Lexus has officially introduced the UX 200 into the Malaysian market, entering the compact premium SUV segment currently occupied by the Mercedes-Benz GLA, BMW X1, Audi Q3 and Volvo XC40. We’ve already had full details and prices of all three variants since the car was opened for booking two weeks ago, so this announcement is little more than a formality.

As previously reported, the range starts with the Urban model at RM243,888, followed by the Luxury at RM283,888 and the top-of-the-line F Sport at RM299,888. All prices are on-the-road without insurance, inclusive of a five-year, unlimited-mileage warranty.

No matter which variant you go for, you’ll get the same engine – an M20A-FKS 2.0 litre naturally-aspirated Dynamic Force four-cylinder. Equipped with D-4S direct injection, it produces 169 hp at 6,600 rpm and 205 Nm at 4,800 rpm, and is paired to a Direct-Shift CVT with a mechanical first gear and a 10-speed virtual ratio function. All models will get from zero to 100 km/h in 9.2 seconds before reaching a top speed of 190 km/h.

The UX is the first Lexus model to be built on the Global Architecture – Compact (GA-C) platform, which is essentially the premium version of the Toyota New Global Architecture (TNGA). Lexus promises exemplary comfort and agility, along with a “distinctive driving personality.” The chassis features MacPherson strut suspension at the front and double wishbones at the rear.

The UX is 4,496 mm long and has a 2,639 mm wheelbase, which makes it 144 mm shorter than the NX, although the wheelbase deficit is just 21 mm. The exterior preserves much of its bigger sibling’s muscular looks, its petite body featuring an upswept shoulder line and pronounced front and rear fender bulges.

At the front, the trademark Lexus spindle grille features block-like inserts that change the appearance of the grille depending on the angle you look at it. It is flanked by slim headlights with triple LED projectors as standard, with arrow-shaped daytime running lights sitting above them. The wheels are dark grey 17-inch items with aerodynamic ventilation on the Urban, and 18-inch two-tone rollers on the Luxury.

Moving to the rear, the sloped hatch mirrors the spindle-shaped graphic of the front, while the full-width tail lights feature upright fins at the corners to shape the air running over them, improving high-speed stability. The F Sport model gains larger air intakes, a unique criss-cross grille mesh and its own 18-inch wheel design in a grey finish (matching the front and rear bumper inserts).

Inside, the UX features a wraparound dashboard design that is driver-centric, with an upper layer that continues the contours of the bonnet. The top surface of the dash itself features a texture inspired by Japanese washi paper (only on the Luxury variant), while audio controls ahead of the centre armrest take up some of the functionality of the much-maligned Remote Touch interface for the infotainment system.

The Urban comes with a fairly long list of standard equipment, including automatic headlights, keyless entry, push-button start, seven-inch displays for both instruments and infotainment, dual-zone climate control with rear vents, eight-way power-adjustable heated front seats, Nuluxe faux leather upholstery, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto connectivity, six speakers and a reverse camera.

Stump up the extra RM40,000 for the Luxury and you’ll get niceties like automatic wipers, auto-dimming mirrors, metallic interior decor, a power-adjustable steering wheel, ventilated front seats with driver’s side memory, leather upholstery with sashiko quilting, aluminium side sill plates, a 10.3-inch centre display, eight speakers, a 360-degree camera system and a handsfree powered tailgate.

As befits a sporting trim level, the F Sport model comes with a series of performance upgrades, including paddle shifters, adaptive dampers and a rear “performance damper” to control and absorb minute distortions and vibrations. It is also differentiated on the inside through sports seats, alloy pedals, a head-up display and an LFA-inspired instrument display with a moving rev counter and centre ring.

Safety systems are not exactly a given in this segment, and it’s here where the UX shines. All models get autonomous emergency braking, adaptive cruise control with stop and go, lane centring assist and adaptive high beam to go with the eight airbags (including two front knee airbags) and stability control. Blind spot monitoring and rear cross traffic alert are exclusive to the Luxury and F Sport variants, but that’s about it.

GALLERY: Lexus UX 200 Urban


GALLERY: Lexus UX 200 Luxury