Luxury brand Lexus has increased its lineup in recent years to include more SUVs, crossovers, and electrified vehicles than ever before. In a word SUV-driven, Lexus is trying everything it can to appeal to today’s luxury buyer. Its newest addition, the compact-sized UX, impressed experts fresh off the production line. But it takes more than experts’ opinions to make the 2020 Lexus UX a best-selling car.
Experts have nothing but love for the 2020 Lexus UX
The Lexus UX might be relatively new to the lineup, but it’s already a favorite among industry experts. In fact, Consumer Reports ranks the 2020 Lexus UX as its number-one pick of all luxury entry-level SUVs.
The newest Lexus UX comes with an impressive overall score of 80 (out of 100) from Consumer Reports, a good predicted owner satisfaction rating of four (out of five), and a great predicted reliability rating of five (out of five).
Overall, Consumer Reports’ experts loved the small UX’s fuel-efficient nature and its smooth, comfortable ride. On the road test, the 2020 Lexus UX received a perfect score of five (out of five) in fuel economy and transmission categories, while receiving impressive scores of four in braking, handling, and comfort categories.
Though areas like cargo area and legroom could use some improvement, the smaller UX isn’t really geared toward large family-haulers.
Even the professionals from Car and Driver give the 2020 Lexus UX a notable rating of eight out of 10. Although the smaller SUV shares some similar, confounding interior components the Lexus brand has become known for, the UX is “enjoyable to drive,” has a “convincingly upscale interior,” and comes with “generous standard features.” But is the small UX selling as well as its ratings indicate?
Do customers share the same love?
The entry-level UX went on sale for the 2019 model year and according to Lexus Enthusiast, Lexus only sold 16,275 in its first full year. Even though experts love seem to love the UX and it ranks as one of the best-quality SUVs in its segment, it had one of the worst sales years. Not only did sales numbers for the UX pale in comparison to other small luxury SUVs, but also against other vehicles in its own lineup.
The start to a new year and an improved 2020 UX hasn’t proved more promising for Lexus, either. According to the data from GoodCarBadCar, first-quarter sales of 2020 have come in at 3,838 units, down 2.2% from the previous year’s first quarter.
When compared to its biggest competitors, like the Mercedes-Benz GLC that sold more than 13,000 units in the first quarter of 2020, it seems customers don’t appreciate the new, luxury UX. What could be the reason customers are turning away from the highly-rated UX?
Is Lexus hurting its own UX sales?
When the UX’s sales numbers are stacked against others in its segment, they are underwhelming, to say the least. But the UX also currently stands as one of the Lexus brand’s overall worst-selling vehicles. The UX has four other SUV siblings in the lineup and it appears to be unable to compete with any of them.
The NX, closest in design to the UX, sold more than 11,000 units in the first quarter of 2020, according to a press release from Lexus. The slightly-larger RX sold more than 20,000 units in the same timeframe, meaning both SUV models were sold nearly three and five times more than the UX.
Although Lexus seems to be responding to today’s SUV-heavy market with an updated lineup and a variety of options to give potential luxury buyers, it appears the brand doesn’t have enough interested customers to go around.