Lexus recently introduced the smallest member of its SUV clan.
It’s called the UX and Lexus claims it combines charismatic design and ultra-efficient powertrains in an attractive crossover package.
The UX is available in two front-wheel drive versions. The UX 200 introduces a new two-litre four-cylinder engine, which is coupled with a CVT transmission. The UX 250h makes use of the same engine, but coupled to a new fourth-generation hybrid drive system. The 200 UX is also available in top-spec F Sport guise.
The UX 200 produces 126kW and 205Nm of torque. The Hybrid delivers 107kW of power at 6000r/min and 180Nm of torque at 4400r/min (total system output of 135kW), equating to a 0-100km/h sprint time of 8.5 seconds, topped off by a maximum speed of 177 km/h (governed). It produces fuel economy figures of 4.5-litres/100km combined and CO2 emissions of 103g/km.Compared to similarly-sized Lexus hybrid, the power control unit of the UX is more powerful yet 20% smaller and 10% lighter.
On the design front Lexus says it went for a blend of rugged and sporty. It certainly stands out in a crowd and if you’re interested in making it stand out even more, you can choose from 13 exterior colours. Two of those colours, White Nova and Heat Blue, are exclusive to the F Sport.
The F Sport package also includes a bespoke suspension setup, 18-inch twin-spoke alloys and additional settings on the drive mode selector. To add to the mood when driving, the F Sport has an Active Sound Control (ASC), which generates the aural effect of up and down shifts. It also makes the car sound more aggressive in Sport S+ mode.
F Sport interior features include front sports seats made with a highly supportive integrated-foaming technique first developed for Lexus F models. The digitally-rendered instrument meter features a movable virtual ring inspired by the Lexus LFA supercar. A leather-covered steering wheel, leather-trimmed shift knob, eight‑inch colour display, aluminium pedals and footrest are also part of the package.
The UX offers 6-way manual (UX 200 EX) or eight-way power-adjustable (F Sport and Hybrid) front seats, the latter with adjustable lumbar support for the driver. Other luxuries include a three spoke steering, analogue clock from the LS, climate control and switches that have a “Lexus feel.”
As is standard in most luxury SUVs these days, you get a colour screen from where most of the features are operated. In the Lexus you interact with said screen via a touch pad located next to the driver/passenger.
Unlike most luxury SUVs, Lexus is known for including quite a lot as standard. In all UX models you get a premium sound system with eight speakers and dual rear-seats USB ports for recharging the kids’ devices. You can also order a 13-speaker Mark Levinson premium surround sound system. This system is standard on F Sport and Hybrid models.
All UX models are equipped with eight airbags: driver and front passenger airbags; driver and front passenger knee airbags; driver and front passenger seat-mounted side impact airbags and front to rear side curtain airbags.
The Lexus UX models retail from R599 000 for the EX grade, R699 000 for the Hybrid 250h SE and R726 200 for the F Sport. The entire UX range boasts a seven-year/105 000km warranty and maintenance plan.