Lexus is hunting new luxury buyers with its smallest, most affordable SUV.

The Japanese brand has announced the new baby SUV will be its second cheapest model. The UX200 powered by a 2.0-litre four-cylinder petrol engine will start at $44,450, with only the $40,900 CT200h hatchback having a lower sticker price in the brand’s current range.

Lexus views the new UX, that competes against the likes of the Volvo XC40 and BMW X1, as a gateway vehicle to both the brand and also to luxury vehicles in general.

Standard equipment on the Luxury grade will include 17-inch alloy wheels, a 10.3-inch infotainment screen, navigation, an eight-speaker audio system with digital radio and Lexus Safety Sense + active safety suite, which includes forward collision warning, active cruise control, lane keeping assist, traffic sign recognition, auto high beam, blind spot monitoring and rear cross-traffic alert.

Lexus will also offer the hybrid UX250h in both front- and all-wheel drive alongside the UX200. It is powered by a 131kW petrol-electric combination, besting the 126kW offered by the conventional petrol engine.

The hybrid engine adds $3500 to the price, while opting for the all-wheel drive version, which uses an electric motor on the rear axle, is a further $4500 premium.

Above the Luxury trim line, Lexus will offer Sports Luxury and F Sport variants across the range. Stepping up to Sports Luxury brings 18-inch alloys, adaptive high beam lights, leather-accented seats, panoramic parking camera and 13-speaker Mark Levinson sound system.

The F Sport also rides on 18-inch rims, but with a unique design, and gets a sportier bodykit with new bumpers and grille. It also gets sports seats, steering wheel and pedals and is fitted with adaptive suspension and a five-mode drive select system.

The UX200 is due to go on sale by the end of November before the hybrid UX250h lands in January 2019.

2018 Lexus UX pricing

UX200

Luxury - $44,450

Sports Luxury - $53,000

F Sport - $53,450

UX250h 2WD

Luxury - $47,950

Sports Luxury - $56,500

F Sport - $56,950

UX250h AWD

Sports Luxury - $61,000

F Sport - $61,450

Source: Drive

November 5, 2018