Price range: $37,100 - $39,100.
Engine: 2.0-litre four cylinder; 2.0-litre four-cylinder hybrid.
Transmission/drive: CVT / front-wheel-drive or all-wheel-drive.
Why it matters: In the luxury segment, crossovers rule all. Thus, while the IS sport sedan takes on the BMW 3-Series, it’s far more important for Lexus to have a challenger that’s a little higher-riding, particularly as an entry-level model.
The UX is that challenger, a compact, edgy crossover built to entice a new breed of Lexus owners. The smallest Lexus available, it’s just under 4.5 metres long and a hair over 1.5 metres in height. Taller than a hatchback but right-sized for urban duties.
The base model comes with front-wheel-drive, but the hybrid version gets a clever all-wheel-drive. An electric motor powers the rear wheels at speeds up to 70 km/h, giving good off-the-line traction in poor conditions, and still boosting fuel economy.
While the edgy styling is bound to be polarizing to buyers, the UX appeals with traditionally Lexus virtues. Standard equipment is very good (including that Canadian must-have, a heated steering wheel), contrasting sharply with the German marques and their costly options.
With daring looks, practical powertrains and a pragmatic approach to the segment, the UX is bound to be a hit among younger shoppers who might not have had Lexus on their radar before.
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