Japanese luxury marque Lexus has introduced what they’re going to great lengths to call their new entry-level model, a title that’s only accurate with a caveat. The UX compact-SUV is only the “new gateway model” if you discard the long-standing CT200h hatch, which based on Lexus’ communique, they’d like you to do very much. Playing favourites much?
The UX will arrive in Australia in both UX200 & UX200h guises, and be available to order in Luxury, Sport Luxury, and F-Sport trims. The UX200 is standard, and offers up 126kW of power sent to the front wheels via a CVT-automatic. The hybrid variants add $3500 to the purchase price, and if you need it, you can add another $4,500 for the E-Four all-wheel drive system (which we’d recommend only to those who regularly traverse unsealed surfaces or drive long-distances).
The E-Four AWD system powers the rear wheels exclusively via the electric motor, making it a great safety net in less-than-ideal conditions. A posh Suzuki Jimny, this is not.
With prices starting at $44,450 for the UX200 Luxury, it makes the list of standard kit really rather compelling, as it comes with a whole bunch of big-car kit that you really don’t expect in a small car. Lexus Safety Sense + is standard, which throws in things like adaptive cruise control, collision warning (with pedestrian detection), lane departure warning, automatic high-beams, blind-spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic alert, and traffic-sign recognition. This is in addition to passive kit like 8-airbags, as well as parking sensors, speed-limit warnings, tyre-pressor monitoring, and reversing camera.
Base Luxury models get 17-inch alloys, LED headlights, taillights, and fog lights, acoustic windscreen glass, and roof rails. Inside, they benefit from a leather-accented steering wheel, leather-wrapped gear lever, auto-dimming rear-view mirror, 8-way powered front seats (with heating), and even a power-adjustable steering wheel. You also get a 10.3-inch infotainment screen with satellite navigation, paired to an 8-speaker audio system.
Move up to Sports Luxury cars and you get 18-inch alloys as standard, as well as leather upholstery, ventilation for the front seats (in addition to heating), a 13-speaker Mark Levinson audio system, adaptive headlights, and 360º cameras.
But step up to flagship F-Sport cars and you get more aggressive bumpers, a sharper grille, and unique 18-inch alloys. You also get unique F-Sport seats, steering wheel, gear shifter and pedals. Further, UX F-Sport variants get adaptive suspension that allows you to firm up the ride and sharpen the handling, as well as five drive modes (standard cars get three), performance dampers at the rear, and even “active sound control” to try and get over the fact that you have a CVT automatic in the middle.
|Grade||UX200||UX250h 2WD||UX250h AWD|
While the Lexus UX is certainly competitively-priced, some of the options are rather nasty, as we feel some of this kit ought to be offered as standard. For one, you need to pay an additional $3500 for a smart key card on Sports Luxury cars (which also adds a moonroof and heads-up display), while on F-Sport cars, that’ll cost you $5,600 (but also add the Mark Levinson system, heads-up display, and 360º camera). And all grades will charge you $1500 if you want premium paint. That’s kinda mean, no?