Lexus Targets the Hip Urban Crowd with the New UX (Urban Explorer)

March 8, 2018

Last week, Lexus gave us a sneak preview of its upcoming compact SUV, the UX or Urban Explorer. Now, the first-ever Lexus Sport Utility Vehicle of its kind makes its world debut at the Geneva Motor Show in Switzerland.

A close look at the exterior reveals a bold and stylish number tht is more akin to a hatchback than an outright off-road capable SUV. Its 4,495mm long, 1,840mm wide, and 1,520mm tall body with a 2,640mm wheelbase promise easy maneuverability without sacrificing interior space.

It’s typical Lexus styling, this time with bold details such as the slim headlights and taillights, flared wings, and sleek overall profile. And of course, the trademark spindle grille up front gives the SUV the family identity.

But unlike the usual vehicles we have on the road, the Lexus UX utilizes a new concept that takes its cue from a traditional Japanese concept that blends the outside with the inside world. The hood of the vehicle, for instance, seems to connect seamlessly with the instrument panel inside the vehicle—and vice-versa. When sitting inside, the driver’s field of vision is increased, helping him or her know the size of the vehicle more easily.

In line with this, the interior has been designed with a more human-centered approach. The placement of controls, for instance, is made easier to understand and operate. The driver’s side only has all the necessary instruments and controls to avoid any distractions. And of course, appearance and textures of touch points and things that can be seen are made in such a way that they are truly relaxing and inviting.

These surfaces include the seats that are upholstered in sashiko-like leather—a quilting technique used for Judo and Kendo martial arts uniforms. Then there is the grain used on the dash and other trim pieces that takes inspiration form washi, which is a woodgrain usually seen in traditional Japanese homes.

Beyond the appearance, however, the new Lexus UX is also about giving “an elegant drive”. This bit of marketing fluff is essentially Lexus-speak for letting drivers experience a relaxed yet still exhilarating time behind the wheel.

Utilizing the new global architecture platform GA-C that is seen on a Lexus for the first time, the UX can be had in either a self-charging hybrid (UX 250h) that pumps out 178hp that comes in either front- or four-wheel drive; or a new 2.0-liter gasoline engine with high thermal efficiency, paired with a Direct Shift CVT.

It must be noted that this new Lexus isn’t just a new segment for the brand. It likewise uses a host of technologies that are firsts for Lexus. Details like the taillights, wheel arches, and even the wheel designs are all rendered with aerodynamic efficiency in mind. Then there is the single knob for airflow direction and volume, along with the wireless lighting. These allow for larger air vents—something folks in warmer climates would appreciate. And this compact crossover is a smart one with its host of predictive tech such as Predictive Decceleration, Predictive State of Charge, and the like—all designed to make life easier and safer.

The Lexus UX will go on sale later this year.

About the Author

Mr. Gerard Jude Castillo
Gerard has been a self-confessed car nut ever since he was a little boy. As a grown-up, he indulges in his passion by collecting toy cars (which he started since childhood) and reading up on the latest cars out there.  As Associate Editor, he will ensure that you get your fill of the latest cars in the market, as well as a load of automotive features.