By on February 20, 2018

Lexus UX

Lexus is teasing the new UX crossover prior to its big March 6th premiere at the Geneva Motor Show, and something immediately stands out: itty-bitty tail fins. To be fair, we don’t know how much molding is actually happening in the singular photo provided by the automaker. The fins do seemed toned down compared to the earlier UX Concept vehicle — but they also look further separated from the rest of the bodywork.

Compared to a 1959 Cadillac Eldorado, the Lexus’ fins could be best described as vestigial. However, they do appear to be legitimate — extending upward from the vehicle’s rear haunches in a distinctive manner. 

Does this mean the small Japanese crossover heralds a second renaissance for tail fins? Possibly. Toyota’s Prius currently has a subtle set of fins and so does the CH-R to a lesser degree. But the vehicles’ busy bodywork makes them fairly difficult to identify. The Chrysler 300 and Cadillac XTS also have a slight indentation along their backside that denotes something fin-like. But neither are bold enough to truly qualify.

Interestingly, all signs point to the UX being based on the Toyota C-HR subcompact, which uses the same TNGA modular platform underpinning the lightly finned Prius. Lexus hasn’t confirmed anything, but it’s likely the premium crossover will borrow an engine from its mainstream counterpart. As we’re not particularly fond of the C-HR’s 144-horsepower 2.0-liter inline-four (paired with a CVT), we’re hoping Lexus provides a more savory powertrain option.

At any rate, the UX will help the brand round out its crossover lineup and give the Infiniti QX30 some competition. Premium crossovers are doing exceptionally well and having an affordable entry can only improve Lexus’ sales, which increased 14 percent last year against a stagnating market.

[Image: Lexus]

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11 Comments on “Lexus Teases New UX Crossover: Have Tail Fins Returned?...”

  • avatar

    Recent Cadillacs (the XTS and the 2nd-gen SRX, e.g.) actually have had tail lights that are subtle fins. Assuming you like Art & Science, which I know not everyone does, it’s a clever touch.

    • 0 avatar

      My exact thought. The “second renaissance” already came like eight years ago.

      • 0 avatar
        Matt Posky

        I suppose the XT5 does too. However the recent American take on fins has been so subtle that it’s difficult to put them in the same category. I probably would have never noticed the Cadillac fins had someone not pointed them out.

        Is Toyota/Lexus’ brash new styling better? That’s debatable and comes down largely to preference. But their fins are significantly harder to ignore.

  • avatar

    They increase stability at high speeds. Just a little.

  • avatar

    OK Lexus, here’s the deal. Keep making all those CUVs use those profits to put the V8 back into the GS, without having to buy the insanely priced GS-F model. To paraphrase, ‘Something wicked, would like to come this way again.’

  • avatar

    Those ain’t fins! These little stumps remind me of devil horns. Not that they’re directly copying Caddy here, but why use a design element that is so connected to a different brand?

    It’s kind of sad that Lexus has literally zero design cues to throw back to in their history. No unique design elements. The Spindle Grill is their first attempt at an “ownable” design element, but I think it will be looked back on as ridiculous and desperate rather than something classic with longevity. I don’t think this current crop of Lexus cars will age well at all. Striking does not automatically equal beautiful.

  • avatar

    I hope this crossover delivers a superior…user experience.


  • avatar

    F it. Let’s make fins great again.

  • avatar

    It’s excitement, Akio Toyoda style. Ooh, spaceship! Give it Gothic overwrought bodywork, putrescent green lower body color with white roof like some CH-Rs, a flaccid powertrain and then watch retired schoolmarms flock to the dealer for one.

  • avatar

    The return of tailfins??? They NEVER really disappeared. My Dad’s 88 Fleetwood Brougham had them, and I would argue that there has been at least one Cadillac having tailfins every year since the 50’s.

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