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New Lexus UX defines luxury through aesthetics, emotions and a distinct Franco-Nippon attitude 

“L’ART DE VIVRE,” or the art of living, as defined by the French, calls for enjoying life in a certain way. It’s a little hard to capture in words, too loosely structured to set a template for. Guess one simply acquires its ways gradually, one delightful step at a time.

Apparently, Lexus has a grasp of this. The carmaker embraced this approach in building its new UX crossover, focusing on the enjoyment of time, experiences and beauty rather than the usual items associated with luxury. As the model’s deputy chief engineer, Mitsuteru Emoto, says; “In developing the UX, the Lexus design and engineering teams studied varied philosophies beyond luxury and wealth, to bring a fresh perspective to the luxury landscape.”

But Lexus did not stop there. It fused this French attitude toward life with a few Japanese concepts, such as Engawa, in which the aim is to blur the boundary between a home’s exterior and interior; Takumi, a style of craftsmanship that relies on artisans’ touch in creating every detail of an object; and Kansei, an engineering method that translates people’s emotional responses into product design, connecting the two in a more intimate way. So, going by this mix of Franco-Nippon abstractions alone, it’s easy to see there was much thought that went into creating the UX.

Allowing the model its capacity for l’art de vivre is, for starters, its Engawa approach. From the driver’s seat there’s a sense of seamless continuity to the exterior because the hood seems as if it were passing through the windshield, connecting to the upper section of the instrument panel. This part of the IP, in turn, appears to extend beyond the windshield to the exterior. What this affords, Lexus asserts, is the impression that the UX is easy to drive.

The car’s cabin, for its part, benefits from the finishing skills of Lexus’s Takumi artisans who are able to play around with details and textures so each panel and piece of furniture looks and feels as lush as possible. Standing out here is a new trim inspired by the grain of Japanese paper, or washi, which is commonly used in Japanese homes. This trim is matched to equally new cabin colors — Cobalt and White Ash.

As detailed as the cabin is the exterior, which Lexus admits combines the blocky proportions of an armored vehicle with the sleek silhouette of a racecar. What may sound like an odd combination — the body’s rakish lines are punctuated by chunky wheel arches — actually works, able to blend in with other Lexus visual signatures (the Spindle grille, for one). That 13 paintjobs, including the new Blazing Carnelian, Terrane Khaki and Celestial Blue, are offered surely do not hurt the UX’s looks either.

The UX’s embrace of Kansei, meanwhile, should guarantee it is exciting to drive. Chika Kako, the model’s chief engineer, says the UX has a “distinctive driving feel” that promotes security even if it’s dynamic. This quality, he notes, is what “sets crossovers apart from hatchbacks.” Well, with a slippery body, a 2.0-liter engine and 18-inch run-flat wheels, the UX does promise to be athletic.

In any case, its design declares it is.

The UX, billed as a “new gateway” to the Lexus brand, is now available at the Lexus Manila showroom. The UX 200 sells for P2.478 million, the UX 200 F Sport for P3.048 million.