The Lexus UX has had its first UK outing at the Goodwood Festival of Speed after its unveiling at the Geneva motor show earlier this year.
See related Jaguar E-Pace review: First drive with Jaguar’s sporty, compact SUV Lexus RX 450h review: Different but flawed Volvo XC40 review: Volvo shows its funky side
The UX is the firm’s smallest SUV. Sitting below the RX and NX models in the Lexus range, it goes up against other premium rivals such as the Volvo XC40, Jaguar E-Pace and BMW X2.
We’ve had our first glimpse of it at Goodwood and, though small, we think it wears Lexus’ dramatic sweeping body panels and enormous x-shaped grille rather well. There’s a lot to like about the design of this car but it’s the sweeping LED rear tail lights that really catch the eye. They wrap around the entire rear end of the car, narrow in the middle and finish in a brake-light cluster that protrudes, fin-like from either side of the car.
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Topped off with the purposeful, squared off wheel arches it strikes a dramatic pose, balancing dramatic design touches with exuding a quiet air of luxury.
Inside, the UX is typical Lexus fare. It’s very comfortable and modern looking and, with a revamped widescreen infotainment system, it looks on the surface at least to be the epitome of the modern connected car. I say on the surface because previous Lexuses have flattered to deceive in this department, with the RX450h’s control system fiddly and frustrating to use.
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Here it looks as if Lexus is moving away from the infuriating joystick control of the larger SUV. Instead, the control system is a touchpad (also with haptic feedback) that sits next to the gear selector.
Built on Lexus’ new GA-C platform, the Lexus UX range will include a range of petrol and hybrid engines, but it will likely focus on the hybrid model. On this front, the UX will use the company’s fourth-generation of “self-charging hybrid” engines, which Lexus says are more efficient than ever.
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The 2.0-litre hybrid CVT powertrain in the UX will be capable of putting out 176bhp, according to Lexus’ figures, through the car’s “E-Four” all-wheel-drive system, and Lexus is countering the uninspiring CVT engine sound with a new “ASC” audio system that simulates the sound of a traditional geared engine.
The Lexus UX goes on sale later this year and you can expect to pay a price similar to that of the Volvo XC40 or BMW X2.