Prior to the global debut next week in Geneva, Lexus is building up interest in its new compact urban crossover model with periodic releases of the all-new model. Following a rear shot which highlighted the full-width tail lights, the company has now provided the first official image of the vehicle – known as the UX – from the front three-quarter angle. You also get a glimpse of the interior in the short video clip that has also been released.

These first visuals reveal the UX’s bold design with aggressive rear shoulders and muscular wheel arches that mimic those of the NX. It has adopted many of the exterior styling elements which were seen on the concept model of the same name that was displayed at the Paris Motorshow in 2016 though the C-pillar seems less sharply angled, perhaps for production reasons.

The signature spindle grille, while looking like that found on all other Lexus models, appears to have its own style and this may become a differentiating feature for each model. It is flanked by slim headlight units which would almost certainly be LEDs.

The UX concept which was shown at the 2016 Paris Motorshow

Underneath, the all-new platform gives the UX strong body rigidity and the compact cabin is set low which gives the vehicle the agile handling of a hatchback, it is said.

Powertrain options are not revealed yet but unless Lexus has an engine with a displacement smaller than 2 litres, then the turbocharged unit of the NX would most likely be used. There would almost certainly be a hybrid variant and this could have a 1.8-litre petrol engine which was used for the powertrain of the CT200h.

‘UX’ would seem like a follow-on from ‘NX’ but the same letters are also being promoted extensively by Mercedes-Benz with its new A-Class generation. Wonder if the German carmaker will have a word with Lexus about this since it was forced to change the official designation of its first M-Class SUV to ‘ML’ because BMW felt that there would be confusion with its M cars.

Of course, the ‘UX’ for Lexus refers to an entire model while for Mercedes-Benz, it refers to ‘the ‘User Experience’ within the car that uses artificial intelligence (MBUX) to enhance the customer experience. But Lexus is no stranger to such complications too; just before the brand was launched in 1989, a company having a research service called ‘Lexis’ tried to sue Toyota for using ‘Lexus’ which it contended might confuse the public.

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[Chips Yap]

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