We live in the ripe age of the SUV boom. This is good news for most people who are looking to buy a new tall-riding car, because there are more options in the market now than there has ever been. But to some people, having too many choices can be overwhelming, and the last thing anyone should do is settle for something mainstream. You know, those can’t-go-wrong options.

More often than not, it pays to cast a slightly wider net, because that way you get to make a more informed purchasing decision. If you’re the type to prioritise vehicle build quality and reliability, then premium brands such as Lexus will definitely spring to mind. The good news is, there’s a Lexus model to meet everyone’s needs, and your entry into the brand is now as low as RM235k.

Meet the Lexus UX, a brand new premium subcompact SUV that’s built on the sophisticated Global Architecture – Compact (GA-C) platform. It’s fully imported from Kyushu, Japan, and is the first Lexus model to be developed on this architecture. Power comes from the latest 2.0 litre naturally-aspirated M20A-FKS four-cylinder engine, making 169 hp and 205 Nm of torque.

All UX models get a 10-speed Direct-Shift CVT, which is optimised for fuel efficiency, smooth acceleration and quick off-the-line performance. This is achieved by using a mechanical first gear for solid low speed responsiveness, then smoothly switches over to the efficient belt transfer mechanism at higher speeds. These are key characteristics of an ideal urban vehicle, and the UX’s compact dimensions allow drivers to confidently manoeuvre around narrow city streets without feeling intimidated.

On the subject of manoeuvrability, another benefit of the GA-C platform is its lower centre of gravity. Coupled with MacPherson struts up front and independent double wishbone suspension at the back, the UX promises a “distinctive driving personality” and the flexibility of being light on its feet and comfortable at the same time.

But wait, it doesn’t end there. The UX gets Active Cornering Assist as standard, further boosting driver confidence when attacking the bends. There’s also front performance rods which improve chassis rigidity. All this means you get to relax in the quiet and cosy cabin of the UX on weekdays, and enjoy the occasional spirited drives on the weekends.

If you value connectivity and tech, then you’d be glad to learn that the UX gets Apple CarPlay and Android Auto functionalities as standard, for all variants! This is often overlooked by eager car buyers, and it’s a feature not many of the UX’s rivals have.

Lexus doesn’t compromise when it comes to craftmanship. Even for an entry-level model, the UX gets high quality Takumi craftmanship, which comes with a nice wraparound dashboard with Washi trim, Sashiko seat quilting with perforation, and mathematically-designed curvatures for the best seating comfort. There’s also three interior colour themes on offer, making it a truly unique offering in the segment.

Another feature that is almost exclusive to the Lexus UX is the heated and ventilated front seats. While heated seats are pretty common for fully imported vehicles, ventilated seats are clearly the more useful ones to have, especially in our hot, tropical climate. We don’t have to explain how useful a feature like this can be, but just keep in mind that leather seats can get wildly toasty when left to sit under the direct sun, even when going for a quick trip at your favourite grocer.

There’s also a hands-free powered rear hatch for times when your hands are full, like carrying bags of fresh grocery haul, for example. All you have to do is walk up to the rear of the car, sweep one foot past the sensor located under the bumper, and the boot automatically swings open. What’s more, you can do the exact same thing to close the boot.

Car safety, again, is one of those things people take for granted when shopping for a new ride. The typical focal point is airbag count, where more is always “better.” But Lexus takes pride with the Lexus Safety System+, which offers advanced features such as Dynamic Radar Cruise Control with Stop & Go function, Lane Tracing Assist with lane centring function, and Adaptive High Beam System as standard. Some of these features aren’t even offered on rivalling models!

But if you must know, the UX gets eight SRS airbags as standard. Other notable preventive safety features include Front Pre-Collision System, Hill-Start Assist, and Tyre Pressure Monitoring System with automatic location detection. More expensive models get upgraded with Blind Spot Monitoring and Rear Cross-Traffic Alert, too!

So, if this has piqued your interest, you owe it to yourself to test drive the Lexus UX at your preferred dealership. Lexus Malaysia is also offering the Lexus Business Package for SMEs and business owners, with up to 4% rebate on the selling price of selected models.