Concept Cars

Lexus UX concept turns the SUV inside out

Has Lexus reached peak weird with this insane concept? We hope so, but probably not.

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After teasing us with first the dashboard and then the seats, Lexus has unveiled the UX Concept in all of its, uh, glory?

Let's not mince words: I don't like it. Lexus' design of late is an acquired taste that I just haven't yet come by. The LC and RC sports coupes look fine enough, but I'm just not a fan of the automaker's awkward, overly aggressive crossovers and SUVs. The new UX concept, unveiled at the Paris Auto Show 2016, is even more contentious because it pushes the massive spindle grille and faux off-road design even further.

The UX concept is a low-slung, small crossover that, "contrasts the appearance and 4x4 presence of an off-roader with a low ground clearance and a coupe-like driving position." City crossovers and tall wagons are today's hottest segments and Lexus is targeting the urbanite, active lifestyle demographic shopping in this class.

Penned and built by Lexus' ED2 design studio in the South of France, the UX is built around an "inside out" design concept. It all starts with that spindle grille, which sort of looks like the fascia is peeling back on itself. Structural bits are visible all around the exterior and the muscular design seems to be bursting out of the sheet metal. Even the wheel design is integrated into the bespoke tires.

The cabin is, perhaps, the most intriguing aspect of the "inside out" design with elements of the exterior being repeated within. The seats feature a minimal, skeletal design with loosely woven seating surfaces composed of a ribbon-like material. The entire cabin is very visually open to the environment with lots of glass, lots of space and very few intrusions.

It's no coincidence that the UX -- which is about as tall as the NX but a bit longer than the RX -- has a profile that falls into that class-bending, tall-wagon sweet spot. We may see some Lexus models with this silhouette this on the road in the nearish future. I can only hope the designers will have considerably toned down the details between now and then.