The Japanese have a concept known as Omotenashi.
It's a difficult idea to define, but essentially it means anticipating the needs of a guest before they even know what they want. It's exemplary hospitality presented with the heart, and a concept that also defines Lexus's new UX, a mini SUV packed with Japanese precision and intuition.
To launch the UX in 'Omotenashi' style, Lexus brought together a group of writers and influencers to experience the best of this snappy city vehicle.
UX and the City
The 24 hours of power began at the stylish Old Clare Hotel in the heart of Sydney, where guests arrived to find a pack of Aesop toiletries thoughtfully placed beside the bed.
Moving up to the rooftop pool for an official welcome, we found our favourite drink already poured and ready to drink (Aperol spritz, how did they know?).
A fleet of UX vehicles then took our crew to an omakase dinner at Sake in the Rocks with longtime Lexus brand ambassador Neil Perry. The next morning, we jumped behind the wheel of a hybrid UX for a whistle stop tour of inner-city Sydney, which ended with a fashionable masterclass from design guru Akira Isogawa. The Japanese-born fashion designer also embodies the style and precision of this zippy little SUV.
First revealed in Stockholm in late 2018, the UX stands for 'Urban Crossover', and has been designed to take drivers from city streets to beach retreats. It's is all about accessible luxury, and starting at around $45,000 it's one of the most affordable cars in the Lexus fleet.
The car has been widely dubbed a "gateway vehicle" for customers buying their first luxury car. The relatively low price does not mean it scrimps on features, with plenty of grunt under the bonnet.
It's got the power of an SUV, but drives like a hatchback, and the luxe interior cabin is packed with elegant features. It's an extremely comfy drive, with easy-to-use touchpad to navigate the media systems.
There are two key engine options: the UX250h features a self-charging hybrid, while the UX200 features a fuel-efficient 2.0-litre four-cylinder petrol engine, and a uniquely Lexus look, with angular edges and a hefty chrome spindle grille.
There are of course loads of extra options so you can customise the car, most notably with "sashiko" hand-quilted seats or a "washi" paper effect dashboard.
With many top brands releasing this style of "gateway car" to capture a new generation of customers or make downsizing easy for retiring Boomers, the UX stands out from the pack.
You can put that down to the Omotenashi.
The writer was a guest of Lexus.