Lexus Joins the Small Crossover Fray with Their “Urban Explorer”: The 2019 UX [Video]

Lexus jumps into the world of subcompact luxury crossovers with the 2019 UX

If you’re looking for a small piece of luxury, your horizons have broadened significantly in the past couple years. Now, Lexus enters the fray with the 2019 UX crossover, they’re smallest offering below the compact NX. It will join its larger siblings at the New York Auto Show this week in its U.S.-spec form.

So what’s new about the Lexus UX? The 2019 UX is a new model for the brand, but it shares a lot of its styling characteristics with its NX and RX stablemates. Naturally, being a Lexus, there will be a hybrid variant, as there are with the company’s larger crossovers. The UX 200 gasoline variant will be front-wheel drive only, while the UX 250h version will have “eAWD”. In other words, the electric motor powers the rear wheels while the gas engine powers those at the front.

You’re limited to just those two powertrain options on the 2019 UX. The UX 200 houses a 2.0-liter, naturally-aspirated four-cylinder engine pushing out 168 horsepower and 151 lb-ft of torque. Despite the electric motor, the UX 250h hybrid isn’t that much more powerful. The 250h uses a 2.0-liter Atkinson cycle engine making 141 horsepower and 133 lb-ft of torque. The electric motor helps bump total system output up to 176 horsepower – eight more than the UX 200 – and should help for low-end torque. All models are driven by a CVT transmission.

The 2019 UX is good for 33 MPG combined in its gas only model, while the hybrid powertrain bumps the combined figure up to 38 MPG.

Lexus announces 2019 UX crossover
[Photo: Lexus]

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Lexus did mention they’d offer the 2019 UX through a subscription service, in addition to normal purchase and lease options. That follows in the spirit of other manufacturers establishing similar systems, like Volvo. However, we don’t have any more information at the moment. Details on that should come closer to the car’s actual release. Whichever model you choose, you’ll get a suite of active safety systems in the new UX, as well as Apple CarPlay support.

So too should this baby Lexus’ pricing scheme. Exact pricing isn’t available at the moment, but we’d expect it to ring in at least a couple thousand below the larger NX – around $33,000. That would put it in contention with its competition, including the Volvo XC40, Infiniti QX30, BMW X1, Audi Q3, and the Mercedes-Benz GLA-Class.

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2019 Lexus UX Photo Gallery [Photos: Lexus]