Lexus UX 200 – where in Malaysia’s premium SUV market does it stand? We compare size, specs, price

Lexus UX 200 – where in Malaysia’s premium SUV market does it stand? We compare size, specs, price

It seems rather long ago no thanks to Covid-19 and the resulting movement control order (MCO), but the Lexus UX was officially launched in March, which is just four months ago. That it felt so long ago could be because most of that quarter year had nothing going on in the car world. Let’s revisit Lexus’ junior crossover then.

The Lexus UX 200 sits below the NX and RX in the premium brand’s SUV range. Other starter SUVs in the premium arena include the Mercedes-Benz GLA, BMW X1 (and the fancier X2), the Audi Q2 and Q3, as well as the Volvo XC40. Here, we’ll take a look at the UX vis-a-vis players in the premium compact crossover segment, in terms of size, specs and kit.

Price too, of course. The UX 200 line-up starts with the Urban variant at RM243,888, followed by the Luxury at RM283,888 and the range-topping F Sport at RM299,888 on-the-road without insurance. With the 2020 sales tax exemption, current prices are RM235,472, RM274,027 and RM289,364 respectively. That’s a reduction of up to RM10,524, or around 3.5%.

Lexus UX 200 – where in Malaysia’s premium SUV market does it stand? We compare size, specs, price

All three trim levels share the same 2.0 litre naturally-aspirated Dynamic Force four-cylinder engine with 169 hp and 205 Nm of torque at 4,800 rpm. Also found in the just-launched Toyota RAV4, M20A-FKS with D-4S direct injection is paired to a Direct-Shift CVT with a 10-speed virtual ratio function. Steering paddle shifters are available on the F-Sport. The 0-100 km/h sprint is done in 9.2 seconds and top speed is 190 km/h. Front-wheel-drive is the class default.

The first Lexus model to be underpinned by the Global Architecture – Compact (GA-C) platform – which is essentially the premium edition of the well-regarded Toyota New Global Architecture (TNGA) – Lexus promises comfort and agility, along with a “distinctive driving personality”. Suspension consists of front MacPherson struts and double wishbones at the rear.

Not many have seen the UX in the metal, so here’s how you size it mentally. The smallest Lexus SUV is 4,495 mm long and 1,840 mm wide, which is 130 mm shorter and 30 mm narrower than the NX. Its 2,640 mm wheelbase is just 20 mm shy of the NX’s though. Footprint aside, the UX might appear a fair bit more compact in the metal as it sits 110 mm lower than the NX.

Lexus UX 200 – where in Malaysia’s premium SUV market does it stand? We compare size, specs, price

We’re guessing that there are two kinds of premium SUV buyers. The default group goes for size – think Mercedes-Benz GLC, BMW X3, Audi Q5 – but there are some who want the trappings of an SUV, but prefer a more car-like driving experience, and size, as they don’t need to ferry a family. These are bought as “lifestyle” cars – the Mercedes-Benz GLA, BMW X2 (X1 is small but conventional), MINI Countryman and the Volvo XC40 are some that we can think of. The Lexus UX joins this corner of the class, we reckon.

The UX’s footprint is slightly larger than the GLA and Countryman, and is around the size of the XC40. Compared to the junior XC, the Lexus is 70 mm longer but 23 mm narrower.

The Lexus UX is alone in the class to breathe naturally – all the European players have either a 1.6 litre (GLA 200) or 2.0 litre turbo engine, with Audi making do with a 1.4T. As such, it has the slowest 0-100 km/h time and lowest top speed, although 169 hp/205 Nm would be adequate for a compact SUV in the urban context.

Lexus UX 200 – where in Malaysia’s premium SUV market does it stand? We compare size, specs, price

NA engine aside, it’s also the only car here to use a CVT gearbox instead of the class’ default seven-speed dual-clutch auto (the XC40 comes with a torque converter eight-speed auto).

At a glance, and as pundits who aren’t putting money down for one, it immediately looks as if the Lexus is technically inferior, but not everyone wants a turbo engine and DCT. Some argue that a more conventional powertrain is more reliable, and if you’ve been saddled by a problematic car before, you’ll appreciate the serenity of a fuss-free ownership experience. There are plenty of options for the tech-minded, but the Lexus provides variety.

As for performance, the latest crop of CVTs are great daily boxes and a far cry from early examples. If the C-HR is fast and responsive enough (fun even!), the Lexus UX should be fine. It also depends on what car one is coming from – if it’s an NA-powered mass market brand model, the transition will be seamless.

The UX is rather well equipped. The base Urban gets things like automatic LED headlights, LED DRLs, 17-inch alloys, keyless entry with push start, seven-inch displays for both instruments and infotainment, dual-zone climate control with rear vents, eight-way power-adjustable heated front seats, heated side mirrors, Nuluxe synthetic leather upholstery, Apple CarPlay/Android Auto connectivity, six speakers and a reverse camera.

Cough up an extra RM40,000 for the Luxury and Lexus will throw in niceties like automatic wipers, auto-dimming rear and side mirrors, auto-fold side mirrors with memory, metallic interior decor, 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, 360-degree camera system and a handsfree (kick) powered tailgate.

The Luxury also gets 18-inch two-tone alloys (an inch up), while the top surface of the dashboard features a texture inspired by Japanese washi paper. There’s also Qi wireless charging.

For those who want sport in everything, there’s the UX F Sport. As usual, the exterior gets a more aggressive look courtesy of larger air intakes, a criss-cross grille mesh and unique 18-inch wheels in a grey finish that matches the front and rear bumper inserts.

Other F Sport-exclusive performance-oriented kit include steering paddle shifters, adaptive dampers and a rear “performance damper” to control and absorb small distortions and vibrations. The F Sport cabin gets its own sports seats, alloy pedals, a head-up display and an LFA-style instrument display with a moving rev counter/centre ring. That’s a fair bit of kit for a RM15k premium over the Luxury.

Today, even the Perodua Axia, Malaysia’s cheapest car, comes with active safety features such as autonomous emergency braking (AEB), so you’re right to expect a safety pack on SUVs costing more than RM200k. But sadly, that’s not the case. The BMW X1/X2, Mini Countryman and Audi Q2 stop at stability control and six airbags. The Mercedes GLA does slightly better by adding a driver’s knee airbag (seven in total), AEB and auto high beam.

In this meagre field, the Lexus UX shines. All trim levels get AEB, adaptive cruise control with stop and go, lane centring assist and adaptive high beam to go with eight airbags (with driver and front passenger knee airbags), the highest here. The Luxury and F Sport add on blind spot monitoring and rear cross traffic alert.

Of the premium compact SUV lot, only the Volvo XC40 comes close in terms of safety kit – the Swede also packs in all of the above, with one less airbag (front passenger knee). And that’s before the UX pulls out its final safety card, a 360-degree parking camera on the Luxury and F Sport. Once again, if a Perodua Axia buyer can have AEB, perhaps it’s time for German premium brands to step up and do the minimum in this aspect.

As for practical equipment, the UX’s Apple CarPlay/Android Auto connectivity, wireless phone charger and 360-degree parking camera will be useful in everyday life, along with the ventilated seats in our weather. The phone connectivity is standard for all in the field except for the BMWs, while the youth-focused Countryman and XC40 are the only other cars to have wireless charging. The parking camera and the UX F-Sport’s adaptive dampers are Lexus-only in the Malaysian context.

Lexus UX 200 – where in Malaysia’s premium SUV market does it stand? We compare size, specs, price

Click to enlarge chart

Lastly, price. Lexus models are never the cheapest in Malaysia due to the fact that they’re all CBU imports from Japan, competing against rivals with local assembly. Throw in the EEV/hybrid CKD incentives that some have received from the government and the gap becomes wide. Too wide to be competitive, at times.

The UX appears expensive at a glance, but upon closer inspection, value isn’t poor. Priced from RM235,472 to RM289,364, it’s not too far away from the CBU Mercedes-Benz GLA range (RM216,154 to RM266,210) and the CKD locally-assembled Mini Countryman (RM220,741 to RM239,280). The CKD Volvo XC40 – the best-equipped European-badged car here – is priced at RM241,150. Take into account the Lexus’ CBU Japan status and its generous level of equipment, we’d say that the UX is a welcome addition to the premium compact SUV field.

It may be a new nameplate (UX, not Lexus) competing against well-established model lines, but the marque’s sharp and unique design language, coupled with the UX’s “friendly” size, may appeal to those who want something different.

GALLERY: Lexus UX 200 Urban


GALLERY: Lexus UX 200 Luxury

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Danny Tan

Danny Tan loves driving as much as he loves a certain herbal meat soup, and sweet engine music as much as drum beats. He has been in the auto industry since 2006, previously filling the pages of two motoring magazines before joining this website. Enjoys detailing the experience more than the technical details.

 

Comments

  • Nik botak on Jul 06, 2020 at 3:12 pm

    Luxurious but underpowered suv which use dinosaur age technology & hated cvt box for the sakes of being reliable. If you dont mind slow but reliability remains high on your list….this will be good

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 14 Thumb down 5
    • tricycle on Jul 06, 2020 at 4:59 pm

      Agreed. Plus no turbo no fun. But then again Lexus/Toyota they are like that. They do not care about those who are have no choice but to choose other that is more fun ie Honda or Mazda instead of Toyota. And bmw, or merc instead of Lexus. Audi got plenty of choices when it comes to its offering unfortunately Audi Malaysia only bring boring options for us to choose, and there is no “CKD” price car in Malaysia thus making Audi unattractive to own compared to merc or bmw.

      Waiting bmw malaysia to bring 340i m-sport or x340i m-sport as alternative to c43amg and glc43amg.

      And hoping for Lexus to seriously consider offering 3.0turbo f-sport IS to compete against the merc and the beemer.

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0
      • Not everyone want turbo.

        Only turbo enthusiasts want a turbo.
        Many afraid to maintain a turbo for long term durability.

        Lexus UX suits non-Turbo car enthusiasts, with DF engine, 10speed gearbox, double wishbone rear to achieve 4x independent suspension with front independent Mc Pherson.

        Like or Dislike: Thumb up 11 Thumb down 2
        • TatLee on Jul 07, 2020 at 7:03 am

          When marhaen say that 10 “virtual” speed CVT is similar to normal 10 speed gearbox. Weirrrrddd.

          Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 1
          • Pak Toh on Jul 07, 2020 at 8:17 am

            eh? living in gua tempurung ke?

            Tesla only has 1 speed gearbox.
            Porsche Taycan only has 2 speed gearbox.

            Mechanical feels = friction and lost efficiency.

            Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 2
    • amirul on Jul 06, 2020 at 5:13 pm

      Abang abang in this price range much better off with Toyota Harrier 2.0T 248HP. Just my 2cents.

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 11 Thumb down 0
  • Datuk on Jul 06, 2020 at 3:17 pm

    today any modern cars are comfortable, handles well above road regulations.

    Lexus UX gives a way more niche fine dining drive.
    sporty, handles predictably at mindblooging level despite being comfortable. The legroom is big compared to even a C200.

    boot space is sufficient for most Datuk’s active daily drive.

    Chauffeur will be better with Lexus ES/E200 for comfort and boss class.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 2
  • MeiLi on Jul 06, 2020 at 3:36 pm

    Luxury and CVT does not mixed-up well. Even the cheaper RAV4 comes with 8-speeder. I know, some of you might says, it has the first real gear. Well, moving from stop was the CVT problem from the past, it is not now. Look at C-RV. The problem with CVT is acceleration from low speed (e.g. 40km/h) to high speed (e.g. 100 km/h). This car is not even turbocharged. At least C-RV is turbocharged and its acceleration is quite good. Even though C-RV has quality problems, mechanically (engine and CVT) it is better than this Lexuses. Heck, even C-RV has Honda Sensing and lane centering built-in since start; Toyota added Lane Centering in their 2nd version of Toyota Safety Sense.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 11 Thumb down 7
  • F1 double wishbone on Jul 06, 2020 at 3:49 pm

    I think no layman want a spacious sporty looking car. It just doesn’t match.
    Toyota/Lexus emphasized driving comfort with oustanding handling when u need it.

    Normal drive is relax and layback style… but when u push it, u realized the double wishbone can take way more than we can push.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 1
  • Dear Paultan team, you should also do the comparison with the Toyota C-HR together. Considering that underneath the Lexus UX is basically a Toyota C-HR. Just like how Lexus ES vs Toyota Camry.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 1
    • AutoFrenz (the original) on Jul 06, 2020 at 5:02 pm

      Lexus ES vs Toyota Avalon not Camry…Camry is one size smaller

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 0
  • Ben Yap on Jul 06, 2020 at 4:06 pm

    this UX200 is a better buy in comparison with RAV4.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 7
  • at that price, the better choice would be
    in ranking order
    1. merc gla 250 – cheaper
    2. mini countryman cooper s sport – even cheaper
    3. volvo xc – cheaper and for the sake of being unique

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 7
    • seancorr (Member) on Jul 06, 2020 at 4:42 pm

      The Merc is super outdated. Doesn’t feel good to drive and the pulling power isn’t that great either.

      Expect the new GLA price to go up by 20k or more though looking at how the price the new A and B class.

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0
  • seancorr (Member) on Jul 06, 2020 at 4:40 pm

    The UX price isn’t too bad actually. It’s the IS pricetag that doesn’t make sense.

    Also for a quarter million ringgit car, I would have expect auto wipers and/or auto dimming mirrors to be standard at least.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0
  • Reader on Jul 06, 2020 at 4:42 pm

    Wow..This makes the already expensive turnocharged Mazda CX-5 looks so good value for money

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0
  • Jonathan Khan on Jul 06, 2020 at 4:53 pm

    When you already have a hard riding BMW 330 M..
    Buy 1 for a layback cruiser that handle well, reliable and top notch N.A. Dynamic Force with 10speed sequential e-CVT.

    No limit to car ownership, the more the merrier

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0
  • kusoking on Jul 06, 2020 at 4:54 pm

    Just simple, “Expensive + Underpower = Waste time, No value”

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 4
  • Malaysian mindset:
    Luxury = Turbo
    Luxury = CVT no no
    No matter how well the car is being executed..
    No matter how brilliant the new Dynamic Force Engine 2.0NA that achieve highest thermal efficiency without Force Induction, but still being called a DINOSAUR..
    But putting even a 12-year old EA888 (although have been revised over the years) in an Audi and considered as “High-Tech”

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 1
    • granny on Jul 07, 2020 at 8:08 am

      German premium Audi own by VW, old tech, only good performance.
      not reliable also.

      already struggling to survive in Malaysia
      Audi A3 didnt survive well, despite RM180k before discount.
      https://paultan.org/2014/08/04/audi-a3-sedan-malaysia/

      car is solid, but many old cars are solid too. hahaha

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0
  • Semi-Value (Member) on Jul 06, 2020 at 10:34 pm

    the excellent proton x70 does everything this car does, and more!

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0
  • Why not add in a battery pack and make it a hybrid for some boost in power? People spending 200+k won’t want won’t want a 9.2s below 200kph car imo.. harrier turbo previous gen does century sprint faster around same price and it’s bigger

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0
  • TBH, this Lexus will turn heads with its sporty and fresh looking.

    But on the overall package, it would need something “really really special” to sway buyers from BMW X1, Volvo XC40 and Benz GLA200.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0
  • Turbo is not necessarily better than NA.

    In a turbo, air is pumped into the engine at very high pressure. This causes the engine to operate at a very high pressure and temperature, which causes wear and tear. In a typical turbo engine, 3 years of normal usage (25k/year) can introduce problems caused by wear and tear. These problems manifest in the form of less power and lower fuel efficiency, and not by breakdown requiring parts replacement. 4-6 years of normal usage will result in breakdowns requiring parts replacement, which is also the time when most warranties run out.

    In an NA, this engine wear and tear does not occur, as the engine operates at far lower pressures and temperatures. As such, an NA can easily last 10+ years without any significant drop in performance and fuel efficiency.

    There are good reasons to buy both Turbo and NA.
    1) If you are planning to purchase a new Turbo and dispose of it within 3-4 years, it is a perfectly good choice.
    2) If you are planning to purchase a new car that you intend to keep for 7-10 years, an NA would be a better choice
    3) If you are planning to purchase a second-hand car, it is best to stay away from Turbos.

    This then brings us to the question, why do so many manufacturers move to turbo and ditch NA?
    1) NA technology has reached its theoretical limits for power for a particular engine size. It’s no longer possible to increase power, and the current market continues to demand more power for newer models. If additional power is needed, a larger displacement is needed.
    2) NA technology has reached its theoretical limits for fuel efficiency. It’s no longer possible to achieve higher fuel efficiency without some hybrid accompaniment.
    3) Manufactures earn far higher profit margins with turbo, as the the engine size can be reduced while maintaining or increasing power output.

    Who are the manufacturers who still sell NA in the >RM100k market today?
    1) Some Hondas
    2) Most Nissans
    3) Most Toyotas
    4) Some Lexuses
    5) Most Mazdas

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 0
 

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