On a fine Wednesday afternoon, I was invited to a special event to test out a new compact SUV in town. As I was made to understand, the event is not all about automotive or anything to do with the vehicle. But it is more about the lifestyle elements that are being presented by the SUV itself. What is being reviewed here are all about the whole experience and what the SUV is all about. And this one is made especially for the ladies out there.
I arrived at the Lexus Malaysia showroom in Mutiara Damansara early Wednesday morning for the briefing. The traffic along the way was really bad. In my head I was thinking, will the traffic stay like this for the rest of the day during the test drive around town? I didn’t think much of that because I was really excited for the chance to drive around PJ and KL city in a brand new Lexus UX200 SUV – the first ever compact SUV by Lexus.
Introductions for the new Lexus UX200 were made by Mr Chris Tan, Acting General Manager for Lexus Malaysia division. After more in-depth briefing of the UX200 and the safety procedures that we have to adhere to, we were all ready to take the new Lexus UX200 out for a drive. If you’re wondering what’s the UX stands for, it stands for Urban eXplorer.
Okay. My personal first-look of the UX200 is simple. I was in awe of the exterior design which is by the way, designed and engineered by the first female lead engineer in Lexus Japan, Ms Chica Kako. She is Lexus’s first-ever female Chief Engineer as well as executive vice president. She wanted a SUV that did not conform to the established look. Instead, Chika Kako opted to create a crossover that’s compact, strong, dynamic, and stylish. I can vouch for that because the exterior and interior of the new Lexus UX200 is very well designed and it does have that female touch.
While including an aerodynamic body structure, the overall exterior looks compact and sturdy. I particularly like the front grille which is an iconic design by Lexus. The sexy slick design turns a lot of heads during our journey through PJ and KL city. Before we get to the whole driving experience, I would like to touch the interior of the UX200 – literally.
The interior of the UX200 is very well thought of. Every buttons, functions and minor touches are well located within reach. Since this compact SUV is made to target female drivers, everything you see inside the car is made with articulate details. The leather seats were given a luxury treatment, crafted from the idea of Japanese Washi texture that is made to last. Same goes with the dashboard. Every fine details are made with luxury in mind.
I honestly love the placement of all buttons and there’s even a touch pad similar to a mouse pad on a laptop that controls the software on the LCD panel. Radio controls are placed within reach in the center console instead of the more traditional on-dashboard controls. The spirit of Engawa is strong with this new Lexus UX200. In case you’re wondering, Engawa means a Japanese traditional architecture that seamlessly connects inside with the outside.
We started off the test drive from Lexus Malaysia HQ in Mutiara Damansara towards Jalan Tun Razak. Our first destination was The Linc KL for a brief stop and photo opportunities. I get to the be first driver that drove from Lexus HQ to The Linc. Each car has three drivers assigned to it. From the interior of the car during the drive, we hardly hear any outside noise – thanks to the rigid body structure and sound proofed windows. All I can say is, the first drive was simply wonderful.
Second driver took over from The Linc KL and we all head towards Chinatown to the new Sheraton Four Points Hotel for lunch. For lunch, we get to experience a curated lunch that has been prepared for us. The whole journey is made to experience the joy of driving and luxury living with Lexus. So the curated lunch was a well deserved lunch for us. I love the mushroom soup starter that I had and most of all, I love the main course. I had steak prepared for my lunch. The tantalizing New York striploin was cooked to perfection (medium, just the way I like it). And of course to finish it off, fruit and chocolate cake dessert was a great ending to it.
The treat doesn’t stop there. We get to experience a premium leather crafting workshop right after lunch as well. The very same leather is also being used in the new UX200 exterior leather. So now we get to hand-craft our own personalised luxury leather. Each of us received a card holder and keychain, after which we had our initials printed on. Not to brag but it took me less than 10 minutes to be done with my leather craft. I give credit to my experience in sewing and tying fishing knots for this. And so now I have my own personalised luxury leather card holder and keychain that I will use on daily basis.
Once we were done with lunch and the leather crafting workshop, it is time for the third driver to take over the wheel. From Chinatown, we head towards the highway to test out the Dynamic Radar Cruise Control (DRCC) and Lane Keeping System mode on the Lexus UX200 and many other functions. The DRCC mode will keep you in auto-cruise to which speed that you set. This is pretty much a standard in most luxury cars. You can also manually set the speed that you wish and the UX200 will keep within the set speed range. What’s special about the UX200 is that with the dynamic radar system, it can detect the speed of the vehicle in-front and follows its speed. If the front car reduces speed, the UX200 will follow to reduce its speed. It will then accelerates again when the front car increases the speed. This allows you to focus more on the control and keep you in safe distance, in case you keep your eyes off the road while doing something like changing radio settings or whatever.
The Lane Keeping System will assist you to maintain in your lane while driving. This works best when you go for a long distance journey. We tend to get sleepy during a long drive so this system will keep you in your lane. Both systems combined will keep you in safe distance and keep you in your own lane for that extra safety feature.
The drive from Chinatown brings us to the next stop at Awan Besar rest area along KESAS highway for another driver change. I get to experience the final drive back to Mutiara Damansara, which is a great treat. Driving the UX200 along the highway was a really good experience for me. Traffic wasn’t that heavy to with this, I get to test the acceleration and true power of the UX200. There are three settings that I can choose. There is the Normal mode, Eco mode and Sports mode. For this, I turn on the Sports mode just for the kicks of it. Acceleration is good from the 2.0 litre NA engine. The UX200 comes with a 10-speed Direct Shift Continuous Variable Transmission (CVT) that gives a true mechanical first gear to reduce the “springy” effect during initial acceleration. The Lexus UX200 is also a front-wheel drive SUV which will also reduce fuel consumption. We started off the whole journey with a full tank, and came back still with a full tank. It’s like the fuel did not deplete at all even when I was driving more than 100km/h along the highway.
The whole experience was really great for me. From testing the new Lexus UX200, the lunch, the leather workshop – all of it was great. What I enjoyed most that Wednesday was the whole driving experience with the new Lexus UX200 compact SUV. The luxury interior made me feel pampered, and the comfort of the journey pleases my mind, body and soul.
It is true when they said this Lexus UX200 is made for women in mind. While the interior is made in leathery fashion, everything else is within reach. Say if the lady driving the car has her bag placed on the back seat, she can simply reach out to it without having to unbuckle the seat belt. It is within reach. I’m not kidding. Even then, it doesn’t feel cramped at all. The interior is still spacious, and it feels spacious. To me, that is great. Even when I was sitting at the backseat, I still have ample leg room to move about. With all that comfort, I almost fell asleep while sitting at the back.
So if you’re looking into getting a new SUV, the new Lexus UX200 will be a great option. The sporty look is suitable for both men and women. I know the guys will like the F Sport version of the UX200. Colour options are abundance as well. There are 9 colours to choose from and two colour options for the F Sport version.
The new Lexus UX200 starts from RM243,888.00 onwards.