Lexus Teases New UX Crossover: Have Tail Fins Returned?

Matt Posky
by Matt Posky

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]

Matt Posky
Matt Posky

A staunch consumer advocate tracking industry trends and regulation. Before joining TTAC, Matt spent a decade working for marketing and research firms based in NYC. Clients included several of the world’s largest automakers, global tire brands, and aftermarket part suppliers. Dissatisfied with the corporate world and resentful of having to wear suits everyday, he pivoted to writing about cars. Since then, that man has become an ardent supporter of the right-to-repair movement, been interviewed on the auto industry by national radio broadcasts, driven more rental cars than anyone ever should, participated in amateur rallying events, and received the requisite minimum training as sanctioned by the SCCA. Handy with a wrench, Matt grew up surrounded by Detroit auto workers and managed to get a pizza delivery job before he was legally eligible. He later found himself driving box trucks through Manhattan, guaranteeing future sympathy for actual truckers. He continues to conduct research pertaining to the automotive sector as an independent contractor and has since moved back to his native Michigan, closer to where the cars are born. A contrarian, Matt claims to prefer understeer — stating that front and all-wheel drive vehicles cater best to his driving style.

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3 of 11 comments
  • Conundrum Conundrum on Feb 20, 2018

    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.

  • Higheriq Higheriq on Feb 21, 2018

    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.

    • Sub-600 Sub-600 on Feb 21, 2018

      There were Caddys, I don’t know the year(s), where the fuel port was behind one of the fins.

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