Coquetting the young urbanite
The Lexus UX concept is the premium automaker’s vision for a stylish compact SUV aimed at urbanites. Lexus is targeting younger connected customers as well as premium buyers who want a functional vehicle for urban settings. The concept was designed by the automaker’s ED2 design center in Southern France.
“The biggest challenge for any designer is always to create something new and original, yet with relevance to both the customer and the brand,” said Simon Humphries, President of ED2, in a release. “Overall, this is a product which gives another hint of the potential for Lexus’ design approach to satisfy those criteria. The expression of a progressive, strong yet artistic, and premium product which further enhances Lexus’ unique and challenging brand position.”
Although Paris marks the UX concept’s official reveal, the crossover was leaked earlier this month on several websites. The concept features sharp angles from the grille to the headlights along the fenders to the taillights. The greenhouse kicks up sharply at the back of the rear door toward the D-pillar. Unlike traditional four-wheel-drive vehicles, the UX concept has a “low ground clearance and a coupe-like driving position, reinforcing the dynamic performance promise embedded in the compact packaging of the design,” according to Lexus.
Lexus says when viewed from the top, the car’s front and rear pillars form an X-shaped backbone. The wheel arches, roof bars, and door cameras are said to emphasis the “inside-out” theme. A more prominent grille defines the concept’s styling, while the long hood combined with the raked A-pillars give it a sportier profile. The “see-through” A-pillars feature an aluminum member that supports polycarbonate fins.
While silver paint is generally used when designers want to emphasis vehicle lines, the UX concept features an Immersive Amethyst paint color that is said “to highlight volume changes, giving definition to the sculpture and expressing the car as a volume rather than simply a line-oriented design.”
“The ‘inside-out’ concept came from a lot of discussions within the team,” said Alexandre Gommier, Interior Designer, ED2. “We wanted to show the human-centric aspect of the concept in a visually as well as philosophically strong way. A strong symbiosis between the exterior and interior was felt to be important by all the designers involved. To create the anticipation from the exterior, which could then have a visual link and expand into the interior, was a key goal.”
Inside, the Lexus UX concept features the first application of the Kinetic Seat Concept. The front of the cockpit is finished in a darker color for a premium feel, while the rear sofa-like seating is finished in a lighter color to provide a more welcoming space. A cabin length center console runs down the center of the vehicle.
Other interior features include a three-dimensional look, an ergonomic design, and seating for four occupants. Designers made it so the car’s fenders flowed inside the cabin to become the e-mirror screen housings that project images from the rear facing cameras, eradicating the need for conventional side view mirrors to help drivers see around the vehicle. The screens frame the lower dashboard. That continuity continues at the rear as the bodywork flows inside to form the rear-seat headrests.
That three-dimensional look includes an upper display that appears far away, while the vehicle instrumentation is projected on a transparent holographic globe that floats as it displays analog and digital information. Climate information is controlled and displayed in a hologram on the center console’s crystal structure.
Since it’s a design study, no drivetrain details were revealed. If a production version of the Lexus UX concept is approved, we expect it to ride on the new Toyota New Global Architecture, and it could feature a hybrid powertrain.