The lucrative niche of compact crossover SUVs has been attracting interest from most of the major carmakers, with premium brands like Mercedes-Benz, BMW and Audi effectively using their diminutive models to lure a new breed of buyers into the fold. Now Lexus also wants to grab a share of this market with its all-new crossover. Named UX after its remit of being an Urban Crossover, the new compact was launched in the UAE last week by Al-Futtaim Lexus.

Unveiled at a rather unusual location — inside the automated parking at the Dubai International Financial Centre, the UX is being positioned as a bold, young, and upbeat vehicle inspired by Japanese robotics. Said to be quick and engaging, the crossover promises to offer “Lexus-smooth” refinement and ride characteristics. “This newest addition to our line-up is inspired by the vibrant energy of urban environments and is Lexus’ reflection of the ongoing quest to create Amazing Experiences,” says Mohammed Maktari, Managing Director of Al-Futtaim Lexus. “This car is designed with the young at heart and aspiring urbanites in mind, who are looking to join the world of Lexus through this unique luxury compact crossover,” he adds.

The new model, which has been designed by Chika Kako, Executive Vice President of Lexus International and the brand’s first female Chief Engineer, features the brand’s signature Spindle Grille up front, but with a new block-shape mesh pattern and flanked by sharp headlights and L-shaped daytime running lights. The rear end is more distinctive, featuring an LED light bar that runs the width of the tailgate. The sharp creases and lines are carried over to the cabin as well, which is typically Lexus with impeccable build quality and the highest quality materials.

The powertrain on offer in our market is a 2.0-liter four-cylinder, which produces 169 horsepower and 205Nm of torque. The unit is coupled with a Direct-Shift Continuously Variable Transmission or DCVT, which combines the fuel efficiency of a continuously variable transmission with a relatively more direct driving experience.

Apart from all the convenience features you would expect to see in a Lexus, the UX comes equipped with a host of safety features including eight SRS airbags, Vehicle Stability Control, Traction Control, ABS, Electronic Brakeforce Distribution, Brake Assist, Panoramic View Monitor, Blind Spot Monitor, Parking Support Alert, Rear Cross-Traffic Alert, Active Cornering Assist, and Hill-start Assist Control.

There are 13 exterior colour options available, including three newly developed ones; Terrane Khaki Mica Metallic, Blazing Carnelian Contrast Layering, and Celestial Blue Glass Flake. The interior also offers an array of eight colour combinations to choose from.

The new UX is available at Lexus showrooms across the UAE in three grades; the Dh150,000 UX 200 Premier, the Dh160,000 UX 200 F Sport Prestige and the range-topping UX 200 F Sport Platinum that retails at Dh180,000.