Published on July 9th, 2020 | by Subhash Nair0
VOTY 2020//Luxury Crossover of the Year – Lexus UX
We now address the most exciting segment in the market. Just a generation of vehicles ago, this premium crossover segment had emerged. Since then, every premium maker out there has come up with something to compete. From the GLA to the X1 to the Q3.
This year, we had a close race between two contenders. Ultimately, we found the Lexus UX to be the winner after a small dispute between the judges.
The UX edged out its rivals by appealing to the sensory rather than the objective markers. On paper, one might question the need to spend this much money on a smaller vehicle. But get behind the wheel and it becomes clear why so many people do. The UX has one of the best constructed cabins out there, with beautiful materials, exquisite sculpted surfaces and attention to detail throughout. The engine and gearbox is tuned to behave a lot more aggressively than one might expect, but only when asked. Otherwise it’s extremely efficient. In fact, this engine is the most thermally efficient internal combustion engine in any production car ever.
They’ve also built the UX from the ground up rather than adopt it from an exiting hatchback design. This approach makes the UX more dynamic and comfortable than rivals from other luxury brands. It is uncompromised in its chassis, lending the Lexus UX a huge advantage in ride and handling. For a car of its size, the chassis is significantly more capable of absorbing harshness from imperfections on the road than many of its rivals. The use of double wishbone suspension at the rear also gives it unexpectedly lively responsive steering characteristics for a front-wheel drive model. The UX can turn on a dime, even at high speeds. It’s almost magical how the car can switch from sharp to relaxed depending on the driver’s inputs.
With ride quality and perceived quality at max, Lexus then turned to the most important aspect of a car – its engine. With the understanding the Lexus customers still look for long-lasting reliability, the company opted not to downsize and turbocharge their engine for the UX. But they also understood the premium segment is expected to push the boundaries of power-plant technology to some degree. Which is why they went another route. They stuck to a naturally-aspirated engine, but they made it the MOST thermally-efficient engine to ever be put into production. While most mass-produced cars waste about 70% of the energy contained in the petrol they burn, the 2-litre in the UX, brings that wastage down to 60%. With more power going to wheels rather than into the atmosphere, the Lexus UX is more efficient and more powerful than one might expect. And they did all this without having to follow industry trends or sacrifice what their brand is known for – quality engineering.
Perhaps the most important aspect of all – safety – is where the Lexus UX really exceeds expectations in the segment. Lexus Malaysia have not compromised in this regard, with Active Cornering Assist, 8 airbags coming in as standard. Also standard on all Malaysian Lexus UX models is Lexus Safety System+. That’s right, even the base model UX comes with Front Pre-Collision System, Dynamic Radar Cruise Control, Lane Tracing Assist, Lane Departure Alert and Adaptive High-beam System.
Lexus UX Luxury Specifications
Engine: Inline-4, 16 Valve, DOHC
Gearbox: 10-speed Direct Shift CVT Automatic
Max power: 169hp @ 6600rpm
Max torque: 205Nm @ 4800rpm
0-100 km/h: 9.2 seconds
Top Speed: 190km/h
About the VOTY Awards 2020
The Vehicle of the Year (VOTY) Awards is sponsored by Allianz Malaysia Berhad and is judged by Daniel Sherman Fernandez, Ross Hadi, Amirul Mukminin and Subhash Nair from Drive Safe and Fast (dsf.my) and GohedGostan.com.
The selection process is simple and clean. All cars launched in Malaysia within 13 months of our cutoff date are eligible for entry. We contact all car brands officially operating in Malaysia and ask them for test cars for each of our judges. There’s no participation fee, no tables to buy, no package deals — nothing. Any judge who drives an eligible car gets to vote for it. A simple majority is all it takes for a vehicle to win in a given category.
The categories are kept as consistent as possible from year-to-year with some modifications when a certain category is not adequately represented or is over-represented in that particular year. You can view the categories over the years by looking through our “VOTY” tab on the dsf.my page.
Our title sponsor Allianz recognises the integrity of our team and all players involved in deciding on winners and leaves all decisions to us regarding the winners. We hope our readers appreciate the efforts of all parties involved and provide us with feedback on how we can further improve on this.
This year, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, we’ve had to postpone our VOTY awards presentation and have instead decided to stream it LIVE on facebook and youtube. This would make VOTY the first automotive awards show to be streamed live in ASEAN as far as we can tell.