As a former owner of a UX 250h, yes, former (I will address this in a moment), I have to agree with your post. The UX, in my opinion, is a beautifully designed automobile and was comfortable (for me). The car fit me like a baseball glove. In my opinion, it is a niche model (style-wise and size) that is positioned incorrectly, at least in North America, almost being positioned as a somewhat mainstream model while in the U.S. at least, it doesn’t fit the mold of a mainstream model.Regarding the UX... this is probably my American POV, but it is just such a badly compromised car that it's great at nothing aside from maybe MPG with the 250h powertrain.
I know these lower rooflines and chopped down D-pillars help reduce drag and look "sporty," but they also drastically eat into head and cargo space, which is a big part of why people buy CUVs over cars. You go look at a "crossover" and pop the hatch to see less cargo space than you would get in a comparable sedan and it's like....???why???
Also factor in ground clearance that is only fractionally higher than an IS or ES, and neither engine even cracks 185hp... it is all wrong.
For it's footprint, the UX does feel very small to me - due to poor packaging, at least for this market where people want cargo space and "macho" looks. The rear seat is almost impossible, the cargo area could barely accommodate a grocery run and headroom isn't great. Just like the C-HR, the UX is the wrong product for this market which is fine because they were not primarily developed for North America. It is also why Toyota is bringing the Corolla Cross here this year, and I think Lexus should do something similar to replace the UX or call it second gen UX here in the States.
I have wondered if the mystery CUV from the Direct4 video could be something like a UX replacement for markets where it has been unsuccessful. I know I've said it a few times, but I think Lexus "best" product line for SUVs would be something like:
"Rugged": ?X > GX > LX (?X = Compact sized, upright crossover but with rugged design like the Lexus version of a Bronco Sport)
"Sporty/Versatile:" UX > NX > RX > TX
Premium Style/Performance: RZ > LF-1 Limitless (LZ?)
I still very much see a place for a CUV under the NX, but UX is not the right vehicle to occupy that spot here in North America. Notice how the second gen Audi Q3 became more upright with a taller greenhouse vs 1st gen, and the X1 has always had more traditional CUV proportions vs. looking like a wagon with an extra inch of ground clearance, like the UX. That is the right approach here.
Looking at the UX through the lens of an American consumer, the interior is definitely on the small side and there is very little cargo space. Not a good combination in the U.S. It needs something beyond good fuel numbers and a striking design (my opinion) to compete in its class. Aside from superior fuel economy to other vehicles in its class it really does not have a lot going for it other than a fantastic build quality. Both great characteristics, but unfortunately not enough to attract many American buyers. If the UX had something else going for it, like higher performance numbers and a more engaging driving experience, then it could be a better niche model for Lexus. I think the higher ups at Lexus had hoped that the idea of this car would catch on much like B-segment crossovers offered by other manufacturers. It makes sense to me that the UX is finding more success in other markets such as the EU.
As I stated above, I am a former UX owner. Overall, I have no complaints about my UX. I simply wanted a daily driver that is similar in size, possesses similar build quality, economical, but a bit more engaging to drive than the UX. In the end, I really wanted something with a manual transmission. What did I buy? I decided to order a 2021 Toyota Corolla Hatchback XSE in Wind Chill Pearl with the 6-speed manual and adaptive front headlights. I recognize that there may be some on this forum who will laugh at the aforementioned statement, but I’m very happy with my purchase. I am not a brand snob and drive what I like. The Corolla fits my daily needs while being engaging to drive. Although I really liked my UX I am enjoying driving the Corolla more. In some regards it still feels like the UX albeit with a higher seating position and it’s not as refined.
My overall impression of the UX is that it is a very good automobile. I just think for a vehicle that appears to be a very niche model, at least in the U.S., it needs a little something else to make it stand apart from everything else in its class.
Just the opinions of a former UX owner and likely the future owner of another Lexus product.