So, you’re looking for a new car. Something luxurious, preferably with the practicality and high driving position of an SUV, but not so big that tight city streets are a pain to navigate. A compact premium SUV is right up your alley, then, but the sea of boring, me-too offerings in the market doesn’t quite set your heart on fire.

Thankfully, you can break free from the mould with the new Lexus UX, which sports a bold look that is unlike anything in the segment. Standout design cues include the muscular flared fenders and the full-width tail lights, the latter featuring vertical fins that not only look cool, but also improve aerodynamic efficiency.

Adding to the visual drama is the aggressive front fascia, defined by the LED headlights with their sharp daytime running lights. The signature Lexus spindle grille has been reinterpreted with a block motif that appears to change shape depending on the angle in which it’s viewed.

Inside, Lexus has doubled down on its Japanese heritage. The dashboard design, which continues the contours of the bonnet, is inspired by engawa, a veranda that functions as an extension of a traditional Japanese house. The Luxury model also features a special finish for the upper dashboard that is reminiscent of washi paper, while the leather seats come with intricate sashiko quilting. Elsewhere, the air vent control knobs are illuminated with a stylish three-dimensional effect.

The UX continues to utilise the Lexus Remote Touch Interface, the usability of which has been improved with the addition of audio switches in front of the centre armrest. The centre display measures up to 10.3 inches across and comes as standard with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto connectivity, while a wireless smartphone charger and an eight-speaker sound system are also offered.

In terms of practicality, the UX offers class-leading front legroom and a decent amount of rear legroom. The boot also has a flush sill, making it a cinch to slide items in; better yet, the cargo cover can be folded and stowed easily inside its own carrying case – handy for when you need to load larger items. A hands-free powered rear hatch is also available.

Despite providing ample passenger space, the UX is exceedingly compact. It measures just 4.5 metres long, so it’s capable of slotting into even the smallest of parking spaces with ease. Tight U-turns are also not an issue thanks to the best-in-class 5.2 metre turning radius, while the Electric Power Steering, optimised forward visibility and available Panoramic View Monitor further enhance manoeuvrability.

Safety is another plus point, as the UX comes as standard with Lexus Safety System+, which includes Pre-Collision System, Dynamic Radar Cruise Control with Lane Tracing Assist (LTA) and Adaptive High-beam System (AHS). That’s a high level of safety equipment right off the bat – something that cannot be said for some of the car’s rivals. Blind Spot Monitor (BSM) and Rear Cross Traffic Alert (RCTA) are also offered.

Riding on the Global Architecture – Compact (GA-C) platform, the UX benefits from a lightweight, yet highly rigid structure, along with an extremely low centre of gravity – two traits that give the car impressive agility and supreme comfort. The F Sport model adds the latest Adaptive Variable Suspension (AVS) to strike an even better balance between ride and handling, on top of a sportier look inside and out.

Powering the UX is a 2.0 litre four-cylinder engine, boasting a world-leading thermal efficiency of 40%. Equipped with D-4S direct and port fuel injection, it makes 169 hp and 205 Nm of torque without the complexity and weight of a downsized turbocharged engine. With a Direct Shift CVT (complete with a 10-speed virtual ratio function) as standard, the UX delivers brisk acceleration and outstanding fuel efficiency.

So there you have it, the new Lexus UX is an SUV that stands out from the rest. But don’t take our word for it – visit your nearest authorised Lexus dealer for a test drive, and as an added bonus, you will receive a special gift and enjoy attractive deals exclusive to the UX. You can also arrange for a test drive right from your doorstep and book your car online for a seamless, contactless experience.

With the reduction in sales and service tax offered by the government, the UX is also more affordable than ever, priced at RM235,472 for the UX 200 Urban, RM274,027 for the UX 200 Luxury and RM289,363 for the UX 200 F Sport. The savings are available until January 31. For more information, visit the official Lexus Malaysia website.