating a sense of stability and safety.