By on September 8, 2016


Lexus has leaked a photograph of its UX Concept vehicle ahead of a planned September 29 unveiling at the Paris Motor Show.

The concept displays a new design direction for the luxury automaker — and an edgy one at that — but is there a chance that the concept heralds a wholly new model?

The automaker doesn’t say much about the concept, except that it is the product of its ED2 European Design Center.

Muscular fender bulges and a rakish roofline are expected on smaller crossover concepts, and Lexus doesn’t disappoint. The styling department swerved into overboard territory with the UX’s dagger-like side view mirrors and a tire tread pattern resembling Snake Plissken’s pants in Escape from New York. Also, an unusual marriage of beltline and C-pillar has spawned a pair of taillight-topped tailfins.

Styling excesses aside, Lexus likely has an ulterior motive for the UX Concept. It’s possible that the automaker wants to go small and play in the subcompact luxury crossover category, which TTAC’s Timothy Cain says makes up 6 percent of the luxury SUV/CUV market and is growing fast.

A small, sporty crossover slotted below the compact NX would allow Lexus to fend off the BMW X1, Audi Q3 and Mercedes-Benz GLA.

A line in the automaker’s press release reveals the UX’s intended audience, and surprise — it happens to perfectly describe a subcompact luxury crossover buyer.

“Its strongly differentiated identity is meant to appeal to a progressive, urban audience living in a connected environment,” Lexus writes. Hmm… One wonders if these progressively progressive urbanite gadget enthusiasts are in the market for a new, smaller Lexus?

[Image: Toyota Motor Corporation]

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36 Comments on “Lexus UX Concept: Sign of a Crossover to Come?...”

  • avatar
    Click REPLY to reload page

    It had better come in colors that the ladies like, because very few men would buy this for themselves.
    What in the world were they thinking??!

    • 0 avatar

      Assuming they move on from the spindle/predator grill, the styling looks fine to me.

      I’d drive it, though I’d prefer a different color.

      Anything is better than the spindle grill.

      I want to love Lexus (they’re the only luxury brand that’s at least as good as Toyota when it comes to reliability), but the spindle grill is just too ugly for that price point. I’ll be able to afford a Tesla before Lexus fixes that problem.

  • avatar

    *Eye roll*

    At the idea that a company which puts out a photo ahead of a product reveal is “leaking” something. It’s just a released photo – a leak is something accidental, something which wasn’t supposed to happen.

    • 0 avatar

      I often wonder how many “spy shots” are staged.

      MFR to car mag: “How about y’all come over to the proving grounds, and bring your zoom lens. We’ll show you something cool — but we’ve all gotta pretend it wasn’t supposed to happen. See you on Monday at 9am in the lobby?”

    • 0 avatar
      SCE to AUX

      “Lexus has leaked a photograph”

      It’s not even a photograph; it’s a CAD rendering.

  • avatar
    SCE to AUX

    “The concept displays a new design direction for the luxury automaker”

    I don’t know about that. Once the concept edginess is sanded off, it’ll look a lot like a scaled-down RX350.

    If they dispense with the awful Predator grille, then I’ll believe they’re headed in a new direction.

  • avatar

    The Lexus Juke?

  • avatar

    I like how they “leaked” the rear view, which is not the problem with Lexus’s current crop of SUVs.

    • 0 avatar

      Ha ha ha!

      That was my second thought.

      My first thought was, “I like it!”

      But you are spot on JimZ – it would be like Acura during the beak era going hey look at the new MDX and only showing the ass end. ;-)

    • 0 avatar

      If their rears start to look like this, the predator grille will look tame before you know it.

      • 0 avatar

        Saw something while getting off the freeway that could have only been beaten with an “ugly stick!” Gorpy tallights, too many edges! “WTF IS that..THING??!!”

        It was a new Prius!

        Sad that Toyota is going all Japan-ame/stupid-spaceship on all its designs!

  • avatar


    • 0 avatar

      This period of automotive styling is about to peak; we have reached the tailfin stage. Three more years of ever growing tailfins, and they will suddenly disappear, and another phase of automotive styling will begin.

      • 0 avatar
        MRF 95 T-Bird

        The same way tail fins peaked in 59. Just compare the 59 Cadillac tail fins to the 60. The 59’s are massive to the point where you could call them Directional Stabilizers. Or the 57-8 Chrysler products with the more subdued fins on the 59-60.
        Maybe lower, longer and leaner will make a comeback. Though people like Crossovers because they sit higher.

  • avatar

    Smaller than an NX..hell the NX is already so small I thought it already competed with the X1….

  • avatar

    Interesting, as Lexus has said they will never offer a vehicle with a starting price under $30K – but a sub-compact crossover that starts at over $30K is going to have some issues justifying its existence, especially in the way Lexus prices vehicles.

    Mercedes and BMW can do it because they make almost everything optional, and it’s real easy to crank one up to $40K – Lexus doesn’t play that game. The near luxury 2017 Encore is priced way below $30K and then becomes a bargain.

    Personally I like the styling but I’m in the demographic that finds near luxury/luxury subcompacts appealing (40s, practically an empty nest, urban area, need something to do hauling, don’t really need BOF or big lifted vehicle).

    I know this is a hated class with the fury of 10,000 suns by the TTAC faithful.

    • 0 avatar

      Well I am 49 but I have 2 small kids however even if I didn’t this would be too small for me. I can’t go smaller than the MKX or RX for me. The NX is already too small as far as I am concerned. I don’t get into the game of telling folks what’s good for them like a lot of people on this site. If I listened to them I would own nothing but Hondas or Toyotas and drive a minivan instead of my CX9…
      Admittingly I do love the way the new Pacifica looks. I also am in a place now that I don’t want a CUV or Minivan but a sedan. Win did two kids become to much for a sedan anyway? Would love to have a 17 Cadenza or Avalon even an Impala.

      • 0 avatar

        I agree, it seems that people think its absurd to have a reasonably roomy sedan if you’re a family at all, let alone two kids.

        • 0 avatar

          A sensible, “reasonably roomy sedan” projecting pretty much the same image as a minivan (the right vehicle for Mommy and Daddy and the kids).

          • 0 avatar

            Well for me it has less to do with the kids and more of I dont care for small cars that much. There are very few that I would own and even fewer I would actually buy.

  • avatar

    Based on the Mazda 2 platform? Or the GT 86 one? You gotta love those exaggerated wheels.

  • avatar

    I for one welcome the arrival of the Lexus VehiCROSS…

  • avatar

    Concepts are the fill-necked lizards of the auto world in full deimatic mode.

  • avatar

    I like it. Manageable size, a hardtop (it is, right? I don’t see a B-pillar), and smart looks. And tailfins. Lose the overdone square fenders and I’m a goner. Assuming they bring back tire sidewalls on production models to go with the tailfins. Don’t care if they’re black or white.

    • 0 avatar

      The inelegant B-pillar is often not shown on concept vehicles (or renderings). It will almost certainly be present on the production model. I, too, miss “hardtops.”

  • avatar

    Don’t make me hate you Lexus.

  • avatar

    I wonder how many of these progressive, connected urban types (which, broadly, means almost everybody under 70) will ever park their new, smaller Lexus SUV outside anything as swanky as the dwelling in the rendering.

  • avatar

    It’s just the C-HR dressed as a Bird of Prey, erm, Lexus. Scion iM size. TNGA platform.

  • avatar
    formula m

    I will take this vehicle for myself and the rest of you may go buy sedans just like Jack says to.
    Gasp, Women may even like it

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