All You Need To Know About 2019 Lexus UX First Drive - Sundiata Tech


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Wednesday, September 12, 2018

All You Need To Know About 2019 Lexus UX First Drive


Connectivity or drivability? The Lexus UX was born to do both


  • Smart tech
  • Seamless hybrid powertrain
  • Comfortable ride
  • Robust set of safety features


  • No non-hybrid AWD
  • Lacks driving engagement
  • HMI takes getting used to 
Full information (including the complete list of standard and optional features) will be released in the weeks leading up to the UX’s on-sale date in early 2019. We already know the base model will be front-wheel drive only; stepping up to a hybrid will be the only way to get all-wheel drive.

More than meets the eye

Design is subjective so we’ll play it safe and try to stick with the facts. First, Lexus stylists clearly favored a provocative, love-it-or-hate-it approach when they drew the UX. Second, it’s immediately recognizable as a member of the Lexus family. The familiar spindle-shaped grille dominates the front end while angular lights with checkmark-shaped LED inserts illuminate the road ahead. Creases and scallops break up the UX’s visual mass when it’s viewed from the side. Out back, finned lights connected by a light bar and a roof-mounted spoiler add a finishing touch to the overall look.
The UX is convenient; it’s for buyers who view the basic concept of personal transportation as another app in their lives.
It’s a simple coincidence that the fins are shaped like the letter L. They wouldn’t look any different if officials had chosen the name Zexus or Bexus when they secretly met to take Toyota upmarket because they’re functional. Lexus pointed out they improve airflow by reducing turbulence around the back of the car, which helps keep it stable at higher speeds, especially in crosswinds. Think of them as scaled-down versions of the winglets becoming increasingly common on airplanes.
Lexus created two new colors called cadmium orange and nori green (pictured on our test car), respectively, for the UX. They will later spread to other members of the brand’s lineup.
The UX makes a good first impression from the driver’s seat. The steering wheel resembles the one found in the LS, a simple but effective trick to make the model look like a more expensive car, and most of the materials feel like they belong in a luxury car. The UX won’t blush when compared to other upmarket crossovers like the Volvo XC40 and the BMW 1 Series. We also like that the interior is on the same design pane as the interior. You’ll love it or you’ll hate it, like we said before, but at least it’s congruous.
The switches and buttons are right where you expect to find them with the notable exception of the drive mode selector, which sticks out from the right side of the instrument cluster housing. The drum on the left side of the housing is a switch that turns the traction control on and off, an action the average UX owner will perform precisely zero times during their time with the car. These two drums create a visual link between the UX and the range-topping LC coupe.
They also remind us of the bolt lodged in the neck of Dr. Frankenstein’s monster. There. We said it.

The techista’s crossover

Extensive market research shows the average UX buyer cares more about technology and connectivity than about horsepower and handling. It doesn’t need to channel decades of racing heritage or make the driver feel like he’s behind the wheel of a LMP1-spec prototype. It needs to be convenient; it’s for buyers who view the basic concept of personal transportation as another app in their busy, connected lives.
The UX optimizes it’s drivetrain performance by analyzing real-time traffic info, driving habits, and navigation data.
Base models come with a seven-inch screen mounted on top of the dashboard. Buyers who pay extra for navigation also receive an eight-inch screen. Both units are controlled via a touchpad not unlike the one on your laptop. It’s located on the center console, next to the gear selector. We’ve criticized this setup in the past because it’s as intuitive as using a laptop with your feet. Lexus is the surprising exception to the rule.
Navigating the UX’s infotainment system with the touchpad isn’t anywhere near as straightforward as it would be with a touch screen, but Lexus made the setup as user-friendly as it can be. It helps that the screen displays clear, vibrant colors and responds to input almost immediately. The menus aren’t always shallow but every option is legibly arranged in a list that pops up on either side of the main screen. Alternatively, the front passengers can adjust the climate control and entertainment settings using hard buttons found either on the center stack or on the center console.

 Internet wise Interior

Amazon Alexa compatibility comes standard. Buyers with an Alexa-enabled device (like an Echo or a smartwatch) can use simple voice commands to lock or unlock the UX’s doors, start the engine, or check the fuel level. They can also communicate with their house on-the-go. “Alexa, turn on the living room lights.” “Alexa, close the blinds.” “Alexa, prepare a tuna casserole.”
We may have made that last one up.
Lexus doesn’t try to pass off the UX as an SUV; it’s a crossover.
Another trick tech feature goes by the name predictive eco drive control. Offered only on the hybrid model, it analyzes real-time traffic information, the user’s driving habits, and navigation data to optimize how the drivetrain generates and dispenses electricity.
For example, imagine you come to a stop at the same intersection every day. The software learns this behavior and triggers more aggressive regenerative braking when you ease off the gas pedal to send more electricity back to the battery pack. Of course, this requires tracking the user. Motorists concerned about privacy can turn the function off. Those who choose to keep it on enjoy a segment-exclusive function.
The list goes on. Apple CarPlay compatibility comes standard. Lexus shunned it for years, forcing buyers who wanted the feature towards the competition, but Tenhouse admitted it finally caved due to overwhelming demand. The UX doesn’t support Android Auto yet, though Chad Deschenes, a product trainer at the Lexus College, told Digital Trends the company is open to offering the software in the coming years. In other words: not now, but never say never.

The Engine Part


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