The UX 200 was design-led by Lexus’ first female chief engineer, Chika Kako.

Last week, we got up and close with the all-new Lexus UX 200 – the Japanese automaker’s first foray into the world of compact SUVs.

Launching as the younger, more urban-oriented brother to the NX 200, the UX 200 is the first model to be built on the Global Architecture – Compact (GA-C) platform, which features a lighter yet stronger body construction.

Following our brief introduction and handling of the UX, here’s everything we discovered about Lexus’ new entry-level urban crossover.

Exterior updates

First off, it’s worth mentioning that the UX 200 was design-led by Lexus’ first female chief engineer, Chika Kako. On that note, she’s taken significant measures to ensure the car performs to the standards of comfort and agility that it boasts.

While retaining a bold, sleek exterior akin to the NX 200, the UX sports new aero stabilizing wheel arch moldings and rear combination lamps that significantly reduce wind resistance for improved control and performance.

At the front, the trademark spindle grille is updated with a block-shape mesh that changes its appearance depending on the angle of view. It is flanked by ultra-compact triple-beam LED projector headlights and signature L-shaped day lights that provide enhanced visibility, while looking strikingly cool. The rear has also been updated with full-width headlights that end with upright fins, giving the car a more futuristic look we could get used to.

Japanese-inspired interiors

Inside, Lexus has designed the UX’s interiors in the spirit of ‘engawa’ – a Japanese concept of traditional architecture that seamlessly connects inside with the outside. This explains the wraparound dashboard that follows through the contours of the bonnet, allowing a better field of vision from the driver’s seat.

Japanese-inspired elements permeate throughout the cabin, given by the sashiko quilting on the leather upholstery and the washi-paper textured finish on the dashboard – both features unique to the Luxury variant. The former is a traditional stitching technique used in the making of Japanese martial arts uniforms, whereas the latter is commonly found in Japanese homes. Oh, and the front passenger seats are ventilated, by the way.

Its driver-centric design means that all vital controls are accessible from the driver’s seat, including the infotainment display that can be operated via touch pad. To meet the needs of the urban luxury consumer, the car is fitted with Apple Airplay and Android Auto connectivity, four USB charging ports and in-car Wi-Fi hotspot.

Driving performance

All UX variants are fitted with a 2.0-litre, 4-cylinder engine that produces 169 horsepower at 6,600rpm and 205 Nm of toque at 4,800 rpm. This takes the car from 0-100kmph in 9.2 seconds, with top speed capped at 190 kmph.

New to the UX is the first-of-its-kind 10-speed Direct-Shift Continuously Variable Transmission that offers more responsive acceleration, on-demand torque and better fuel efficiency.

Our short time behind the wheel from Lexus’ headquarters in Mutiara Damansara to LINC KL wasn’t quite sufficient for a conclusive review, but we did find the pick-up satisfyingly nippy, especially in Sports mode (compared to Normal and Eco). To add, it handled corners as smooth and agile as promised.

The UX also comes with the Lexus Safety System+ (LSS+) suite, which includes Front Pre-Collision System, Dynamic Radar Cruise Control, Lane Tracing Assist (LTA), Lane Departure Alert (LDA) and Adaptive High-beam System (AHS) as standard. Additional functions such as Blind Spot Monitor, Rear Cross Traffic Alert and Panoramic View Monitor are exclusive to the Luxury and F Sport variants.

The Lexus UX is available in three variants at launch: Urban, Luxury and F Sport. There are 9 colour options for the Urban and Luxury models, and 8 for the F Sport.

The Urban is priced at RM243,888, followed by the Luxury variant at RM283,888 and the top-of-the-line F Sport at RM299,888. All prices are on-the-road without insurance, inclusive of a five-year, unlimited-mileage warranty.

For more information, log on to the official website here.

Photos: Lexus