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Refreshing or Revolting: Lexus UX vs. BMW X1 vs. Mercedes-Benz GLA

Motor Trend logo Motor Trend 3/16/2018 Motor Trend Staff
2019-Lexus-UX-250h-front-01.jpg Refreshing or Revolting: Lexus UX vs. BMW X1 vs. Mercedes-Benz GLA

Lexus has gained a reputation for polarizing design over the past several years. And whether you like or don't like the look of other Lexus crossovers, you'll likely feel the same way about the new 2019 Lexus UX. When it arrives in the U.S. this December, it will compete against the BMW X1 and Mercedes-Benz GLA. But does it have a more compelling design than these two rivals?

Research

The 2019 Lexus UX features the much contended spindle grille that permeates throughout the automaker's lineup. It takes on an interesting 3D appearance with a mesh pattern. The grille takes up most of the front fascia, although the headlights and side vents also try and grab your attention. Take a look at the BMW X1, and you'll notice it bears a less controversial dual-kidney grille design that's simple, unobtrusive, yet almost too expected. The lights inside the headlamp housings take on a rounded shape. On the GLA, the rounded headlamps are almost as tall as the grille, which itself features soft lines. Because it doesn't have sharp edges, the GLA looks less imposing than its rivals from many angles.

From the side profiles, the three models look quite different. Comparatively, the UX features a lot of cladding around the wheel arches. It has a more bulbous rear than that on the X1, which is flatter. The GLA has pleasant character lines running across its body and looks particularly diminutive from this angle. It's the shortest of the bunch, measuring 173.9 inches long compared to the BMW's 175.4 inches. Lexus says the UX that debuted in Geneva measures in at 177 inches in length.

Lexus UX Mercedes GLA BMW X1© Motor Trend Staff Lexus UX Mercedes GLA BMW X1

Strong fender flares characterize the back end of the UX. Its full-width taillights project a "nighttime signature" using 120 LEDs and tapers toward the center, Lexus says. Below the light strip, character lines form a trapezoid. This angle of the UX is also a bit polarizing since the rear protrudes so much, and is arguably overly sculpted. Meanwhile, the BMW features a much more conventional rear end that is more upright. For the GLA, the taillights are so big that they dominate the rear end. A silver trim piece joins the two lights together in the very compact rear.

Each model features a luxurious cabin. On the UX, Lexus made it so the upper part of the instrument panel appears to extend out beyond the windshield. The large, low screen sits above the dashboard, and there is an old-school analog clock on this unit. Below the big screen, there are neat rows of buttons and a touchpad. The BMW features perhaps the oldest-looking screen of the bunch, and probably the starkest interior of the group as well. On the GLA, you'll notice playful circular air vents and a stand-alone, square infotainment system.

Which crossover takes the cake: the 2019 Lexus UX, BMW X1, or Mercedes-Benz GLA? 

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