Our UNO editor was more than happy to test drive the new Lexus UX.
WORDS JENNY RUDD / PHOTOS KENRICK RHYS
A brand new Lexus UX hybrid arrived at the office with a zippy look and geometric edges, sent over by Lexus of Hamilton’s Lennon Singh for me to drive. “Our chief engineer at Lexus is Chika Kako,” says Lennon. “She’s the first female in that role not only at Lexus, but in her entire industry in Japan. You’re exactly the person this car has been designed for.”
Lexus expects the UX to become their bestseller, and I can see why. It certainly made my life easier. The key is shaped like a credit card, so it slipped neatly into my back pocket, and the door unlocked when I stood next to it. Just as I started to look around for the ignition, the lights on the dashboard asked me to touch the brake then press start. I welcome such gentle direction in this world of constant decision-making.
The seats are the softest charcoal leather with sporty arrow detailing, and the dashboard and satellite navigation screen are both generously wide. I felt confident knowing the UX was on the lookout for potential problems on the road and in my driveway. There’s an icon that displays the local speed limit, and when I reversed out of a tight spot on a dark, rainy afternoon, the wing mirrors’ warning lights helped me thread that needle no sweat.
There’s a surprising amount of room in the back of the Lexus UX, which prompted my three pre-teens to suggest I drive them to school. No thanks, kids, because then I wouldn’t get to revel in the silence of the hybrid engine. They say you don’t really learn until you experience something, and when I heard the UX switch off the petrol and silently glide me to work powered by self-charging electricity, I was suddenly hyper-aware that my own gas-guzzling car is all wrong and killing the planet.
Celebrity cook Chelsea Winter is a brand ambassador for Lexus of Hamilton, and says she has similar feelings about the UX’s ability to switch effortlessly between petrol and electricity. “The UX is ideal as it figures out when to use electric and when to use fuel, so I can drive long distances without worrying. The fuel efficiency is amazing and there’s lots of pep. It feels like you’re driving in a cloud.”
Chelsea’s cloud analogy is spot on. The driver has been thoroughly considered in its design, and that makes everything about it feel easy. It’s not ostentatious, it just looks after you, which feels like the height of luxury.
The Lexus UX isn’t the only thing that’s state of the art – Lexus of Hamilton’s designer showroom is an experience in and of itself. Stop in for a coffee with Lennon and the team at 5 Kahu Crescent, Te Rapa, Hamilton.