Lexus will debut its production-spec UX compact crossover at the 2018 Geneva International Motor Show on March 6. This new, highly stylized, five-seat crossover will slot under the NX crossover, meaning it will be the most affordable and most dimensionally tidy vehicle in Lexus’ lineup.
The UX will accompany Lexus’ new three-row version of the RX, the RX L, along with the new two-row and less expensive version of the LX 570. Sitting atop Lexus’ range of crossovers and SUVs is the LF-1 Limitless – a concept crossover that will soon be Lexus’s flagship vehicle.
Yes, times are indeed changing as Toyota’s luxury brand revamps itself from a sedan-heavy automaker to one that specialized in cushy crossovers. We’ll know more about the 2019 Lexus UX come March 6 at the Geneva Motor Show, but until then, check out what we know below.
Continue reading for more information on the 2019 Lexus UX.
Lexus UX Exterior
Lexus released a single teaser photo ahead of the 2018 Geneva Motor show, and in true teaser fashion, it only shows the fewest of details. Still, we can see the vehicle features a stylized LED taillight feature that juts upward from the rear fenders, likely in some effort to improve aerodynamics while simultaneously looking cool. The roof clearly features a shark fin antenna and roof rails. We can see the center high-mount stoplight perched under the spoiler that sits above the rear window.
However, a little work in Photoshop easily brings more features to light.
Lexus will clearly use its familiar naming scheme with the UX. The model seen here is the UX 250h, meaning it will have a gasoline hybrid powertrain that likely uses Lexus’ 2.5-liter four-cylinder found in the NX 300h. The other noticeable feature is the Lexus badge featured between the taillights. It almost looks like a license plate in the photo, but it’s hard to tell for sure.
Also visible are fender flares (likely black plastic) and a stylized lower apron on the rear bumper. Street-biased tires are mounted toward the corners of the crossover, helping maximize interior space while assisting in on-road stability.
Lexus UX Interior
Lexus has not teased the UX’s production-spec interior and we don’t see it looking anything like the UX Concept from 2016. One thing we are hoping for is an improved infotainment system with a more user-friendly input system. Lexus’ current mouse and trackpad methods are too clunky and hard to use quickly. Perhaps a touchscreen will finally be added, making selections much simpler.
As mentioned, the UX will seat five people, though two across in the back seat will be far more comfortable. Expect heated and vented seats to be options buried deep inside some expensive package, just like on other Lexus models. A Mark Levinson sound system will also be optional. We’re betting features like Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, and a Wi-Fi hotspot won’t be included.
Cargo room is expected to be class-average for compact luxury crossovers, so plan on no more than a weekend’s worth of luggage for four people. Folding the seats flat will generate more cargo space, of course.
Lexus UX Drivetrain
While we can’t say for sure what lurks under the UX’s hook, we’re betting it’s the familiar 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder found across the Lexus lineup. In the NX crossover, this engine makes 235 horsepower and 258 pound-feet of torque. A six-speed automatic transmission and FWD will likely be standard in the UX’s base configuration.
As for the UX 250h, we’re guessing the NX’s 2.5-liter four-cylinder will be used. It that application, it makes 194 total system horsepower and is mated to an electric motor sandwiched between the engine and Continuously Variable Transmission. The NX 300h comes standard with AWD and uses the engine to turn the front wheels and a separate electric motor to turn the rear wheels.
Only time will tell if Lexus uses this same powertrain configuration in the 2019 UX 250h. We should know for sure come March 6 at 10 a.m. local time in Geneva.
Lexus UX Prices
Lexus has not announced pricing for the 2019 UX crossover, but we expect it to start well under the 2018 NX’s base price of $35,985. Lexus could start pricing around $29,000 to attract younger, less affluent buyers. On the other hand, if Lexus set prices at $30,000, the price would make the UX seem more “luxury” and might help preserve Lexus image as a premium brand. It just depends on how Lexus wants to be perceived.
Lexus UX Competition
The current Q3 might not be around much longer as Audi works to move the 2019 model onto its popular and versatile MQB platform that underpins seemingly everything under the Volkswagen wheelhouse. As such, the next-generation Q3 will have access to a slew of new technology and drivetrain options, including advanced active safety systems and hybrid powertrains. The compact crossover has already proved its value to Audi thanks to the explosion in popularity of the crossover craze.
Currently, the 2018 Audi Q3 offers room for five, 16.7 cubic feet of cargo behind the second row, and comes powered by a 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder making 200 horsepower, 207 pound-feet of torque, and getting up to 28 mpg on the highway. Every Q3 comes with a six-speed automatic transmission and Audi’s quattro AWD.
Prices for 2018 start at $32,900 for the “base” Premium model and $35,800 for the Premium Plus.
Read our full review on the 2018 Audi Q3.
The X1 is BMW’s answer to the compact crossover craze and an expansion of its lineup of SUVs that originated with the X5 back in 1999. Unlike the mid-size X5, the X1 is far more of a crossover due to is FWD-based architecture an on-road bias. It does have the option of BMW’s xDrive AWD system, but it’s geared toward all-weather applications. As for interior accommodations, there is room for five (four comfortably) and an impressive 27.1 cubic feet behind the second row.
A single engine is offered – a 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder making 228 horsepower and 258 pound-feet of torque, which is almost a dead ringer for the Lexus NX’s 2.0-liter turbo-four’s output. An eight-speed automatic sends power to the front wheels unless xDrive is ordered, in which case, all four wheels are powered.
Pricing starts at $33,900 for the 2018 28i model. Opting for the xDrive 28i pushed the base price to $35,900.
Read our full review on the 2017 BMW X1.
The upcoming 2019 Lexus UX will be an important vehicle for Lexus. While it won’t carry the clout as the LF-1 Limitless, it will offer an entry-level luxury experience at an entry-level luxury price for those who are just getting starting in their climb up the corporate ladder. As the age-old sales theory goes; customers start at the bottom and trade up over the years, eventually retiring with the most luxurious and most expensive model offered. Lexus’ progression will soon include the UX, NX, RX, LX, and LF-1. A college grad who just landed a fantastic job buys the UX. The newlyweds buy the NX. The new family buys the RX or RX L. The empty nesters buy the LX. Those with a large enough nest egg buy the LF-1. It’s all very clever marking.
We’ll have more information on the 2019 Lexus UX as it becomes available on March 6, so stay tuned to TopSpeed.com.
Read our full review on the 2016 Lexus UX Concept.
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