Lexus gets green light to bring subcompact UX crossover to life

Don't expect the styling to be toned down too much.

Most Toyota models have a Lexus sibling, big or small. Soon, the smallest Toyota crossover will get a fancy-pants variant, in keeping with that trend.

Lexus has reportedly given the green light to create a production version of the UX concept, Motoring.com.au reports, citing a conversation with Lexus International's executive vice president. "Please expect UX," said Yoshihiro Sawa, "it's not so far away."

The subcompact UX (although it may be considered a compact due to interior volume) will slot beneath the current small Lexus ute, the NX. It'll compete with the likes of the Mercedes-Benz GLA-Class, the Audi Q3 and the BMW X1. It will likely be based off the same chassis as the Toyota C-HR, the automaker's newest small crossover.

The UX concept is proof positive that Lexus will make its grilles as large as it damn well pleases.

Lexus

The NX starts around $35,000, and a smaller UX is likely to come in a grand or two underneath that. Right now, the NX is the most affordable Lexus on sale, so a production UX would offer an even less expensive way to slide into Toyota's luxury brand.

Nobody has any idea what a production UX will look like, but I wouldn't put it past Lexus to retain a majority of the concept's sharp angles. Concepts are generally toned down before heading to market, but given Lexus' decision to debut the LC flagship coupe without changing its look that much, the UX may look nearly as polarizing as it does here.

Lexus has already trademarked "UX200," "UX250" and "UX250h," according to Car and Driver, so it wouldn't be insane to expect both gas and hybrid variants of the small crossover. It wouldn't surprise me if it straight-up borrows the C-HR's 144-horsepower, 2.0-liter I4 and continuously variable transmission.

With the C-HR due in showrooms within the next month or two, one could reasonably expect a production UX to bow at an auto show later this year or early in 2018. Then again, "not so far away" can be taken with enough salt to grit New York. If we're using a timeframe relative to, say, the heat death of the universe, the UX may not be here until the sun grows large enough to consume the earth.

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