What you’re looking at is not the gaping mouth of a baleen whale getting ready to gorge on a swarm of krill. No, this is not National Geographic — it’s the grille of the new Lexus ES.
Lexus says to “expect the unexpected” with the seven-generation of its popular midsize sedan, and we imagine many unsuspecting motorists will be taken aback after seeing a grille like that in their rearview mirror. What a sight.
As for the rest of the car, it will be based on Toyota’s TNGA platform that also underpins the latest Camry and Avalon (your should see the grille on that thing), perhaps granting it lower weight and improved torsional rigidity for improved handling. The automaker stated:
“This all-new Lexus vehicle aims to radically transform the driving experience for luxury consumers all over the world.”
We have little doubt that the new ES will be a better overall vehicle than its predecessor, but will it sell better, especially in a market that clearly prefers SUV and crossovers?
Why Lease? New Lexus UX Is Available Via Subscription
Following in the footsteps of Volvo, Cadillac and Porsche, Lexus has announced a nee subscription service for the all-new UX crossover and possibly other models.
The ‘Care by Volvo’ subscription service, in particular, lets you subscribe for select Volvo model at a flat monthly rate that includes the monthly cost of the car, insurance and servicing. Lexus’s service should work in much the same way.
The UX will likely not be the only model available for subscription, but we’ll have to wait and see what the other Lexus models will be.
When the subcompact crossover goes on sale in 2018, it will be offered in two versions — the UX 200 and UX 250h. The UX 200 is powered by a new, 168-hp 2.0-liter inline four-cylinder engine that powers the front wheels via a new Direct Shift-CVT featuring traditional gears in addition to the belt mechanism that is said to improve the poor driving experience that plagues most CVTs. It is not offered with all-wheel drive, unfortunately.
Stepping up to the UX 250h gets you an Atkinson Cycle hybrid system that generates a combined 176 horsepower and a 38 combined MPG rating. The addition of an electric motor to the rear axle grants it all-wheel drive.
New Lexus UX Unveiled, Joins Crowded Small SUV Segment
Toyota’s luxury division has bolstered its SUV-crossover lineup with a compact CUV, the new Lexus UX.
Debuting at the 2018 Geneva Motor show and billed as a ‘gateway model’ for new urban customers “in a dynamic and growing” segment, the UX is essentially a Toyota C-HR but, fortunately, looks more expensive and upscale inside and out.
It rides on Lexus’ new GA-C (Global Architecture – Compact) platform — a variation of the Toyota New Global Architecture — and measures five inches shorter than the Lexus NX crossover at 177 inches (4,495 mm) long, which should make it easier to fit into those tight city parking spaces.
The exterior adopts many of the larger sibling’s styling cues such as the polarizing spindle grille and sculpted panels, though the full-width taillights are distinct. The interior is also an upgrade over the C-HR, featuring new seats, new materials, new tech and more refinement.
The Lexus UX launches in two flavors — UX 200 and UX 250h. The UX 200 gets its power from a new 168-hp 2.0-liter, four-cylinder engine that’s mated to a CVT, while the UX 250h pairs the same engine with a new fourth generation hybrid drive system that produces 176-hp. A new E-Four system grants the hybrid UX all-wheel drive capabilities by employing an additional electric motor on the rear axle.
The new Lexus UX goes on sale in December 2018.
Amazon Alexa Comes To Toyota And Lexus Models
Toyota will offer Amazon Alexa connectivity in select Toyota and Lexus vehicles featuring the Toyota Entune 3.0 App Suite and Lexus Enform App Suite 2.0, respectively.
With Alexa, Amazon’s cloud based voice service, customers can ask for directions, control entertainment, get the news, add items to a shopping list, or even control features of their home in their car. That’s pretty extensive list of capabilities considering some automakers use voice assistants to perform very limited vehicle functions such as controlling lights, locks, and engine starting.
Zack Hicks, senior vice president and chief information officer of Toyota Motor North America and chief executive officer and president of Toyota Connected, stated:
“Voice services are rapidly becoming more popular and through our integration with Amazon Alexa, Toyota and Lexus customers will soon be able to easily speak to Alexa in their cars while on-the-go.”
Now if only Toyota would join the party and add Apple CarPlay and Android Auto to its cars as well…