THE new Lexus UX crossover makes its world debut at the Geneva Motor Show, built on a new platform and available with a new hybrid/petrol engine.
The UX is described as an urban compact crossover (marginally longer than a Range Rover Evoque) and is clearly designed to give its driver a sporty feel at the wheel.
The new GA-C platform allows the UX to have a lower centre of gravity for sharper handling and there's a new continuously variable transmission (CVT) twinned with a new electric hybrid system and 2.0 litre petrol engine.
Lexus says the CVT has been tuned to reduce any 'rubber band' effect in the operation of the hybrid system - long a criticism of CVT transmissions. There's a maximum of 176bhp on tap and the choice of front-wheel or all-wheel drive, with an additional electric motor on the rear axle.
The UX has the lowest centre of gravity of any vehicle in its class, says Lexus, thanks to the design of the GA-C platform. It is central to the car's fine ride and handling quality, is also supported by weight-saving measures in the body construction, including the use of lightweight aluminium for the side doors, wings and bonnet, as well as a resin material for the back door.
Inside the car, Lexus emphasises the company's Japanese roots with smooth leather upholstery made usingsashiko, a traditional Japanese quilting technique that is also applied in the making of judo and kendo martial arts uniforms.
The UX is the first Lexus model to offer a new trim grain finish that's inspired by the grain of Japanese paper, known aswashi, familiar from the screens used in traditional Japanese homes.
Geneva also sees the addition of a new RX L model to the Lexus RX range, offering owners significantly more space on board, thanks to the provision of a third row of seats, making this the first seven-seat Lexus to be sold in Europe.
Over the last 20 years the RX has remained one of the luxury brand's best-selling global models. The new RXL, due for UK launch soon, retains the lines of the current RX, but benefits from increased length and revised interior packaging to provide accommodation for up to seven passengers.