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Juliet McGuire

First drive in the Lexus UX – International Launch

Ooooh this post is going to make you SOOOOO jealous. Be prepared! I headed to Stockholm (yes, the one in Sweden, is there another?) to drive the brand-spanking new Lexus UX. I had never been to Sweden before so I was over the moon when I got this invite, of course, I was also excited to drive the car.

Firstly, a little bit about where I laid my head to rest while in Stockholm. Have you heard of Stockholm Syndrome? It’s when hostages sympathise or identify with their kidnapper. In August 1973, four people who worked at the Kreditbanken (a bank) were taken hostage for almost six days. The hostages gained sympathy for and even loyalty to their captors during this time and so the term ‘Stockholm Syndrome’ was coined. Why am I telling you this? Well the Nobis hotel I stayed at used to be the bank where this situation occurred. Mind blown, right? Either way, there’s some trivia for you. Use it. Don’t use it.

Stockholm kidnapped my heart (see what I did there?). Not only the city, but the people as well. I have never seen so many beautiful and stylish people in one place before. It really does nothing for one’s own confidence, believe me. But something else that turned heads was the Lexus UX. Look, I am not going to lie, I am undecided about the look. It’s all angles and sharp curves. I would like to see Lexus move on from this design language, but I cannot deny that the UX stands out and is certainly unique-looking.

Lexus UX Lexus UX

Inside, however, is just magical. It really is a gorgeously luxurious interior with a few non-traditional materials here and there (there’s no boring wood or leather trim). You should opt for this two-tone trim, look how flipping cool it looks!

Lexus UX Lexus UX

My only gripe (ok I have a couple) is the track pad Lexus insists on featuring in its cars. I thought it might be easier to use in this left-hand drive car because I could then use my right hand (unlike here at home), but I was wrong. I still struggled with it, especially when driving. I wish they would do away with it and opt instead for a toggle. The other issue would only be for rear passengers and I never plan on being one of those so it wouldn’t really bother me too much, but there is limited legroom and the rear door plastics are something I have never experienced. If you scrape your knuckle along it, you literally leave skin behind. My driving partner actually demonstrated this to me. It was gross!

There is a choice between the UX 200 or the UX 250h. They are both powered by a 2.0-litre naturally aspirated engine, but the hybrid adds two electric motors to the mix. The UX 200 could have done with a turbocharger, but when driven in the city, which is where this urban warrior belongs, you will be more than satisfied with the performance. If I had to choose I would probably go with the UX 250h – which is the model Lexus predicts will sell the best (in overseas markets). Here in South Africa, we are more than likely going to see more of the 200s leaving the showroom floor.

Lexus UX Lexus UX

The ride is noticeably smooth, but then again the roads in Sweden are noticeably well-maintained and manicured. We will have to wait and see how the ride will fare on our pot-hole-ridden trails here in South Africa. Overall, it is a rather enjoyable drive. I wasn’t able to put it to the test as I would have liked to, only because the well-maintained roads of Sweden wouldn’t allow me to go over 100 km/h…ever! Ag, but we had a lovely drive through the country and got to take in all the sights and smells of Sweden.

It will still be a while before we see the Lexus UX arrive here in South Africa. It will be interesting to see how it sits amongst its competitors and pricing will certainly be the make or break of this product. Bearing in mind it has to compete with the likes of the BMW X1 and Mercedes-Benz GLA. There may be a few tiny issues that may dissuade buyers, but if you are able to look past them, you will find an excellent product in the form of the Lexus UX.

Check out more Lexus car reviews.

 

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