- Lexus’ vision for compact SUV of the future
- Strong synergy of exterior and interior design
- Innovative 3D human machine interface tech
PARIS, France – A Lexus compact crossover concept vehicle, the UX, is having its world debut at the 2016 Paris auto show as the automaker’s “vision for a compact SUV of the future”.
It was designed by ED2, a Lexus’ Europe design centre in southern France, and described as “a new step in the company’s design history”.
The studio’s president, Simon Humphries, told The Corner in a media release: “The UX is a product that gives another hint of the potential for Lexus’ design approach as a progressive, strong, yet artistic and premium, product which enhances Lexus’ unique and challenging brand position.”
The UX claims to “powerfully reinterpret” Lexus design and emphasise that each of its products “should have a stand-alone character”.
LEXUS: ‘SUV PIONEER’
The car also features the first execution of a kinetic seat technology designed by Lexus as “a re-evaluation of the principles of car-seat occupancy”.
Lexus claims to have pioneered the SUV in the 1990’s with its RX and LX that combined off-road ability with luxury. In 2004, the RX 400h became the world’s first premium hybrid SUV and in 2014 the NX mid-size SUV demonstrated how ‘utility’ could be combined with a striking design.
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The premium compact SUV segment, Lexus believes, is experiencing strong growth, especially among young customers upgrading in a quest for distinctive styling, cabin versatility and an engaging driving experience.
In the opposite direction, premium-model customers are looking to downsize without compromising comfort, driving position and space. “It’s destined to become the largest part of the SUV segment,” Lexus believes.
The UX Concept highlights Lexus’s intention to attract an ever-wider group of new, younger, always-connected urban customers.
Stefan Rasmussen, an exterior designer with ED2 enlarged: “Our brief was to create a genre of compact crossover that could progress the user experience and create something unique.
“Inspiration came from many sources but principally from key phrases about the car – ‘robust yet agile’ and ‘inside-and-out styling concept’.”
The UX, Lexus explains, is a new kind of four-seat crossover which contrasts the almost brutal appearance of a 4×4 off-roader by having a low ground clearance and coupe-like driving position.
“This reinforces the promise of dynamic performance that’s embedded in the design’s compact packaging,” the automaker claims.
The car’s wings, Lexus says, flow seamlessly into the cabin to form housings for e-mirror screens that display images from door-mounted, rear-facing cameras. The top of the facia sits lower than the screens to combine a deconstructed look with excellent forward visibility.
The rear body also flows into the cabin to become the main structure of the rear seat headrests.
This horizontal quality, the automaker adds, is emphasised by the length of the bonnet and the peak of the cabin is deliberately set far back to create a dynamic profile.
L-shaped daytime running lights, usually below the main headlights, have been positioned to pierce them. The tail lights claim to have strong three-dimensional treatment running into a spoiler.
‘KINETIC SEAT’ BREAKTHROUGH
A blessing for motorcyclists and other road-users is the A-pillars’ design – see-through. The UX Concept uses polycarbonate fins attached to an aluminium member.
Another breakthrough is the car’s seat technology. Lexus has named it Kinetic Seat Concept. The aim: to enhance the driving experience and add an impression of space and transparency to the cabin.