Lexus UX: First Generation

Motor Trend Interviews Lexus UX Chief Engineer Chika Kako

Lexus UX F SPORT

Motor Trend has an interview with Chika Kako, Lexus International executive vice-president and the chief engineer of the new UX:

Motor Trend: What vehicles did you benchmark?

Chika Kako: As a crossover we checked of course, BMW X1, Mercedes-Benz GLA, [and] Audi Q3. We also [checked the] Audi A3, Mercedes-Benz A-Class, and BMW 1 Series. If we look at the market here right now, BMW X2 is coming, our package is quite close.

MT: UX rides on the Lexus GA-C. What is the GA-C and TNGA?

CK: At Lexus GA-C is our global architecture “C-platform” and it’s the same TNGA platform as CH-R, Auris, and of course, Prius. It’s a common (shared) platform, however, because the basis already provides good noise and vibration levels, as well as drivability and rigidity, we were able to further expand and enhance from what we had as a baseline.

There are several things we have done [at Lexus for UX]. We have made center of gravity lower, we are using aluminum doors, fender and foot panels, and the [liftgate] is a resin door with aluminum reinforcement. These changes make the center of gravity lower. Body rigidity is also reinforced by using laser screw welding and body adhesives in the structure. This makes the body more rigid and handling response better.

There’s some detail into how the Lexus UX design factors in aerodynamics:

MT: The taillights on the UX are very striking. Can you talk about the design?

CK: The appearance is quite unique, but it serves an aerodynamic function and is inspired by the rear wing of a race car. Our designers and engineers collaborated on the question, “How can we modify the shape and stabilize the airflow?“

It’s about letting the airflow be smoothed out, rather than the air wrapping around behind the car creating different pressure zones. That kind of thinking was also applied on the fender edge molding. If you look at the car, there is quite a unique shape to the fender. The upper portion is quite straight, but the back edge is abrupt. This is really for the aerodynamics.

Kako also confirmed that that fender molding will only be available in black, and that the UX will be manufactured at the Kyushu factory in Japan. The on-sale date is October in Europe and December for North America.

Comments
C
Looks good. Overall I like it and I may want to get one. We'll see what the wife says though if she wants to give up her '17 RX F SPort! :D

However, one gripe I have with Lexus still with most their cars is they are underpowered. 168 hp or 176 hp (hybrid) does not cut it today when competition has turbo fours pumping out 250+ hp (Volvo XC40, Jag E-Pace, to name a couple.)
OK now the looks make much more sense.
corradoMR2
Looks good. Overall I like it and I may want to get one. We'll see what the wife says though if she wants to give up her '17 RX F SPort! :D

However, one gripe I have with Lexus still with most their cars is they are underpowered. 168 hp or 176 hp (hybrid) does not cut it today when competition has turbo fours pumping out 250+ hp (Volvo XC40, Jag E-Pace, to name a couple.)
While US is not UX's major market and despite the fact that there will be a 206hp UX250 for the US. It is very true that the UX will not be convincing enough when the XC40 starts with 248hp and AWD.
ssun30
While US is not UX's major market and despite the fact that there will be a 206hp UX250 for the US. It is very true that the UX will not be convincing enough when the XC40 starts with 248hp and AWD.
Are we sure there will actually be a UX 250? The press release says:

"The UX 200 and UX 250h will start production this fall and go on sale in the U.S. in December. Pricing will be announced closer to the on-sale date."
Gecko
Are we sure there will actually be a UX 250?
Maybe I should use 'despite the fact' less then...it will suck if there isn't one.
Don't want to steal the thread but CT replacement has debuted as new Toyota Auris as well, all together with UX hybrid powertrain. Can you imagine UX interior with this exterior? Surfaces and lights look more premium than UX. I don't want to spam with pictures but the back of it look like evolved CT

Could this be the first Lexus to be fully electrified? Early 2020's is what Toyota says and this is the only Lexus (at least at the moment) on the new platform.
A few things I like:
  • The non-F Sport model is definitely nicer looking than the F Sport model, IMO. I like the normal mesh grille pattern a lot more.
  • The sashiko leather treatment is absolutely gorgeous - I hope this moves to many other models quickly.
  • Similarly, the washi trim also looks really unique and beautiful. I'm loving these traditional Japanese influences... finally!
  • Overall, the interior looks top-rate for the class.
  • Are the triple LED projectors standard? If so, that's also impressive for this class.
  • There is a lot of tech packed into this thing: eFour AWD, new CVTs, new engines, Predictive Efficient Drive, etc
  • I was worried about the unibrow tail lights but they actually look really nice

A few things I don't like:
  • When is this horrendous front overhang issue going to stop? With a strong tailwind from the rear, it looks like this UX could tip forward. Awful. Awful, awful. I don't know if it's FWD or the packaging around the spindle grille or both, but it really is TERRIBLE.
  • The overall design. Why does it just look like a lifted hatchback? I feel like Lexus could and should have done more to make it look like a proper SUV - more upright at the front, a straighter, more upright roofline and ditch the fastback rear end. As much as shoppers are caught up in the CUV craze, what we know is that they like SUV-looking vehicles that drive like cars. The Toyota FT-4X and forthcoming Mercedes GLB are going to be immensely popular for this reason. I'd have preferred something that looked less like a lowered Nissan Juke and more like a mini SUV.
  • Anemic engines. 168hp base and 176hp hybrid is just not enough for North American luxury buyers. C-HR is already 3,300lbs... what is this going to be? 3,600lb? 3,700lb? Probably so. That is too much weight to be powered by a 168hp 4cyl. They need a small 2.0T or the A25A-FTS under the hood and the press release makes no mention of UX 250.
Overall:

This is probably a 5/10 for me. For where Lexus is at now with LS 500, LC 500, LF-1, I completely understand that this UX is at the rock bottom of the portfolio, but it doesn't have to look like it. The design looks dated, plain and too cheap for a Lexus - like a Nissan Juke with a spindle grille. With the success of the NX and RX, they should have done more to tie the design to those two instead of making it look so much like a Toyota hatchback. The weak engines are really disappointing also.

While certainly flawed, I feel confident saying the X1 or XC40 would be my choices over the UX. Much stronger engine options and it looks like a small X5/XC90 (read: PREMIUM) instead of a mainstream hatchback. Same can be said for the E-Pace. New Q3 is around the corner as well.

Lexus seems to be engineering vehicles in a vacuum without much regard for the competition, lately (LS, UX). Not a good strategy.
Still the CHR looks better. This NX is trying toot hard
For comparison:











How could you ever purchase UX over either of these two - especially the Volvo? I couldn't.
1. Lexus finally got the guts to pull off sharp triangle sculpting at the back that first premiered on LF-Gh seven years ago. It took them a while.

2. They were benchmarking Q3 for paint options, both gold and organic green are signature hues on Q3

@Gecko, XC40 is nothing spectacular in person, reminds me of old Freelander but again whole class is one big meh! and UX blends in just fine. I have no clue what are the benefits of premium CUVs over common badge midsize sedans that you can buy for the same money.
Give me a sedan any day of the week. Not sure if it's age (60+) or nationality (English) or location (Ireland) - but what is the trend for SUVs all about?
Gecko
Are we sure there will actually be a UX 250? The press release says:

"The UX 200 and UX 250h will start production this fall and go on sale in the U.S. in December. Pricing will be announced closer to the on-sale date."
This is one of my UX-related disappointments. I was hoping that UX 250 would be offered from the get-go at least in North America and Russia and the other eastern European republics more amenable to larger-displacement naturally aspirated engines, but no. It'll be worth watching what Toyota USA does with the UX 250 trademark. Renewing it also renews hope that Lexus will eventually offer it, while letting it die unused (a la CT 300h and CT 400h) will be yet another major letdown.

My other UX quibbles: Why do the rear outside door handles have to be so far forward from the rear edge of the doors themselves? The rear doors are pretty narrow, and this only accentuates the fact. And the washi-paper-look trim is something Infiniti already did with the 4th-gen G-series a decade ago. judging strictly by the pictures, I'd say Infiniti did it better.

Other than that, I'm impressed by the front and rear styling, and I like the Rioja Red interior.
What i've read in today's announcement is so frastruting!! A lost opportunity from Lexus ....

Chika Kako, Chief Engineer of the UX:

... drew on her experience in materials development... applying an uncluttered “less is more” approach.
What?! Are we talking about the same car? Because both interior and exterior of the UX are screaming MORE...!

Chika Kako, Chief Engineer of the UX:

...The first-ever Lexus UX is designed for the modern , fresh, driving,” ...

Yes, in 2011...:thumbsdown:
mediumhot
1. Lexus finally got the guts to pull off sharp triangle sculpting at the back that first premiered on LF-Gh seven years ago. It took them a while.

2. They were benchmarking Q3 for paint options, both gold and organic green are signature hues on Q3

@Gecko, XC40 is nothing spectacular in person, reminds me of old Freelander but again whole class is one big meh! and UX blends in just fine. I have no clue what are the benefits of premium CUVs over common badge midsize sedans that you can buy for the same money.
XC40 is pretty plain in real life, or should I say looks cheaper. X1 is also pretty plain. I still like XC40, but lets be realistic, average model that will be most sold is going to be 150hp diesel with manual and cloth interior and looks pretty cheap inside.

UX will fit fine, likely be more extravagant option with interior being easily the most luxurious.

TMC press pictures always look bad. We need to see it on showroom floor to judge all the detailing that is not seen even in better live pics from unveil where they have white car against white background.
Well, it is OK, I am positive today. 5/10.
A lot of plastic from the outside, inside very nice, but a DVD player today ...
Hopefully they make a lot of advertising with this, otherwise no one will notice him.
OlFius
but a DVD player today ...
i never understood this comment from people, you do realize only reason to remove CD player is cost cutting?
Also, a lot of stuff has not been unveiled yet.. like infotaiment and tech. No talk about ML or the fact that it has big heads up display.
spwolf
i never understood this comment from people, you do realize only reason to remove CD player is cost cutting?
It is not about a cost price, but about functionality.
We use our smarthphone and/or a usb stick nowadays...
Looks like the 90's. That's all.
Here are some videos:



Looks a lot better but even here, who ever thought of putting a white car in white background is plainly bad at their job. Not to mention that they did not power the interior so it is all very dark inside. Very bad marketing by Lexus.
OlFius
It is not about a cost price, but about functionality.
We use our smarthphone and/or a usb stick nowadays...
Looks like the 90's. That's all.
so use your smartphone and usb stick? There is wireless charger and at least 2 usb ports at front and 2 at the back. I dont see what extra functionality do you get if you remove cd drive because Lexus will save $20.
spwolf
so use your smartphone and usb stick? There is wireless charger and at least 2 usb ports at front and 2 at the back. I dont see what extra functionality do you get if you remove cd drive because Lexus will save $20.
You actually give the answer already. If there is so much better alternative.
That space on the dashboard could be used differently.
So, and why not a cassette player, that is becoming a hype again.
OlFius
You actually give the answer already. If there is so much better alternative.
That space on the dashboard could be used differently.
So, and why not a cassette player, that is becoming a hype again.
I would guess because cassette tapes are not around 30% of the music sales in the US and more in Europe and other countries (like CDs).

As a recent article said (la times 4 days ago):

"Our industry is global, and CDs remain an important way for people buy music in some of the world's biggest markets like Japan, Germany and France," Resnikoff wrote. "As long as there are music fans who want CDs and vinyl, and there are plenty of those customers out there, we will make sure our music is available in those formats."
Edit, in 2016 75% rated CD as more wanted feature than bluetooth, few months ago in survey more people listened via CDs than streaming.

Then again, a 2016 survey from IHS found that 75% of respondents listed a CD player as a desirable automobile feature, beating out Bluetooth, voice recognition, and a touchscreen. Another survey by Nielsen, from last September, found that CDs still accounted for 33% of music listening in the car, behind only radio and a device with downloaded music (such as an iPod). Streaming music from a phone or other device with a data plan was far behind at 14%.
Gecko
For comparison:











How could you ever purchase UX over either of these two - especially the Volvo? I couldn't.
I do. I prefer this UX, a lot. And even if I work for Lexus, I haven't got the occasion yet to see the UX in the flesh, which will make my judgement even more extreme. The UX shows enough original design aspects to stand out of the crowd without being too bizarre like the concept version.
The BMW is very old fashioned in its design, interior and exterior, because it never changes. The same design, generation after generation. The Volvo XC40 is rather original, but this XC40 lacks the stylish standing of bigger sisters XC60 and 90. The interior looks fine, but shows a lot of hard plastics in reality (just like the Jaguar E-Pace interior).

Coming back on the BMW models: it strikes me that every time I see a new BMW, it looks like the previous version. And they all look alike. Very boring. Same issue at Audi and Mercedes. The designers working at those German 3 have the easiest job on earth. Or the most difficult one, if you look at it differently :laughing:
At Lexus, all models have some family aspects, but no single Lexus model is a copy of another Lexus. Exterior nor interior. So kudos to Lexus for bringing us some different luxury!

Frankly, I am a bit surprised being one of the few that like the UX. I don't understand all these negative comments here. Or did you all really seriously expected that this model would be an LC 500 on high heels?:confused:
As a recent article said (la times 4 days ago):
Edit, in 2016 75% rated CD as more wanted feature than bluetooth, few months ago in survey more people listened via CDs than streaming.
I also buy CD / DVD's, that's not the point, but I do not take it with me in my car.
I want to listen to that music both in the car and at home, so the smartphone / usb is an excellent solution. And let us be honest, CDs are not practical in a car.
Joe
Coming back on the BMW models: it strikes me that every time I see a new BMW, it looks like the previous version. And they all look alike. Very boring. Same issue at Audi and Mercedes. The designers working at those German 3 have the easiest job on earth. Or the most difficult one, if you look at it differently :laughing:
At Lexus, all models have some family aspects, but no single Lexus model is a copy of another Lexus. Exterior nor interior. So kudos to Lexus for bringing us some different luxury!
Hi Joe,

you're right when you talk about the Germans, with the exception of Mercedes, who dare to renew in recent years, as today the Mercedes-AMG GT has been proposed.
OlFius
Hi Joe,

you're right when you talk about the Germans, with the exception of Mercedes, who dare to renew in recent years, as today the Mercedes-AMG GT has been proposed.
Correct, Mercedes has renewed its style in recent years (and positively, in my opinion), but I feel most of the models now look the same again. It's sometimes hard for me to separate C sedan from E sedan or even S at a distance. The same comparing C and E estate versions, or GLC coupe compared with GLE coupe... Nice cars, but not a lot of personality. And then I don't even talk about the interior, with this big horizontal digital tablet coming back on every dashboard... ;)
Gecko
How could you ever purchase UX over either of these two - especially the Volvo? I couldn't.
The Beemer is nothing new, and the interior looks cheap and cramped. The Volvo I think has a similar setup to the UX - both have a workable exterior that's a simplified version of their upscale models, and both have a better-than-class interior. But Lexus IMO is the higher-end brand of the two, and I think snobbery looms large in this class so I give the tiebreaker to the UX.
Ian Schmidt
The Beemer is nothing new, and the interior looks cheap and cramped. The Volvo I think has a similar setup to the UX - both have a workable exterior that's a simplified version of their upscale models, and both have a better-than-class interior. But Lexus IMO is the higher-end brand of the two, and I think snobbery looms large in this class so I give the tiebreaker to the UX.
After seeing XC40 normal interiors (not base, not fully optioned), it is nowhere close to this. But styling of exterior is certainly more purposeful overall.

S
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