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The UX is now your best shot at owning a Lexus crossover

The small luxury SUV is officially available in the Philippines

Lexus has a new small urban crossover model. PHOTO BY VERNON B. SARNE

If you feel like Lexus already has too many sport-utility vehicles—the full-size LX, the midsize GX, the midsize RX and the compact NX—you will probably find it truly amusing that the Japanese luxury automotive brand has actually come up with a new subcompact crossover called the UX (apparently short for “urban crossover”). And the Philippine distributor has quietly released it (we say quietly because there was supposed to be a launch event last Monday, but it had to be canceled at the last minute out of respect for the passing of Toyota Motor Philippines chairman George S.K. Ty over the weekend).

And so Lexus Philippines simply sent us the press release for the new car. But we just had to go to the showroom and see the UX for ourselves. There, we found two units of the UX200 displayed next to each other. A UX200 F Sport had been available for viewing, but an eager customer had scooped it up before we could lay our eyes on it.

The UX200 comes standard with 17-inch wheels. PHOTOS BY VERNON B. SARNE

The UX measures 4,495mm long, 1,840mm wide and 1,520mm tall, with a wheelbase of 2,640mm. For perspective, the already-compact NX measures 4,630mm long, 1,845mm wide and 1,645mm tall, with a wheelbase of 2,660mm. We’re sure that for many people, the differences in exterior dimensions are virtually negligible, but why would anyone pick the UX over the NX? The answer to that is the price.

The NX300 and the NX300 F Sport sell for P3,058,000 and P3,558,000, while the UX200 and the UX200 F Sport are priced at P2,478,000 and P3,048,000. For regular and longtime Lexus owners, the price gap may not mean that much. But for first-time Lexus buyers who have forever been dreaming of driving home a brand-new vehicle with the brand’s exclusive badge, that’s a lot. To these folks, the UX is quite simply the most realistic way to acquire a Lexus crossover SUV today.

Come to think of it, the UX is now the second-cheapest Lexus model next only to the CT hybrid hatchback.

You can easily tell the UX apart by its horizontally connected taillights. Pretty sleek. PHOTOS BY VERNON B. SARNE

Both the UX200 and the UX200 F Sport are propelled by a 2.0-liter D-4S four-cylinder gasoline engine rated at 168hp and 205Nm. Mated to a direct-shift CVT, this powerplant enables the UX to sprint from rest to 100km/h in 8.9 seconds, on the way to a top speed of 190km/h.

Among the standard features the Philippine-market UX is equipped with are a seven-inch multi-information display (10.3 inches for the F Sport), cruise control, Eco/Normal/Sport drive modes, smart entry system, smart engine start, steering-wheel controls, automatic climate control, six-way adjustable front seats (eight-way for the F Sport), 17-inch alloy wheels (18 inches for the F Sport), premium audio system with six speakers (eight for the F Sport), 10 airbags (two front airbags, two front knee airbags, two front side airbags and four curtain airbags), auto-leveling headlamps, LED daytime running lights, LED taillights, antilock brakes, electronic brake-force distribution, brake assist, traction control, stability control, and immobilizer system.

Yes, that’s a touchpad next to the gear selector. PHOTOS BY VERNON B. SARNE

It’s easy to dismiss the UX as a mere entry-level model which its maker has rolled out to rake in even more money, but it is a legitimate Lexus model that looks and feels like one. Does it perform like a true Lexus? We guess this calls for a proper test drive. In that case, click here if you want to take the new UX for a quick spin.

Vernon B. Sarne

Vernon is the founder and editor-in-chief of VISOR. He has been an automotive journalist since July 1995. He became one by serendipity, walking into the office of a small publishing company and applying for a position he had no idea was for a local car magazine. God has watched over him throughout his humble journey. He writes the ‘Spoiler’ column.