- All-electric UX 300e’s range extended by more than 40% to 450 km
- New multimedia system with greater functionality and bigger screen
- Introduction of new ‘F SPORT Design’ grade for UX 250h and UX 200
- New exterior bi-tone paintwork options for UX 250h and UX 200
- Adaptive Variable Suspension (AVS) now standard on UX F SPORT
- Additional capabilities with Lexus’ Safety System +
Upgrades have been made to strengthen the appeal of Lexus’ UX urban crossover, the brand’s best-selling model in Europe. Wide-ranging detail changes have enhanced all three variants of this compact luxury SUV: the self-charging hybrid electric UX 250h, the all-electric UX 300e, and the petrol-powered UX 200.
All three UX models now get an improved multimedia system with greater connectivity, faster and easier operation, cloud-based navigation, and bigger 8- and 12-inch touchscreens. The UX also gets new upholstery choices and an upgraded Lexus Safety System +.
The UX 300e, which launched two years ago as Lexus’ first all-electric model, gets a new battery system which increases driving range by more than 40% up to 450 km. It also benefits from detail changes to the body and chassis which enhance the driving experience and refinement, hallmarks of the Lexus UX family.
The UX 250h and UX 200 are now available with new exterior colour and bi-tone paintwork options. These two models are offered for the first time in the F SPORT Design grade, which includes bespoke design touches, and are now equipped in the F SPORT grade with Adaptive Variable Suspension as standard.
These changes went into production this summer for the UX 250h and UX 200, and will be available on the UX 300e from spring 2023.
Three powertrain choices; all-electric model with increased range
The self-charging hybrid UX 250h is powered by a 2.0-litre inline four-cylinder petrol engine, coupled with two electric motors. This powertrain produces a total output of 184 DIN hp (135 kW).
The UX 250h is available with front-wheel-drive or Lexus’ electronic E Four all-wheel drive system which employs a separate, dedicated high-torque motor generator integrated into the rear differential. This immediately supplies torque to the rear wheels when the Vehicle Stability Control (VSC) system detects loss of grip across the front axle. The VSC automatically optimises the distribution of power between front and rear wheels. The E Four system also actively improves stability during cornering by adjusting rear-wheel power to help correct oversteer or understeer.
The UX 250h’s rear motor additionally serves as a generator for the car’s regenerative braking system, increasing the amount of kinetic energy captured when braking or decelerating and storing this as electric power in the hybrid battery.
The UX 300e, the first BEV (Battery Electric Vehicle) from Lexus, evolved from the brand’s 17 years of leadership in electrification, leveraging world-class know-how in battery design, manufacturing, and battery management systems. This front-wheel-drive vehicle’s original 54.3 kWh lithium-ion battery will be replaced in spring 2023 by a 72.8 kWh battery. The compact 150 kW (204 DIN hp) motor/generator generates electricity when braking or coasting.
Previously the UX 300e offered a range in the WLTP combined driving cycle of 305-315 km (depending on options such as wheel size). The upgrades available from spring 2023 will improve this by more than 40%. Models running on 17-inch wheels will now achieve a WLTP combined range of 450 km (depending on options); models on 18-inch wheels will have a combined range of 440 km (also depending on options).
A number of detail changes have been made to the UX 300e to enhance the driving experience. Fine-tuning the electric power steering and shock absorbers has sharpened the driving dynamics, as has increasing the body rigidity with additional spot welding. These alterations further improve the planted feel and responsiveness of the UX, characteristics accentuated by the vehicle’s low centre of gravity and placement of the battery pack under the floor. Also, the insulation has been further optimised for an even quieter cabin.
The UX 200 (available only in selected markets in Europe) is driven through the front wheels by a 2.0-litre inline four-cylinder engine nearly identical to that of the UX 250h. This produces 171 DIN hp and 205 Nm of torque – outputs similar to some lower capacity turbo engines, but with less complexity and less underhood heat. This engine’s thermal efficiency of 40% is exceptionally good for a non-hybrid powertrain.
A favourite among Lexus buyers
Lexus’ compact crossover is gaining ground with urban families who want the flexibility of a crossover vehicle with the driving characteristics of a hatchback. Annual European sales of UX models increased by 25% in calendar year 2021, boosted by the arrival of the UX 300e.
Electrified vehicles accounted for 96% of all Lexus sales in Western Europe through 2021, and across Europe SUVs now account for 87% of Lexus sales. Through calendar year 2021 it was the UX which led Lexus’ SUV success story, selling 21,144 units – just ahead of the NX and RX self-charging and plug-in hybrid electric vehicles, which sold 19,493 units and 18,346 units respectively.
When compared with the main reasons for buying compact SUVs from competitors’ brands, a greater percentage of UX buyers prioritise the hybrid or electric powertrain; brand reputation; fuel consumption/energy efficiency; general durability; and prestige. Another reason for the UX’s appeal is that it is the gateway model to Lexus, attracting younger customers to their first luxury vehicle.
SUV flexibility with hatchback-like driving characteristics
The UX has its origins in Lexus’ ambition to develop a “Creative Urban Explorer” providing both the secure feeling of a crossover and the driving pleasure of a sophisticated hatchback. Lexus’ world-class refinement and quietness levels are combined with dynamic characteristics which prove that driving can be enjoyable with the higher-riding practicality of an SUV.
The UX is built on Lexus’ GA-C global architecture platform, a light structure which is also exceptionally rigid, sharpening responses to driver inputs. The new model enhances this by introducing a more rigid steel back door reinforcement and additional spot welds on the back panel and side members.
The UX’s 2,640 mm wheelbase contributes to a smooth and stable ride, as well as cabin roominess, while the 10,4 m curb-to-curb turning diameter makes manoeuvring and parking easy. Driving characteristics also benefit from the UX’s low centre of gravity, achieved partly by locating the battery beneath the floor under the rear seats in the UX 250h and under the full cabin in the UX 300e, as well as by using aluminium for the side doors, wings and hood, and composite materials for the tailgate.
The UX evokes the feel of a dynamic, luxury hatchback the moment the driver settles behind the wheel: despite having the higher seating position desired of crossovers, its driving position results in a relatively short hip-to-heel distance which gives the driver the feeling of being closer to the ground than in other SUVs.
On the move, Lexus Drive Mode Select allows the driving experience to be tailored. Normal drive mode provides an optimal balance between driving performance and fuel economy; ECO mode maximises fuel savings across all driving conditions by smoothing the throttle response, as well as moderating air conditioning operation; Sport mode delivers quicker throttle response and increased steering feel.
In F SPORT models, which are now equipped with Adaptive Variable Suspension (AVS) as standard, the number of driving modes increases from three to five: Normal, ECO, Sport S, Sport S+, and Custom. By selecting the Sport S+ or Custom modes with the chassis setting in SPORT, the damping force control switches to firmer settings to provide the most dynamic driving feel. The Custom mode enables the driver to freely combine the modes of the powertrain, chassis, and air conditioning functions.
New multimedia system is easier to use, with greater functionality
The 2022 upgrade that will perhaps be most obvious to UX occupants is the new multimedia system. With a touchscreen rather than a touchpad control, this has more intuitive controls than its predecessor, offers increased functionality, has greater connectivity, and responds more quickly to commands.
Screen sizes have been increased, according to equipment grade, from 7 to 8 inches, with sharper graphics, and from 10 to 12 inches, with high-definition. For easier interaction, the screen is now positioned 143 mm further forwards.
A new voice recognition system includes the option of using the “Hey Lexus” on-board assistant. This responds to voice commands to make it easier to connect to phone calls, operate audio and climate controls, and search the internet. The new voice recognition system is programmed to understand more conversational terms, to recognise whether it is the driver or front passenger speaking, and to distinguish between background noise and commands so that it is no longer necessary to mute the audio when making commands.
To make journey planning easier and help avoid traffic delays, “always connected” cloud-based navigation is provided as standard, giving access to real-time road and traffic information. Additionally, the 12-inch system includes embedded navigation, maintaining operation even if cloud connection is unavailable. To make it easy to find out about such things as local fuel prices, charging points, and parking, “Hey Lexus” can also be linked to cloud-based information.
Further improving connectivity, the new multimedia system provides smartphone integration via Apple CarPlay (wireless connection) or Android Auto (wired connection). Connectivity now also extends to the Lexus Link smartphone app, which can remotely lock or unlock the doors, trigger the hazard lights, and set the air conditioning or heating before getting into the car.
The space on the centre console where the multimedia touchpad was previously located is now home to controls for the heated front seats or, where these are not specified, a small storage cubby. The console also houses a USB-A port for playback of high-resolution sound sources and two USB-C ports for device charging. A new illuminated tray in the console, in front of the air conditioning control panel, has the space to hold a large smartphone.
The UX’s multimedia system can save the customised multimedia, audio, and navigation settings of up to three people. Updates to the system software can be delivered over-the-air via the car’s upgraded DCM (Data Communication Module).
Interior and exterior revisions
In other interior enhancements, the UX’s perforated leather upholstery has a new Kagome pleating effect, inspired by traditional Japanese basket weave, and the synthetic leather upholstery has a new stitchwork pattern, inspired by the traditional Japanese Sashiko quilting technique. There is also a new Hazel colour option for all upholstery options – fabric, synthetic leather, and genuine leather – for all UX model variants except the F SPORT.
In another aesthetic refinement, the dashboard trim now has the look of ‘washi’ paper grain, as seen in the sliding doors of traditional Japanese houses (except for the F SPORT model). The upper part of the instrument panel is now black in all trims and the push-start button silver in all models.
For the car’s exterior, there is a new paintwork option, Sonic Platinum, made possible by Lexus’ advanced sonic paint technology. This special finish incorporates a layer just a few microns deep which brings the metallic flakes in the paint into closer and more uniform alignment, creating more brilliance and deeper shading across the car’s bodywork. For the F SPORT and F SPORT Design models there is also a wider choice of bi-tone finishes, with six colours available in combination with a contrasting black roof and black roof rails, giving a sportier look to the car.
In another detail change, the power-operated back door now responds to the door-mounted switch without delay and moves more gently during the initial and final parts of opening and closing.
New F SPORT Design grade
Another new addition to the UX 250h and UX 200 in 2022 is the F SPORT Design model grade, which adopts F SPORT exterior styling for a more powerful road presence. The distinctive spindle grille features a Lexus L-motif mesh pattern, finished in black, and a jet-black surround for the grille’s lower section. The same pattern appears in the F SPORT front bumper on enlarged bezels housing the fog lights and cornering lights, which have contrasting L-shaped surrounds. At the rear, the bumper also features an F SPORT design, with jet-black moulding details around the light clusters.
The appearance of F SPORT Design models is also differentiated by black wheel arch mouldings, Lexus “F” badges, and 18-inch F SPORT alloy wheels with a monotone chrome design and dark metallic finish. The roof spoiler is jet-black and the roof rails chrome, as also seen on the UX 250h and UX 200.
F SPORT Design models also get synthetic leather seat upholstery and heated front seats.
Adaptive Variable Suspension for UX F SPORT
The F SPORT specification, offered on the UX 250h and UX 200 now includes as standard Lexus’ Adaptive Variable Suspension (AVS), rear performance shock absorbers, and front and rear performance rods (strut braces).
AVS responds to signal inputs from steering, yaw rate, and linear G-sensors to continually adjust damping force. It does this by using linear control solenoids to vary the amount of shock fluid bypassing the shock absorber piston assembly. This results in sharper handling and chassis response, reduced body roll when cornering, and smoother ride quality. The AVS control system has been adjusted so there is a seamless shift to high damping force and tuned to reduce high- and mid-frequency vibration.
F SPORT models also benefit from even more precise steering feel. This has been gained by placing a new rigid joint between the top of the steering gearbox mount and the front suspension member. To optimise the benefits of this additional rigidity, shock absorber damping force has been fine-tuned, further enhancing the linear steering feel.
Safety system additions
Upgrades have also been made to the UX’s Lexus Safety System +. The car is now equipped with Intersection Turning Assist for safer left and right turns across traffic at intersections, and Emergency Assist, which when enabled automatically makes small corrective inputs to the steering wheel to help prevent the vehicle from unintentionally departing from its lane. The Dynamic Radar Cruise Control now has Curve Speed Reduction, which automatically adjusts the vehicle’s speed to the suit the radius of the bend in the road.