Lexus is offering up a tease of the new UX crossover-utility vehicle concept coming to the Paris Motor Show later this month and, in the process, giving us a hint of the new design direction it will be taking.
For now, Toyota’s luxury arm isn’t saying much about the UX, beyond signaling that it was developed at its ED2, its European Design Center and noting that, “Its strongly differentiated identity is meant to appeal to a progressive, urban audience living in a connected environment.” That would suggest it could be taking aim at such upscale competitors as the Audi Q2.
Ever since Toyota CEO Akio Toyoda declared the need to add more “passion” to the Lexus brand, its designers have been pushing the boundaries, sometimes a little too far, say the critics, with show cars like the original NX prototype. The new Lexus UX doesn’t appear to be backing off of that trend.
The Paris show car boasts a coupe-like roofline and what appear to be “suicide doors” for back seat passengers that flow into bulging wheel arches. The sharply sloped tailgate features what appear to integrated, full-width LED taillights.
Like the original NX concept, the Lexus UX is crisscrossed by angular creases, one of the more distinctive lines tapering inward from the rear bumper to just below the back glass.
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Meanwhile, there’s just a winglet-shaped appendage where the traditional sideview mirror should be. Japan recently authorized manufacturers to begin offering video display alternatives, and that appears to be on showcase on the NX. Regulators in Europe and the U.S. are considering similar moves.
The rectangular twin tailpipes indicate the UX uses some form of internal combustion engine, though we’ll likely have to wait until Paris to determine whether it is a conventionally powered vehicle or some form of hybrid. Considering the current Lexus line-up and high-line industry trends, a conventional hybrid or even a plug-in option wouldn’t be a big surprise.
While the new concept has a solid and dynamic presence, it appears to be smaller than the current LX and NX, and that would suggest it is particularly targeted after the European and Japanese markets where pint-sized utility vehicles have rapidly been gaining momentum.
It helps to note that parent Toyota recently registered several nameplate options with the European Union Intellectual Property Office, including UX200, UX250 and UX250h.
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The single teaser image doesn’t tell us anything about the face of the Lexus concept, so we’ll be anxiously waiting to see if the UX picks up on the familiar, if controversial, spindle grille face or goes off in some new direction.
While we also have to wait to see what the show car is like inside, a terse Lexus statement notes that “while the interior marries traditional craftsmanship with high-tech manufacturing techniques…(it) also showcases imaginative technologies for an immersive driver experience.”
We’ll take that to mean even more and larger video displays than in current Lexus products, perhaps with OLED and even more advanced technologies.
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Along with the UX Concept, Lexus will be showing off the updated IS sedan, the new LC, and the NX Sport Edition when it holds its Paris Motor Show press conference on Sept. 29.
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