SUVs

Lexus UX is an SUV for the semi-posh urban sort

The NX clearly wasn't small enough.

Lexus

Even though we've already seen the front end, it's time to gaze upon the entirety of the new Lexus UX compact SUV.

Slotting in below the NX, the UX is closer in size to compact or subcompact SUVs such as the GLA-Class and the BMW X1. It's clearly positioned as an urban SUV, as evidenced by its tiny 34-foot turning circle, which Lexus claims is best-in-class, and its 177-inch overall length, which Lexus claims is small enough to fit in a compact car parking space.

Two variants will be available. The Lexus UX 200 packs a new 2.0-liter I4 that makes 168 horsepower. It's mated to Toyota's new Direct Shift-CVT, which uses an actual set of gears to handle the launch. This means it can make the normal CVT pulleys smaller for faster ratio swaps and better fuel efficiency.

The front bumper is, like, 75 percent grille. That's Lexus for ya.

Lexus

If you'd rather feel a bit greener, there's a UX 250h hybrid on offer, too, with a net output of 176 horsepower. It still packs an older nickel metal-hydride type battery, which is tucked under the rear seat so it won't eat into cargo space. An additional electric motor on the rear axle grants the UX 250h four-wheel drive, with power being constantly balanced between both axles.

The UX 250h also has a neat little efficiency trick up its sleeve. Predictive Efficient Drive analyzes your driving habits and looks at road conditions and topography in order to make sure the battery power is used at the best possible time. The more miles are tacked on, the more the system learns and changes.

If safety is what you're after, don't worry. The UX includes the Lexus Safety System+, which includes an autobrake system that can recognize pedestrians at night and cyclists during the day. There's an available package that adds adaptive cruise control, automatic high beams and lane keep assist.

Both the UX 200 and UX 250h can be optioned with an F Sport package. This sprightly little setup swaps out the springs, sway bars and rear dampers for stiffer units that should, in theory, make it handle better. If that's not enough, adaptive dampers can be tossed into the mix for a bit more coin. Like other F Sport packages, there are also some slightly more aggressive aesthetics slapped onto the body, too. The interior adds unique sport seats, a new steering wheel and a gauge cluster with a moving outer ring, a la RC F and LFA.

Both the UX 200 and UX 250h will go on sale in the US in December, and pricing will be announced closer to that time.