New 2019 Lexus UX Crossover Makes World Debut
First-ever Lexus compact luxury crossover is revealed at the 2018 Geneva Auto Show.
Following recent launches of its stunning new LC flagship coupe, LS flagship sedan, and three-row RX luxury utility vehicle, Lexus is opening a new gateway into the brand with the UX, its first-ever compact luxury crossover. Making its world debut at the 2018 Geneva Motor Show in Switzerland, the Lexus UX introduces a bold new design, ultra-efficient new powertrains and innovative luxury features.
“The first-ever Lexus UX is designed for the modern urban explorer seeking a fresh, contemporary and dynamic take on luxury driving,” said Chika Kako, executive vice president of Lexus International and chief engineer of the UX. “We designed the UX to appeal to buyers in their 30s who seek not only what is new and exciting, but what is also relevant to their lifestyles.”
The UX is the first Lexus to use the brand’s GA-C (Global Architecture–Compact) platform. The super-rigid structure and low center of gravity help the UX deliver exemplary handling agility and ride comfort, along with a distinctive driving personality.
The 2019 Lexus UX will be available in two versions: The UX 200 introduces a new 2.0-liter, four-cylinder engine coupled with a new Direct-Shift continuously variable transmission (CVT), while the UX 250h pairs the same 2.0-liter gas engine with a new fourth generation hybrid drive system. New technology that networks with navigation allows the UX 250h to proactively optimize hybrid operation by learning, and adapting to the driver’s routes and driving habits.
Daring Design, Urban Versatility
The UX makes a bold statement in a segment characterized by conventional SUV themes. The striking design, notable for its crisp, prominent sculpting, and dramatically flared front and rear fenders, envelops a cabin that provides a driver-focused cockpit and a roomy, relaxing space for passengers.
The UX’s spindle grille uses a new block-shape mesh pattern with individual elements that gradually change in shape as they radiate out from the central Lexus emblem. Daytime running lights arranged in an arrowhead motif above the headlights emphasize the Lexus L-shaped lighting signature and highlight the daring front-end design. At the rear, an simple styling treatment contrasts with the flared fenders to emphasize the UX’s dynamic and strong crossover qualities. The full-width taillights project a distinctive nighttime signature formed by a sequence of 120 LEDs and tapering toward the center.
The five-spoke 17-inch wheels feature a world-first aerodynamic design. Computer simulations and wind tunnel testing yielded a profile shape for the wheel’s spokes that increases the airflow to cool the disc brakes, without compromising the vehicle’s coefficient of drag (Cd).
The interior look and feel of the UX is pure Lexus. Inspired by a traditional Japanese concept that blurs the boundary between a home’s exterior and interior, designers created a feeling of seamless continuity for the UX. From the driver’s seat, the upper section of the instrument panel appears to extend out beyond the windshield, giving the driver an excellent field of vision and a clear sense of the vehicle’s dimensions.
A “seat-in-control” concept focuses operation of all key vehicle functions around the driver’s side of the cabin, and the seatback shape allows the driver to operate the controls while maintaining a comfortable, natural posture.
Chika Kako, Chief Engineer of the UX, drew on her experience in materials development and time spent working in Europe to help define the interior’s appearance and quality, in particular, applying an uncluttered “less is more” approach.
The UX’s sweeping instrument panel and cabin trim offer a choice of two different grain patterns and four colors. In a Lexus first, the UX offers a new trim finish inspired by the grain of Japanese paper, known as washi. A leather grain finish, shared with the Lexus LC coupe and LS sedan, is also available.
The 2019 Lexus UX is engineered to deliver the feeling of “elegant performance.” It’s quick and engaging, yet Lexus-smooth in demeanor. Central to the vehicle’s responsiveness and comfort, the GA-C platform gives the UX the lowest center of gravity of any vehicle in its class.
The MacPherson strut front suspension and double wishbone rear suspension system are specially tuned for a combination of urban agility and comfort over well-worn street surfaces. Details such as the quality of the damper oil, oil seals, and friction control in the shock absorbers have a significant impact on ride quality. An Electric Power Steering system with a new compact and highly rigid column assist supports handling with crisp, immediate response to driver inputs, with excellent steering feel.
UX 200: Ultra-Efficiency Engine & Direct-Shift CVT
Engaging performance and high fuel efficiency are also calling cards of the new, 168-horsepower 2.0-liter inline four-cylinder engine in the UX 200. Advanced technologies, including high-speed combustion, multi-hole direct fuel injectors, a continuously variable capacity oil pump, a variable cooling system, and VVT-iE intelligent variable valve-timing on the intake side give the engine maximum thermal efficiency of around 40 percent –an exceptional number for a passenger vehicle engine.
The brand’s first Direct Shift-CVT debuts in the UX 200 to play a key role in driving personality and efficiency by combining the smooth, fuel-efficient performance of a conventional continuously variable transmission with a more direct driving feel. The Lexus Direct Shift-CVT gives the UX a quicker, more linear acceleration feeling.
UX 250H: New Generation Lexus Hybrid Drive
The 2019 UX 250h has new-generation hybrid powertrain that delivers engaging performance and exemplary fuel efficiency. The new gasoline engine is notable for its high thermal efficiency, and the new hybrid system has a projected output of 176 total system horsepower. Optimizing the level of electric motor assistance and engine rpm produces a linear acceleration feel without the engine running at high revs. Engine speed is synchronized with vehicle speed to create an immediate and continuous acceleration feel.
The hybrid system has a compact and lightweight new transaxle and Power Control Unit, designed to minimize power losses through heat and friction. Locating the nickel metal-hydride (NiMH) battery and compact cooling system below the rear seat helps maximize cabin and cargo area space, and their location supports the vehicle’s low center of gravity.
The E-Four system gives the UX 250h all-wheel drive capability by using an additional electric motor on the rear axle. Power distribution between the front and rear axles is automatically optimized when accelerating, cornering, or driving on slippery surfaces. When a loss of rear-wheel grip is detected, power directed to the rear is increased to around 80 per cent, at speeds up to 43mph (70km/h), contributing to handling stability.
Predictive Efficient Drive
Some hybrid drivers enjoy using “hypermiling” techniques to maximize fuel efficiency. The Lexus UX 250h introduces new technologies that take hypermiling to new heights. The UX 250h debuts Predictive Efficient Drive, a Lexus-first system that analyzes driving habits and the expected road and traffic conditions to optimize charging and discharging of the hybrid battery. The more the UX 250h is driven, the more data is gathered to help optimize fuel consumption. The system can be turned off if desired.
The UX, the new gateway to the brand, will offer the Lexus Safety System+. It includes a Pre-Collision System (PCS) that can recognize pedestrians at night. Additionally, PCS radar capability has been extended to enable detection of cyclists during the day – road users who are involved in a high number of traffic accidents. The package available for the UX also includes Lexus Co DRIVE (featuring Lane Tracing Assist and Adaptive Cruise Control), Automatic High Beam/Adaptive High-beam System, and Road Sign Assist.
UX F SPORT
The F SPORT is available for both the UX 200 and UX 250h. Exclusive F SPORT suspension tuning includes specific springs and stabilizer bars, plus rear performance dampers to sharpen handling agility. The F SPORT option can be combined with a UX-tailored version of the high-response Adaptive Variable Suspension (AVS) system. The system increases damping force to minimize roll when cornering or changing lanes and reduces damping force in straight line driving to preserve ride quality. When AVS is fitted, it is linked to the Sport S+ mode in the vehicle’s Drive Mode Select system.
Exclusive exterior features that emphasize a low and wide form give the F SPORT versions a road-hungry look. The mesh version of the spindle grille immediately connects the vehicle to other F SPORT models. Large fog light bezels with L-shaped chrome moldings and detailing that repeats the F-mesh grille pattern amplify visual impact. An exclusive rear bumper design, 18-inch alloy wheels and jet-black trim on the front and rear moldings complete the F SPORT exterior transformation.
F SPORT-exclusive interior features include front sports seats made with a highly supportive integrated foaming technique. An instrument meter with a moving outer ring is an F SPORT signature feature inspired by the Lexus LFA supercar. The package for the UX also adds an F SPORT steering wheel with a dimpled leather covering (also on the shift knob), eight-inch TFT color display, plus sports aluminum pedals and footrest.
The UX F SPORT driving experience can be further enhanced with Active Sound Control (ASC), which generates the aural effect of up- and down-shifts like those of a geared automatic transmission. And additional Sonic Interaction Design (SID) function adjusts the sound the vehicle makes when driving in Sport S+ mode (S+ Sound).
The UX 200 and UX 250h will start production this fall and go on sale in the U.S. in December. Pricing will be announced closer to the on-sale date.