Lexus UX review: The brand's smallest car is its best one yet
It might have escaped your notice, but Lexus today, is a carmaker quite far removed from just a decade ago. In that it now offers up a slew of vehicles squarely aimed at younger urbanites. Yes, while it still makes the big saloons that so defined the brand in its early days, it also now makes cars with far more modern bodystyles.
Case in point the UX here. Nominally the size of a small hatchback, it also has the jacked-up stance and offroad-y styling elements of an SUV, such as matte black accents above its wheels.
It’s a brave new world for Lexus, and its first crack at the segment, so it helps the car is really, really good. There’s plenty to love about the new UX, not least of which is its price. The UX starts from $152,800, which is positively bargain basement (for a Lexus), and while it is pitched as the entry point into the Lexus lineup, it certainly doesn’t feel like it from the inside.
Here are some of our favourite bits about the new baby Lexus.
Edgy exterior styling
Now, we’ve accused Lexus of over-styling its cars in the past, what with their multitude of lines, cuts and angles, and it’s no different in the UX. But somehow here it just works for the car’s compact dimensions. Where a large amount of creases looks incredibly awkward on the brand’s full-sized RX SUV, on the UX it looks fresh and modern. We especially love the three-dimensional, jutting taillight cluster and the horizontal red bar that bisects its rear end. And the matte black plastic cladding above its wheels that give the UX a touch of off-roading butch that goes so well with the rest of its edgy, modern styling. The automotive equivalent of wearing combat boots with a flowy dress.
It comes in orange
Or more accurately in Lexus’ own words, “Blazing Carnelian Contrasting Layering”. We’re not entirely sure what those words mean exactly, but what we can tell you is the colour looks sensational in the metal. It’s not quite as orange as the photos would have you believe, with the actual colour closer to a sort of bronze-y hue, similar to the clay you see in all those images of the Australian Outback. If orange isn’t quite your thing, it also comes in a metallic military green (Terrain Khaki Mica Metallic) or electric blue (Celestial Blue Glass Flake), with the above three colours developed specifically for the UX. More subdued shades such as white, black and silver can also be had, but really, why bother? If only for the mic-dropping pleasure of telling people your new set of wheels is painted in Blazing Carnelian Contrasting Layering.
That cabin though
In the grand scheme of Lexus things, the UX sits right at the bottom of the lineup. For the price of a little under four UXs, you could buy yourself one of the carmaker’s flagship coupes, the LC. The natural assumption is Lexus has cut a few interior quality corners with its most affordable product. There are certain places where Lexus has scrimped, but thankfully, those elements are few and far between. For the most part, its cabin is supremely luxurious. The textured materials surrounding its central infotainment screen is just as nice to touch as it is to look at, and the leather upholstery on its seats is buttery smooth. Even something as mundane as the controls for its air-conditioning system work with a nicely damped click. The UX may be the baby of the Lexus lineup, but at a cut-price, cut-quality offering it certainly isn’t.
The little details
You know a car is good when it sweats the small stuff. Things like the knobs for the air vents that adjust the airflow, for instance. In the Lexus UX, the central bits light up with a soft blue-white glow. It sounds a little cheesy, but just look at it. The textured, three-dimensional shape underneath, the uniformity of the lighting without any ‘hot spots’. Yes, we’re geeking out, but can you really blame us? Seriously though, wow.
Finally, a useful wireless charging pad
To be certain, a wireless charging pad in cars is not a new idea. Lexus have had this feature in their cars for ages, but this time, it’s actually useful. Previously, it used to be hidden inside the centre tunnel box, but now, it’s a tray below the air-conditioning controls. And because its sides and front are completely open, it’ll accommodate even the largest phones with ease, without you having to perform some contortionist moves with your device to get it in. Remember how we said Lexus sweats the small stuff? That’s evident here too, because the base of the charging pad is rubberised, your phone is held securely and won’t go flying about, even when driving the car hard. Trust us on this, we tried it.