Ride-on vehicles, or Power Wheels as many know them, are a perfect way for young children to experience driving and cars for the first time. Unfortunately, certain congenital disorders can prevent some children from having that from experience. Lexus, in collaboration with Givewith and the Cerebral Palsy Foundation (CPF), wanted to help reduce the barrier of access to fun mobility, and has created an LX ride-on specifically customized for a girl with cerebral palsy.
Six-year-old Finley Smallwood has the most common motor disorder that affects children, cerebral palsy. According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), cerebral palsy is "a group of disorders that affect a person's ability to move and maintain balance and posture." Because of this, she is unable to use ride-on vehicles the way they are currently built. Lexus was inspired by Finley to design and develop solutions that could get here into a car.
In select European markets, Lexus is expanding the availability of one of its newest and most futuristic features. Starting in March, 2020, the ES 300h will have an option for digital side-view cameras and monitors.
Lexus first introduced its side-view cameras and monitors on a production car when it added the tech to the Japanese-market 2019 ES sedan in 2018. Typical side-view mirrors are replaced with camera stalks, which feed video into small five-inch digital displays attached to the front corners of the car's interior.
J.D. Power is out with its annual U.S. Vehicle Dependability Study for 2020, which looks at problems experienced by owners of three-year-old vehicles. The big takeaways are continued improvement in overall vehicle dependability, with the brands Genesis, Lexus and Buick taking the top three spots, in order. But once again, the usual caveats apply.
Autoblog years ago raised issues with the study, which gives the same weight to matters of subjective likability, such as complaints about pairing their device with the vehicle's Bluetooth or ease of operating the audio system, to more substantive issues like a defective climate system or transmission trouble. J.D. Power continues to tally problems across eight categories, including audio/communication/entertainment/navigation, and despite that being the most improved category, the organization says it still accounts for more problems than any other.
The 2020 Lexus UX 200 is moving into its second year on the market, and we decided it was time to take a spin in the F Sport model. Similar to other F Sport models from Lexus, this one amps up the handling and styling, but retains the same powertrain as the base vehicle. That means we're working with a naturally aspirated 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine making 169 horsepower and 151 pound-feet of torque, which is then paired with a CVT. With a 3,307-pound curb weight, this Lexus crossover/hatchback isn't going to win many drag races in this segment. Lexus tried to improve the driving dynamics in other ways, though.
F Sport models get revised springs and more aggressive stabilizer bars in an effort to reduce roll and improve handling. Lexus says the 18-inch F Sport alloys are more rigid than the standard wheels, also aiding in the handling department. If sound is your thing, the F Sport also uses something called Active Sound Control that simulates the sound of up- and down-shifts. You know, since the UX is only available with a CVT. Both the grille and front bumper design are F Sport exclusive fittings. Same goes for the rear bumper and rear moldings, further separating itself from the regular UX 200. There are even more sporty touches on the interior. Lexus installs high bolstered sport seats it says were originally designed for full-on F models. Paddle shifters are placed behind the leather-wrapped steering wheel, too, allowing you to toggle through the simulated gear ratios. Aluminum pedals, scuff plates and an aluminum footrest all try and convince you that you're in something sporty.
NASA is working to put human back on the moon by 2024, the idea being to use it as a way station for the eventual colonization of Mars. Since those humans won't want to moonwalk everywhere, they'll need new transportation — the battery-electric Lunar Rover the Apollo astronauts left up there probably won't start. Designers at the European Advanced Design Studio for Toyota and Lexus created a few potential, and yes, fanciful, craft for getting around our satellite for Document Journal magazine's The Lunar Design Portfolio. The artwork joins a collection of articles by culture critics, philosophers, architects, and more about the issues confronting humanity's return to the mistress of tides. Out of the seven concepts, the Lexus creation chosen to appear in the issue is Karl Dujardin's Zero Gravity, which turns the automaker's spindle grille into a single-seater moto-like hovercraft capable of doing 310 mph. The Bouncing Moon Roller by Julien Marie attaches a wheel-like stabilizer to a gyroscope cell protected by a flexible graphene nanotube bubble meant for hopping over the terrain, whereas the Lexus Lunar Cruiser by Keisuke Matsuno serves land and sky by having wheels that can flip out 90 degrees to serve as ducted fans powering a drone capsule. Jean-Baptiste Henry's Lexus Cosmos isn't for the surface at all, with a Lexus mothership and Moon Explorator capable of solar system travel. The glass construction of the observatory in the Moon Explorator allows "group experience contemplation [of] Zero G," and there's even a "space swimming pool." The Mothership awaits a role in the next installment of A Space Odyssey, a glossy habitat for whatever life forms succeed humans. Astronauts might be able to launch from the mothership in the Lexus Lunar Mission craft designed by Yung Presciutti, using wings shaped like spindle grilles. Because all work and no play makes Jack a dull boy even in space, the Lexus Lunar is a 6x6 "massive transport vehicle designed to explore and discover the moon safely," meaning it can haul a few Moon Racers — both of which are also Presciutti's work — a different kind of single-seater craft made to "jump, climb, race, and discover" the light and dark sides of the moon.
The students at Nihon Automobile College (NATS) put together some pretty wild custom cars for each year's Tokyo Auto Salon. Perhaps the most attention-grabbing this year is what looks like a 2020 Toyota Supra. It features the bold orange paint scheme of the famous fourth-generation Supra in The Fast and the Furious. It even gets the fourth-generation Supra's revered 2JZ inline-six. But this heavily Supra-inspired car is not what it seems. This is actually a Lexus SC430, the luxury retractable hardtop convertible from the mid-2000s. The main tell is the interior, which features a dashboard that clearly was built years before the A90 Supra. Of course there's also the fact that this is a convertible with a well-finished windshield header. And as you look closer, you'll notice that details such as the hood vents and the vents on the doors look just a little off compared with the real thing. That's not to diminish the work done, here — the attention to those little details is impressive. Besides the Supra conversion, Fast and Furious paint job and the addition of a turbo 2JZ engine, the students at NATS added several other modifications. The modern Supra body parts have been augmented by the Pandem widebody kit that's been popular on new Supras at both SEMA and Tokyo Auto Salon. Inside, it has racing seats and massive nitrous tanks. Take it all in as you scroll through the image gallery above.