Lexus UX micro-SUV set for Australia

Lexus pushes for the yet-to-be-green-lit Audi Q2 rival to slot beneath the NX premium SUV.

Lexus UX

AUSTRALIA is firmly in line to receive the production version of the Lexus UX Concept that was previewed as a concept at last October’s Paris Motor Show.

While the premium compact SUV has yet to be confirmed for production, the Japanese luxury brand’s take on the Audi Q2, BMW X1, and Mini Countryman is expected to debut sometime later next year or in 2019.

Speaking to the Australian media at the Detroit Motor Show this week, Lexus’ local CEO, Peter McGregor, made it clear that he intends to have representation in every growing segment there in order to grow sales.

Lexus UX

“If Lexus International decided to take a vehicle such as the UX Concept or something similar into production into a sub-Lexus NX market, we would certainly be putting our hand up and asking for that to be introduced into Australia,” he said.

“If we see a luxury market segment that exists and is growing that we don’t have a presence in, of course we are making that case to Lexus International that there is an opportunity that there are customers in this market segment that we are not satisfying.

Based on the Toyota New Generation Architecture that will form the basis of all future transverse-engined Toyota and Lexus models. The TNGA platform debuted beneath the all-new Prius launched earlier last year, but the production UX Concept will most likely be derived from the new Toyota C-HR small SUV.

One clue are the similar dimensions, including 2640mm wheelbase. Another is the hidden rear door handles in the C-pillar on both vehicles.

Lexus UX

Back in September when Lexus released images and info on its Parisian concept, the company revealed that the design was conceived at Toyota’s ED2 design centre in France.

The wild design language (dubbed “inside out design”) is even more outrageous inside, though there is little doubt that the final product will be toned down considerably.

Not much else is known about the sub-NX SUV, and many questions remain, including what badge it will carry and whether the C-HR’s fresh new 1.2-litre turbo, 2.0-litre atmo, or 1.8-litre petrol-electric hybrid powertrains will be utilised. With flagging passenger car sales and rising SUV market share, questions also surround whether Lexus will ditch the slow-selling and poorly received CT hatchback for the more modish crossover.

A final answer on the UX’s production potential is expected in the coming months, with more details likely to be announced at the Geneva Motor Show in March.


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Byron Mathioudakis

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