Lexus UX for Urban X-over.
When we talk about Lexus UX, we immediately think of UX as User Experience: utility, ease of use and efficiency in human–computer interaction. While when you think of Lexus, you often have in mind huge sedans or gigantic coupes designed around a trunk that must always be able to contain a golf bag and its caddie, in the greatest comfort.
Which is all premium grand touring cars specifications since Dallas TV show in the 80s. Except for a few years.
In a world where mini SUV are kings, Lexus had to reinvent itself and offer something new without denying its values. So we went on Spanish roads to discover the Japanese premium crossover. That’s good, I’m urban and I like to xover stuff.
A very Lexus design for the UX
There are two kinds of people, those who love Lexus style and those who hate Lexus style. To be honest, I used to be confused with this design bias, probably too shy at first and then too outgoing recently, perhaps too exotic for European tastes. I often had the impression that the brand took any sedan and Lexufised it. And then one day arrived the LC! Wow! And that’s cool because all the new Lexus range is declined on the splendid LC style.
For the Lexus UX, Lexuification experiment went rather well. Largely inspired by its big brother the RX, it’s definitely a Lexus. The shape is tortured, as usual but keeps regular SUV proportions, which gives a not unpleasant impression of déjà vu.
Close to the car, you notice a line in a half circle that starts from a headlight and crosses the hood to the other headlight. It’s really very delicate and beautiful.
For us, the F Sport pack is the prettiest UX version. Indeed, it offers a more discreet grille which integrates the fog lights perfectly.
From the side, the line is more conventional for the segment, even if the car seems low, lower than the average. The lines movement give roundness and dynamism to the whole body. But where is the trunk? From here it looks like it has been truncated.
Finally, the back is short and curved, like a real small hatchback. According to me, it’s probably the most original and remarkable angle of the car, everything is proportioned and balanced well. We find a Porsche 4S taillight (very pretty) that ends with a flat surface and a kind of appendage back on the edge of the rear light. It is very functional to hang a jacket or sign a paper: I love it.
All this to say, the UX 250h hides some subtleties that are to discover and appreciate on a daily basis. Even if I would have preferred to not discover not very exciting wheels, unintegrated exhaust pipe, and its black matte plastic wheel arch and rocker panel. They look like parts of the new Toyota RAV4.
Takumi, engawa, omotenashi: Japanese lesson time
The first thing you notice when you drive this Lexus UX is serenity on board. No or few sounds disturb the trip (when you’re driving quietly).
F Sport suspensions are excellent (well-tested on speed bumps), the chassis is dynamic and makes you feel comfortable in almost any situation.
Yes we feel good in this UX, this is what the Japanese call “omotenashi”, sense of hospitality. In fact, Lexus was inspired by what is best in European car production and what they knew how to do. We find very flat Peugeot 508 buttons, a beautiful brushed dark aluminum imitation plastic, superb and very enveloping leather seats (in F Sport), very elegant micro perforated leathers.
Exterior design continues inside (but softened), which is rather pleasant. Lexus calls it “engawa” when the design goes on the inside. However Wikipedia says: “in Japanese architecture, an engawa (縁 側 or 掾 側) or (縁) is an edging strip of non-tatami-matted flooring, usually wood or bamboo”. It’s not clear.
Inside, we regret perhaps the small numbers of materials and colors available but it is already much fancier and minimalist (in a good way) that many models of the segment. It is probably the “takumi” master craftsmen touch, who oversaw the design of the car.
More surprising, I turn my head and I see a Gundam. You know those giant Japanese robots that we saw in Power Rangers TV show! Easter egg or not, we can see a robot face that clearly draws the central air buttons and flat buttons below. So cool.
Finally, we find what Lexus did in the past: touch pads positioned behind the gear lever, so inaccessible from the driver’s seat and two horn-shaped buttons above the steering wheel that are not very easy to use.
On the road aboard the new Lexus UX 250h
Driving experience is great, especially for me who isn’t used to drive hybrid crossovers. Finally I found a SUV with which I don’t feel like driving a truck. The seats are low and my center of gravity too. I love this driving position (and yet I’m tall): it feels like being one with the car (even if the direction is very comfortable).
When you press hard on the gas, it’s the opposite. Hybrid engines are replaced by the gasoline engine 2.0 184 cv … And here is the drama. Nothing happens, well not much, except a metallic sound similar to a drill. This is the famous CVT transmission (and the 4 cylinders).
Everything was fine, it was flexible and pleasant but not at high RPM. It grumbles and the 184 cv seem not enough to tow the 1600 kg of the 4WD version. It is not because the tachometer turns orange in Sport + mode that the car is moving faster… unfortunately. However, the steering is harder and the adaptive variable suspension makes driving more enjoyable and dynamic.
Finally, we found ESP off button and and and and …. it didn’t change anything. Even on gravel, the car is stuck to the ground: 1 – for safety – 0 for fun. It is definitely a city SUV.
#FunToDrive score: 68
New Lexus UX 250h is not a fun car, on the other hand it is a smooth and nice car. Under the heading of raw and sharp sculpture, hides a cocoon of softness and refinement. When we are inside, we want to stay here forever (both on the driver side and the passenger side). We immediately notice a real concern for details. That’s a great UX: User Experience.
F Sport version and its special shock absorbers and stabilizer bars are indispensable for us. Thanks to that, crossing the city every day aboard a Lexus UX will be soothing, driving hundreds of kilometers on highway will be relaxing, and enjoying winding roads … Uh not enjoy, just bearable because the best chassis and suspensions will never erase a tasteless and noisy hybrid motorization (despite the effort of soundproofing).
To sum up, forget old retired doctors and big golf bags, say hello to young head of advertising and Fjallraven backpacks: here is the real revolution.
This car is perfect for young people (not too young either because of the price) urban parents who want to drive like in their bed, in a stylish bed/car, while consuming less gas. However, they haven’t got the time to go on holidays for too long or have very small children (in cm). Indeed, we aren’t specialists in the capacity of trunks (we don’t care at all) but it looks very small.
Ps: metallic green khaki color is just amazing!