In-depth reviews

Lexus UX review - Interior, design and technology

The Lexus UX boasts a highly individual and quality-rich interior, although the infotainment set-up isn't the best

One thing’s for certain: you’re not going to mistake the Lexus UX for any of its rivals. While the exterior design is filtered down from the larger Lexus SUVs, it’s refreshingly different in a segment filled with me-too designs.

The now unmistakable Lexus ‘spindle’ grille features at the front, while LED headlights are standard across the range. The wheel arch mouldings are designed for the rigours of the urban jungle, rather than strenuous off-road challenges, while the rear lights start at the top of the rear wing and span the rear of the vehicle.

The standard-fit 17-inch alloy wheels feature Gurney flaps along the spoke edges to reduce wind resistance and increase airflow, although non-aero 18-inch alloys are available as an option. Twelve paint colours are offered in the UK, including a couple developed exclusively for this country: Terrane Khaki and Celestial Blue. It looks particularly striking in solid red or metallic blue, but we wonder how many buyers will take this bold approach.

An interior that’s rich in quality and highly individual gives the UX genuine standout qualities in an overcrowded segment. Lexus has worked hard to give the car the feel of its larger saloons and SUVs, adding little touches to give the UX showroom appeal.

For example, the three-spoke steering wheel and analogue clock are lifted from the LS luxury saloon, while the engineers used brainwave analysis to produce the ‘perfect door-closing sound’. Lexus has even worked hard to reduce the noise and juddering of the electric windows.

This attention to detail, together with the use of quality materials and a unique approach to cabin design, means that the UX sets a high benchmark in the segment.

The seats are available in three finishes: fabric, leather or a combination of the two – there are also nine colours to choose from. As a note, not all hues and materials are available with each trim. For example, standard UX models are only available with black fabric seats, while F Sport models can come with striking Flare Red leather or more reserved black are  

In a first for Lexus, the instrument panel can be finished in a trim inspired by the grain of Japanese ‘washi’ paper. According to Lexus, this creates a ‘calm and warm’ feeling.

Sat-nav, stereo and infotainment

Improvements for the UX's infotainment tech can’t come soon enough because the current system is well below the standards of premium rivals – and many mainstream options, too. 

A seven-inch display is largely taken for granted on a mid-spec supermini these days, and the majority of those cars will have screens with a higher resolution than this, too. The rear-view camera, for example, has a poor resolution, so in anything other than perfect weather conditions it’s hard to pick out much detail when backing up. The hardware woes don’t end there, because the odd touchpad with haptic feedback is frustrating to use. 

As part of an update in Spring 2020, Lexus started offering Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility across the range. This doesn’t fix all the foibles of Lexus’ infotainment system, but it has helped to improve things. 

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