Rich and varied Japanese traditions inspired our designers in the creation of the new Lexus UX luxury compact SUV. These traditions can be experienced in many areas of the interior, from the shape of the cabin itself to the textured appearance of the dashboard trims and fine stitching of the leather upholstery.
Lexus UX: engawa architecture
Although the UX has compact dimensions, the aim was to ensure the interior felt open and spacious. One solution was inspired by engawa, a traditional Japanese architectural concept.
“Houses in Japan often have a veranda area which bridges the boundary between inside and outside,” explained chief designer Tetsuo Miki. “The Lexus UX has something similar: we’ve made a seamless connection between the cabin and the car’s exterior.”
This generates an open, airy space for passengers, while giving the driver a precise sense of the car’s extremities, making it easier to drive and manoeuvre in confined spaces. The driver’s view is improved by the low bonnet, made possible the UX’s new GA-C platform and low-mounted drivetrain.
Lexus UX: sashiko stitching
The stitching of the smooth leather upholstery available in the UX is inspired by sashiko, a traditional Japanese quilting technique that dates back more than 1,200 years. Its strength, with up to ten stitches per inch, has long made it popular in the making of judo and kendo martial arts uniforms, and protective cotton coats worn by early Japanese fire fighters.
It requires a steady, skilled hand and is applied by Lexus takumi craftspeople. The quilted leather in the UX is decorated with new perforation patterns that form mathematical curves and gradations in perfect alignment.
Lexus UX: washi trim inlays
The new UX is the first Lexus to be offered with a dashboard trim inspired by washi, the grained paper used for the shoji sliding screens found in traditional Japanese homes. Of course, the inlays are not made of paper in this application but they have an authentic texture and come in a range of coordinating colours.
Lexus UX: omotenashi hospitality
It has always been the mission of Lexus to deliver the finest customer service. Multiple awards testify to its success in this area, achieved through treating customers as if they were house guests. The inspiration for this approach is the Japanese spirit of omotenashi, which translates as ‘hospitality and polite service.’ But it is more than just excellence of service; it also expresses the ancient concept of being able to anticipate another person’s needs.
Omotenashi therefore influences how Lexus designs cars such as the new UX, witnessed in details such as the hands-free power tailgate and S-Flow climate control, which constantly monitors and enhances air quality with moisturising ions.
The new Lexus UX is available to order now, with first deliveries to UK customers from March this year.