Lexus seeks slice of small crossover market with new UX hybrid

The latest premium hybrid will go on sale in Irish showrooms from next March

 

Lexus is set to launch it entry-level crossover on to the Irish market from next March.

There has been a wave of small premium crossovers hitting the market in the last 12 months and Lexus is not going to miss out on what has become something of a minor motoring craze across Europe, if not quite turning heads on the Irish markets. Aiming to take on the likes of the Audi Q2, BMW X1, Mercedes-Benz GLA and the Volvo XC40, the new Lexus is slightly closer to a rugged hatchback than a fully-fledged SUV, but it does boast a hybrid platform that is right on the money when it comes to consumer interest at present.

One variant will be available to Irish customers: the 180bhp UX250h petrol-electric hybrid with front-wheel drive. Powered by an all-new 2-litre four-cylinder petrol engine, combined with the firm’s fourth generation of battery and electric motors, the UX is built upon the same platform as the Toyota Prius and C-HR. However, engineers are at pains to point out that the UX delivers its power and driving dynamics very differently to the Toyotas. We will report next week on how the car drives, but it is worth noting that it has a lower centre of gravity than its rivals and boasts several engineering innovations in terms of ride damping and steering set-up.

Inside the cabin is compact, wrapping around the driver in the same way you would expect of a coupé rather than an SUV. Rear-seat legroom seems smaller than several spacious hatchbacks.

The UX will come with three specification levels: the standard S-Design; the Executive version; and the F Sport variant. Prices for the latter two have yet to be confirmed.