Lexus chose to unveil the next step of their product expansion plans at the 2018 Geneva Motor Show, with the 2019 Lexus UX taking centre stage of their show stand. Due to go on sale in Australia in early 2019, the UX is Lexus’ smallest SUV offering yet.
Based on the company’s new GA-C platform, the UX will be offered with two drivetrains – a 2.0-litre petrol and a 2.0-litre petrol hybrid. Pricing is expected to kick off from around $40,000 when the UX arrives, and it will compete with cars such as the Volvo XC40, Mercedes-Benz GLA and BMW’s X1and X2 twins.
Lexus Australia chief executive Scott Thompson said the UX would be the most important new model for Lexus sales since the NX Line arrived in 2014.
“The UX with its all-inclusive luxury will further broaden our range and enable Lexus sales to cross over the 10,000 sales barrier for the first time in our history,” Mr Thompson said.
“For the first time, Lexus can compete in the luxury small-SUV segment, growing that category by attracting new, younger customers while offering an aspirational alternative to our long-standing customers,” he said.
The 2019 Lexus UX sits on Lexus’ new GA-C platform, which is part of Toyota’s TNGA family – this means that the UX sits on the same architecture as the Toyota C-HR. Measuring 4,495mm long, 1,520mm high and 1,840mm wide, the UX is sized very similarly to the C-HR’s 4,360mm length, 1,565mm height and 1,795mm width. In fact, they both share a 2,640mm long wheelbase.
Where the two differ under the skin is with their available drivetrains. The 2018 Lexus UX will be available with two different petrol engines – a new 2.0-litre motor that is derived from Toyota’s Dynamic Force family producing around 130kW in the UX200, and then a new UX250h hybrid drivetrain featuring the same 2.0-litre petrol engine. A new ‘direct shift’ CVT automatic gearbox will be standard with all UX models – the same gearbox that will be offered in the new Toyota Corolla. As with rivals and the C-HR, the UX will be available in both front- and all-wheel drive formats.
Whilst the C-HR is a very uniquely styled car, the 2019 Lexus UX takes that uniqueness up a notch with a distinctly futuristic and Japanese look. Lexus’ corporate spindle grille again features on the UX, though it’s even larger in this application. The grille is joined by aggressive LED headlights, and large air intakes on the side of the front, and like the rest of the car, these are primarily for aero purposes and increasing the car’s efficiency. The exterior styling borrows from the larger Lexus NX SUV, with several creases covering the UX’s body. The rear is more distinctive than the front, with a new Lexus design touch – a continuous LED light strip that runs across the rear end.
The interior of the 2019 Lexus UX is less distinctive than the exterior, though appears just as high quality as its more expensive siblings – and much more expensive-looking than the Lexus CT hatchback. Featuring a similar passenger-side swoop as the C-HR, Lexus’ newest infotainment system with a redesigned track pad is present in an 8.0-inch screen size and the whole interior focuses on ‘human-centred design’, according to the brand.
Like the C-HR, the 2019 Lexus UX updates the brand’s active safety systems and now includes the latest version of Lexus’ Safety Shield. In addition to active safety equipment already available on Lexus products such as autonomous emergency braking, radar cruise control, lane departure warning, automatic high beam lighting, rear traffic alert and blind spot monitoring, the UX also includes a pre-collision system that detects pedestrians at night, as well as cyclists in the daytime. Adaptive high beam is also available, as is road sign assist and lane tracing assist.
The 2019 Lexus UX has been confirmed for Australian sales in early 2019, with pricing expected to start at around $40,000. Both the UX200 and UX250h will be offered, and a range of trim options will also exist, including a sportier-looking F Sport model pictured in white.
Stay tuned to Chasing Cars for news and reviews regarding the Lexus range.