Posts tagged with "Alexa"

Home Entertainment System illustration by Heather Skovlund for 360 Magazine

Three Ways To Amp up Your Home Entertainment

Your home should be the place you are most comfortable. On top of that, if you’re the kind of person who loves to entertain guests, you want your home to be a place where others can not only be comfortable but have a memorable experience. Here are three things you can do to create a home where you can maximize entertaining others or simply allow yourself to really unwind. 

1. Audio Is Everything 

When you think of an entertaining event, is it possible to think of one that’s totally silent? One reason people love seeing movies in theaters is because the surround-sound audio seems larger than life. When you attend concerts, nothing gets your blood pumping quite like feel the bass resonating in your chest cavity. Whether you aim to entertain with a great home theater or with quality parties, your home audio Nashville must be top-notch. Watching movies is one thing; experiencing them is another. 

2. Drinks Must Be on-Hand

Any good event has interesting drinks available. That doesn’t even mean they have to be alcoholic — having a unique craft soda available can add a unique element to a get-together. Make sure the space you’re hosting parties in has drinks nearby. You might want to have a mini-fridge stocked in the basement, or you could even use an everyday cooler. However it’s done, the point is to make sure nobody has to ask for a drink or question where they might be. 

3. Lighting Is the Cherry on Top 

Going to a friend’s house for some drinks is a party, and parties are great. However, the difference between a party and an event is the ambiance. Imagine going to the exact same event, but their living room has been rearranged and they’ve hung up some interesting lights to create a completely different atmosphere. You are bound to remember that event more than the other everyday parties you’ve attended recently. 

You can accomplish unique lighting in many different ways, and most of them are very simple. The easiest is to buy some string lights that simply plug into your outlets. They can easily be hung temporarily and stored for later use — it shouldn’t take any longer than 10 minutes to set them up every time. You can even experiment with using various colored bulbs in your existing fixtures. You don’t have to go crazy, but just doing something a little different will make a big difference. 

It doesn’t take much to make a party stand out. If you have a quality sound system, you’ll already be leaps and bounds above the average event that has TV speakers or a run-of-the-mill stereo. Just like going out to eat, your friends will be happy if they never have to ask for a refill on their beverage, and you can really make the event memorable by changing the atmosphere. Don’t think you have to do all of this for other people, though — doing all of these same things for yourself will make for an incredibly relaxing night in. 

Room Makeover illustration by Heather Skovlund for 360 Magazine

Spruce Up Your Space

By: Carly Cohen × Vaughn Lowery

It’s time to spruce up your space. Giving your home a makeover is all about being resourceful and strategic. Let’s take a look at a handful of makeover tips to get you pointed in the right direction. We’ve listed the top efficient tips to give your space the ultimate makeover!

Get Organized

Being organized is key to having a well-put-together space. Waking up every morning and before going to bed every night, look around and pick up anything or everything that isn’t where it is supposed to be and put it in its designated spot. Purchasing storage organizers and matching bins are an easy and effective way to keep the space clean. There are so many shops with affordable and aesthetically pleasing organizers such as Marshalls, HomeGoods, Target, Amazon, and any home stores that they can think of. Designate a time out of the day to a particular spot in the space and focus on that space until it looks brand new. Once it reaches that clean and organized look, all that needs to be done is make it a habit to keep it that way.

It’s Time to Say Goodbye

Some clothes haven’t been worn in 3 years, or a kitchen filled with appliances that will never be needed or will never be used can be hard to get rid of sometimes. But please do get rid of it. Make a rule to his or herself while decluttering: “if I haven’t touched it in a few years, I need to get rid of it.” Getting rid of unnecessary products or appliances can help space feel ten times better. Getting rid of things can be challenging for some people, but once it is accomplished, they won’t look back. It will be refreshing to look around the space and only see things that are constantly needed and used and not having to worry about excess items.

Figure Out Your Style

There is no need to rush the process when changing the home or moving into a new space. It’s exciting, so sometimes people buy the first items they see without thinking about it for a little bit. It’s key to figure out his or her style because when they are surrounded by things that make them calm, happy, excited, the energy will radiate off of the environment they are in. If they love color and bright settings, but the place is dark and grey, they will feel that energy without realizing it. If they feel calmer in a spa-like environment with whites and plants, but the home is dark wood and blacks, the same thing happens, it will radiate the energy they are surrounded by. This is why it is so essential figuring out what spaces that give that calm and happy feeling. There are budget-friendly and not-so-budget-friendly ways to provide him or her what they are looking for. Either way, it is possible and crucial if this is the place where they go to bed at night and wake up in the morning.

Accessories

Accessorizing is the best part of updating a space. Accessorizing can be so fun and customizable. A popular way of accessorizing is candles and plants. There are so many candles out there that are incredible decorations and smell amazing, and who wouldn’t want their house to smell amazing? Places to look at for unique and lasting candles could be Anthropology, Nest, Le Labo Santal, and Chester Candle Company. Having plants (real or fake) bring in calming nature and awakens space. If they are into the music, they can create a section for the records and wall art of favorite artists. If they are into statement pieces of art, they can purchase beautiful pieces from the Pastel Paradise line through Desenio. If they are into fashion, they can purchase a clothing rack and place favorite pieces on display. If they love to host, make a bar cart and decorate it with sleek bottles and vintage glass wear. There are so many unique ways to accessorize to his or her liking.

Make it luxury without breaking the bank

Celebrities always have the most unique, modern, and fascinating homes, but it can be costly to get them how they are. There are so many other ways to make the space look luxurious without spending too much. Going neutral and accessorizing with exciting and unique things is key. Making the walls, light fixtures, and furniture neutral and simple can allow them to have so much fun in other ways. They can add texture and patterns to spice it up.

Make those ceilings tall

A lot of homes and apartments have shorter ceilings which can make space feel smaller. When it comes to windows, a trick to know hang the drapes close to the wall rather than directly above the window. Doing this creates an illusion that the window is taller than it is.

Bring in sunlight

Whenever I get the chance, I open up my shades every morning and open a window to let the sunshine in and listen to the outdoor sounds. This makes my space feel so calming and always makes me feel better to breathe in some fresh air every day without going outside. Even on a rainy day, listening to the rain as background noise while sitting at home is always fantastic. This is a great and extremely easy trick that everyone can manage.

Make the space perfect with:

Computer illustration by Kaelen Felix for 360 Magazine

Echo Dominates Voice Assistant Market

20% of US Adults Own an Amazon Echo

The smart home technology industry has grown incredibly in the last decade with homes becoming more and more interconnected than ever before. The most popular smart home device by far is the smart speaker, with Amazon’s Echo dominating its competitors. According to data presented by Trading Platforms, 20% of Americans surveyed indicated owning Amazon’s Echo with Google Nest as its closest competitor at only 8%.

Smart Speakers with Voice Assistant Systems – Most Popular Smart Home Device

The smart home trend has been on the rise in recent years as more and more household gadgets become interconnected. The industry’s strength is reflected by revenue projections for 2021, with the smart home market projected to record just under $1 billion in revenue for the coming year. Smart speakers, specifically those with voice-integrated assistants like Amazon’s Echo, are the most popular form of smart home devices. It is estimated that in 2020 there were 128 million voice assistant users in the US with that number projected to grow to close to 136 million by 2022.

Of those who said they owned a smart home device in the US 28% indicated that they owned a smart speaker – the biggest share among the different types of smart home devices. This popularity is not limited to the US, similarly, in the UK 29% of smart home device owners owned a form of a voice-assistant smart speaker.

Amazon Echo Dominates Smart Speaker Market Competitors Google and Apple

Amazon’s Echo was first released in 2014 and quickly became the standard-bearer for the smart speaker market. The Echo makes use of Amazon’s voice assistant system, Alexa. In January 2019 the company announced that it had sold over 100 million Echo smart speakers, passing an important milestone. In a survey from Q3 of 2020, over 20% of 4000+ respondents in the US indicated that they owned Amazon’s Echo.

This number is even made more impressive by comparing it to its two main competitors, Google’s Nest (formerly Google Home) which uses the Google Assistant system and Apple’s HomePod which uses its Siri voice assistant system. In the same survey, only 8.1% indicated owning Google’s Nest while only 2% owned Apple’s HomePod. Amazon’s dominance over its two main competitors is even more apparent with a further breakdown of the smart speaker market share. 74% of 1000+ smart speaker owners in the US, owned the Amazon Echo, while in the UK a similar 77% of 600+ smart speaker owners indicated that they owned the Echo.

You can read more about the story with more statistics and information here

Lil Wayne – NFL

Lil Wayne released a brand new single Monday titled “NFL,” which features Gudda Gudda & HoodyBaby.

The new song is produced by Boi-1da and !llmind and will be the featured song as Amazon Prime takes over Thursday Night Football beginning this week when the Tampa Bay Buccaneers visit the Chicago Bears.

You can listen to “NFL” by clicking right here.

With the song comes a playlist for game days curated by Lil Wayne. It’s composed of 28 songs and includes his own music as well as songs from Roddy Ricch, 2 Chainz, Lil Baby and others. To hear the playlist, you can tell Alexa to, “Play Handpicked with Lil Wayne.”

Lil Wayne is coming off the release of the deluxe edition of “Tha Carter V“, a 33-song album which dropped Sept. 25. The album includes features from artists like Raekwon, 2 Chainz, Gucci Mane, Post Malone, Travis Scott, Nicki Minaj, Kendrick Lamar and more. He also released a brand new album in Jan. titled “Funeral.”

He recently hosted the highly-successful show “Young Money Radio” on Apple Music, which can be seen by clicking right here. Guests on the show included Dr. Dre, Drake, Eminem, Nicki Minaj, Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey, Dr. Anthony Fauci, Kevin Hart and more. You can see the show by clicking right here.

Lil Wayne is a five-time GRAMMY Award-winner. He founded Young Money Entertainment and is widely recognized, not just as a rapper, but as an author, a skater and a philanthropist.

With 15 million album sales and 37 million digital track sales in the United States alone, he is one of the best-selling artists of all time. His 2008 album “Tha Carter III” went triple platinum and won three GRAMMY Awards. He followed it up in 2011 with “Tha Carter IV,” which went double platinum. Both debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard Top 200.

He still owns and operates Young Money Entertainment, the label credited with the explosive careers of Drake and Nicki Minaj.

Sameer Gadhia – Point of Origin

Sameer Gadhia, frontman for platinum selling rock band Young The Giant, is set to launch Point Of Origin, a spotlight feature highlighting hand-picked, culturally-diverse, musical discoveries in the alternative space, airing regularly on SiriusXM’s Alt Nation (ch.36), starting today.

Gadhia explains: “By its very definition, alternative music is supposed to challenge boundaries by providing new and unheard possibilities. Though the sonic landscape is diverse, the limelight has cast a vastly monochromatic field. I am living proof that this is not so, and my aim is to illuminate artists who express the truest definition of what alternative is and should be by identifying what connects us all to our shared love of music. Through this platform, I want to create opportunity for artists of color and help foster a divergent narrative for today and tomorrow’s alternative music scene.”

Hosted and curated by Gadhia, Point Of Originwill focus on one artist over a two-week period by granting heavy, on-air exposure to one song from the artist. This will also be accompanied by commentary from Gadhia on the hand-picked artist and song. The first artist to be featured is Pennsylvania-native and a Pigeons & Planes New Artist to Watch in 2020, binki, who describes his sound as “packed with equal parts riotous funk, cavalier rap, with a bratty-rock swagger.” After creating buzz across the blog circuit, touring with Benee and Still Woozy, binki’s “Sea Sick” will garner its first national radio airplay as the first featured song on Point of Origin. For more information, visit www.pointoforigin.world.

Gadhia had been called “one of the great contemporary rock voices” by The New York Times, he is the son of immigrants from Ahmadabad, India, who came to the U.S. in the 80’s shortly before he was born. Issues of culture and diversity have been something he’s ruminated on for most of his life, both consciously and subconsciously. The band’s 2016 album Home of the Strange deliberately honed in on the modern American immigrant story, a theme that was especially relevant to the quintet as they’re each from different ethnic backgrounds with most being immigrants themselves or first-generation Americans. Gadhia wrote about balancing the two very different worlds of his ethnicity and nationality in an editorial piece for Salon (read HERE), and also had an in-depth conversation with NPR’s Ailsa Chang on the topic for “Weekend Edition” (listen/see HERE).

Young the Giant is currently writing and recording music for their next album, much of which was chronicled in the band’s “Song A Day” project which sees band members sharing music clips with each other over Instagram, culminating with a completed song each Saturday. Fans can watch the process in their Instagram highlights HERE.
SiriusXM subscribers can listen to Alt Nation (ch. 36) and other channels on SiriusXM radios, and those with streaming access can listen online, on-the-go with the SiriusXM mobile app and at home on a wide variety of connected devices, including smart TVs, devices with Amazon Alexa or the Google Assistant, Apple TV, PlayStation, Roku, Sonos speakers and more. The SiriusXM app also offers additional features such as SiriusXM video, Personalized Stations Powered by Pandora that listeners can curate themselves, and an On Demand library with more than 10,000 hours of archived shows, exclusive music performances, interviews and audio documentaries. Go to www.SiriusXM.com/streaming to learn more.

AI and Humans: Super Bowl Ads Explore Relationship

Voice Tech Zeitgeist: SuperBowl Ads Reveal Our Complex, Ever Evolving Relationship with AI

By Eric Turkington, RAIN

SuperBowl spots reveal barometers of what the world’s biggest brands think the American public wants to hear. And in 2020, perhaps more starkly than ever, SuperBowl ads telegraphed the complicated relationship we humans have with our AI counterparts.

SuperBowl advertisers often converge around common themes each year based on the prevailing sentiment from embracing nostalgia to championing social purpose to retaining our humanity amidst technological revolution. Striking about the several commercials that featured voice AI in 2020 was how different they were, with each revealing a distinct belief, fear or hope that we harbor about this technology as it becomes an ever more central in our lives.

Here’s a breakdown of wildly different takes I saw about the role of voice assistants at the dawn of a decade.

Amazon goes for humor to reinforce modern AI dependence. Amazon’s Alexa ad tapped
celebrity star power to explore a hypothetical: Real life couple Ellen and Portia wonder what life was like before Alexa. Clearly no expense was spared to imagine humorous takes on this question across a range of faux historical settings, from court jesters to bottle blowing musicians. The ad reinforces the notion of servility:

Alexa is the agent serving the human master while also overtly calling attention to the humanness of the voice assistants’ name (every vignette includes a person with a name that begins with A-L. This ad touches on two controversial questions in voice AI: First, should we be teaching our children to treat voice assistants as fundamentally less than human, worthy of subjugation of our every request? Secondly, was it fair to people named Alexa to have their names be co-opted by Amazon for a voice assistant positioned broadly in popular culture as a servant? Lauren Johnson, founder of Alexa, who is a human, certainly would have a thing or two to say here.

Google tugs at heartstrings by showing an emotional side of voice AI. Considered by many to be among the best of this year’s crop, Google’s “Loretta” tapped into the emotionally raw and relatable circumstance of dealing with a loved one’s death. A man uses Google Assistant–the name is never mentioned in the creative–to remember advice his wife gave him and to pull up memories of their time together. In contrast to Alexa’s portrayal, Google Assistant is playing the role of supportive companion and memorialist. This isn’t the subjugation of AI for menial tasks, but for an elevated purpose that augments the relationship we have with one another, whether living or dead.

Snickers raises that ole eavesdropping concern. Snickers used a generic voice assistant as one of many antagonists in a broader tableau of internet-gone-wrong. An older man sings “the surveillance state’s got a brand new trick,” to which a female voice assistant inside a speaker remarks, coldly, “I am not spying.” The moment was fleeting, but it’s nonetheless telling that the notion of spying smart speakers is a part of the dystopian tech narrative as selfie culture, sexting, and adult scooters.

Coca-Cola makes voice a tactical channel. Coca-Cola’s spot touting its new energy drink did not directly make reference to voice assistants, but Alexa has been among the biggest part of the launch campaign for the same product. Before the ad ran on SuperBowl day, Coke launched a large-scale sampling campaign and leveraged Alexa as a channel for consumers. Using the command “Alexa, order Coke Energy”, consumers would get a free sample of the new product, all which reportedly sold out before the game. While the ad creative was devoid of calls-to-action on Alexa, Coke made savvy use of voice as a sampling strategy to build buzz for the product before its big SB debut. Perhaps if they had a few (million) more samples on hand, they would have included an Alexa call-to-action at the end of the spot

Voice AI has become —and will be even more so — an indelible part of our culture. As voice is able to do more, the references to voice may well become less thematic and topical and even more practical and functional. Indeed, the promoted utterance might be the most prominent hashtag in 2021

Eric Turkington is the VP of strategic partnerships at RAIN, a firm specializing in voice strategy, design and development.

Vaughn lowery, mib: international, 360 magazine, Lexus, rc F, men in black

MIB: INTERNATIONAL F/ LEXUS RC F

Men in Black: International x Lexus

By Krishan Narsinghani × Vaughn Lowery

Lexus USA introduced a sexy new fleet of luxury vehicles (the 2020 RCF and RX F Sport) in Sony Pictures’ latest release, Men in Black: International, and 360 Magazine had the opportunity to attend the world screening in Los Angeles. This classic rebirth featured actors Tessa Thompson and Chris Hemsworth whizzing across the universe to fight off the villainous Hive. Subsequently, the duo are facing internal threats of their organization at the same time. MIB is action-packed, humorous and undoubtedly a family favorite – it sparkles!

After this film, you’ll definitely want to cop the heavily stylish RCF – not just for performance and technology – but because it’s bewitching. If looks could kill – WE DEAD!

Lexus NX 300 F Sport

By Jake Porter × Vaughn Lowery

Over the holiday season, we had the opportunity to traverse through NYC and the surrounding metropolitan areas with one of the auto industry’s most capable compact luxury SUVs. Due to its affordable base price, above average gas mileage, ergonomics and technology, the Lexus NX is an easy choice for many.

Value × Performance

Lexus carries a base price of $36,485 and features a 235-horsepower turbo-four engine, six-speed automatic transmission with front-wheel drive. Standard driver assistance features include a rearview camera, lane departure warning, lane keep assist, adaptive cruise control, automatic high beams, and a pre-collision system with pedestrian detection. In addition, one can add all-wheel drive for only $1,400. By upgrading to the NX F Sport (our model tested was approximately $49,000) the vehicle has select components to enhance handling, such as an F Sport-tuned suspension and Sport S and Sport S+ drive modes. Other features in this package include paddle shifters, aluminum pedals, special body panels and badges and front sport seats with enhanced bolsters for added side support. As far as acceleration capacity, the NX should easily offer enough power for the casual driver. The NX 300 (formerly known as the NX 200t) comes with a 235-hp turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine, a six-speed automatic, and front-wheel drive. G-force sensors and adaptive cruise control set this vehicle apart from the other SUV’s on the market today.

The NX’s safety features are also top notch and include eight airbags, whiplash-injury lessening front seats, and a full array of available electronic safety systems such as lane departure alert and intelligent high-beam. With all newer Lexus models, it also includes the highly specialized and technologically advanced Lexus pre-collision Safety System. These safety features combined bring the NX to the top of its class.

Interior

Standard features on the interior of the NX include an infotainment system with an 10.3-inch display screen, Siri Eyes Free, Bluetooth, a Wi-Fi hot spot, an eight-speaker audio system, and satellite radio. A wireless device charger and heads-up display are a couple of great additional features. Not to mention, those scarlet red race-inspired designer seats and red stitched dash appointments. Of course, climate control as well as heated seats and steering are always winners during the winter months.

Comfort

Given the already generous backseat room in the car, the NX also includes power-folding rear seats. Additionally, the cabin is extremely quiet even at highway speeds which is a great feature especially for long road trips.

Technology

Newly offered Alexa, allows the driver to stream Amazon music, listen to audiobooks and control their living quarters via smart-home. Other capabilities includes their smartwatch to help lock and unlock vehicle as well as monitors their lent model’s speed and fuel levels. One of their most important and intuitive features is Direction Assist, allowing a friendly human exchange with an operator who can input addresses into your navigation while you pay closer attention to the road. And of course in this digitally renovated world, having someone to speak to while on a solo trip can be conducive with driver’s fatigue. On the other hand, for those introverts seeking a quiet more therapeutic ride, they can utilize the remote touchpad to interact with the SUV’s overall cerebrum.

Conclusion

The Lexus NX 300 F Sport is one-of-a-kind. Even in a overly-crowded compact SUV market, the Lexus NX still manages to push through into the limelight. With its interior loaded with technology and its bold exterior turning heads on the streets, this is a great purchase for anyone looking for a sporty yet roomy modern SUV. Moreover, if you don’t like being at the pump every week and being able to fit in a small parking spot within a metropolis – this is a MUST-BUY.

Lexus NX, 360 MAGAZINE

Lexus nx, 360 magazine

Lexus NX, 360 MAGAZINE

Toyota Corolla hatchback, 360 MAGAZINE, vaughn Lowery

COROLLA HATCHBACK

By Alexandria Baiz × Vaughn Lowery

The 2019 Toyota Corolla Hatchback makes a design comeback, leaving a lasting impression with innovative upgrades and engineering. SE base model starts at $21,000 and the XSE somewhere in the ballpark of $24,000. Our midnight black souped-up model’s MSRP is around $27,000 and is fully stocked with 18-inch wheels alongside a massive back spoiler to add drama. With every pen stroke, the architects produced a dynamic, athletic yet sophisticated vehicle. The world’s best-selling car just got remixed. So, we promptly accepted the manufacturer’s offer to road trip it to Vegas to check out our favorite pop stars Tinie Tempah, Ellie Goulding, and Pitbull at the JBL Fest hosted by special guest Quincy Jones.

Different from former models, this version possesses a longer wheelbase. The black mesh honeycomb grille, emphasizes the evolution of the Corolla and its increased width. To provide better forward visibility, the hood is constructed to sit two inches lower than earlier. The rounded physique makes a simple, yet powerful three-dimensional landscape that is comfortable and pleasing to drive. Moreover, the interior quality is more delicate and stylish. The XSE stitching on dash and door is bold and fashion-forward. Thus, when we pulled up to the SLS Las Vegas Hotel & Casino all eyes were on us. Furthermore, the hatchback has technologically advanced features: three-door Smart Key system; Apple CarPlay; Amazon’s Alexa and 8-inch touch display screen. Other amenities include an 8-speaker JBL audio system (excellent for fist-pumping), 2 USB ports and a single-zone automatic climate control; a leather shift knob and paddle shifters behind the steering rack.

The Safety Sense 2.0 includes pre-collision warning with pedestrian, cyclist and roadside detection as well as dynamic cruise control and lane departure alerts. Alarms are popular amongst users, who enjoy a visual alert on infotainment screen and then a ringing alert if detection becomes more fatal. Seats empower comfort with updated cushioning which minimizes fatigue and also are great for cornering while in Sport Mode. Ideal access to the steering wheel, pedals, and gear shift are available with power adjustable seat.

The new fuel-efficient TNGA 2.0 liter four-cylinder, six-speed iMT (Intelligent Manual Transmission) makes it easier to maneuver on highways. The CVT (continuously variable transmission) at an additional $1,100 includes more power and miles per gallon. The CVT simplifies the stop and go action, boosts fuel economy and makes blind spot monitoring available.

While both SE and XSE receive LED headlamps/taillights, chrome rear diffuser, and alloy wheels, the XSE is more distinctive. The SE sports 16-inch wheels while XSE rocks 18-inch wheels (with a 33 mpg). Additional features include LED fog lights; chrome grille surround and Adaptive Front Lighting System (AFS). AFS matches the vehicle velocity and steering angle for the correct distribution of light – great for some of the darker strips in downtown Las Vegas. Behind the steering wheel, a 7-inch TFT Multi-Information Display (MID) which displays vehicle information, turn-by-turn navigation, and various vehicle settings: Lane Departure Alert, Lane Tracing Assist, Pre-Collision System with Pedestrian Detection, and Blind Spot Monitor.

The sport-tuned suspension paired with rallycross looks and Toyota technology makes the Corolla Hatchback perfect for buyers seeking an easy, affordable drive.

Pre-order Corolla Hatchback

360 MAGAZINE, Corolla hatchback, Toyota, Vaughn Lowery, bear Walker, skateboard

360 MAGAZINE, Corolla hatchback, Toyota, Vaughn Lowery

Toyota, Corolla, 360 magazine, hatchback

360 Magazine, Toyota, Corolla, hatchback, sls Las Vegas,  Vaughn Lowery, Chris Gates, Crystal Dominguez, lizza Monet Morales

LTR – Vaughn Lowery, Chris Gates, Crystal Dominguez, Lizza Monet Morales

Lexus UX, Vaughn Lowery, 360 MAGAZINE, Amazon headquarters, Seattle

LEXUS UX

By Alexandria Baiz × Vaughn Lowery

As of late, 360 Magazine had the opportunity to join Lexus in Seattle for an intimate ride and drive of their wholly-new UX SUV at the newly reimagined luxurious Loews Hotel 1000. This seaport city is home to both tech giants Microsoft and Amazon. With Lexus’s innovative track record for having unparalleled technology within their cabin, it was befitting that they brought us to the home of the Space Needle. Subsequently, this town is known to think outside of the box.

The 2019 Lexus UX takes a step into the future of modern luxury with its two most affordable and compact SUVs – the UX 200 and UX 250h. UX stands for urban crossover (x-over). The UX 200 will be released in December 2018 starting at $32,000 and the UX 250h will be released in January 2019 for around $34,000. Gearing towards an opulent compact car with an exterior design so specific, the UX has a signature three-dimensional shape that makes it different from its siblings.

The front has brow-shaped LED lights with optional ultra-small 3-projector LED units. Across the back of the boot, are an innovative wrap of three-dimensional LED lights which help with stability on the highways – a standout design element on the UX. The structure is built to mold into an everyday vehicle that is stable, perfect for urban use because it’s small and easy to park. We had no problem squeezing to the front of the Bainbridge ferry.

The 18″ 5-spoke aluminum alloy dark gray metallic wheels are proportional to the overall aesthetics of the vehicle. Available in a variety of twelve exterior colors, two of which are exclusive to the UX F Sport – Cadmium Orange and Nori Green. The Cadmium Orange includes a cherry base with yellow lowlights, making it appear vivid and adding tons of depth. Nori Green possesses bright highlights and dark contrast alongside of calm shades, drawing the color brilliant. Both of these colors are newfangled and daring for the Lexus brand.

The F Sport package is available in both the UX 200 and UX 250h model as well as has enhanced features and style which contributes to its name. This option comes in the two colors – Ultra White and Ultrasonic Blue Mica 2.0. The F Sport performance is exceptional, transforming the UX into a bespoke-like designer car with front sports seats, grille design, and jet-black trim.

The concept of UX stems from the versatility and adaptability this vehicle offers. With a seamless interior coupled with the Japanese concept of engawa offers a richer field of vision. Executed with a high-strength structure, placement of sound absorbing and insulating materials throughout, one can enjoy an extremely quiet ride.

The connection between driver and the vehicle is apparent with the “seat-in-control” concept. Entering and exiting is made easy with hip-point bottom cushions. 8-way power driver seats (including lunbar) allows the driver to operate with a comfortable yet natural posture.

All UX models are fabricated to ensure safety while driving. The Pre-Collision System alerts drivers of pedestrians, cyclists and other vehicles with a forward-facing camera and radar system. The LSS+ 2.0 system enhances this with specific light detection for different hours of the day. If the Pre-Collision System detects a high possibility of collision, an audio and visual alert will prompt the driver to take action. If the driver does not break at that point, the system may automatically apply brakes to help mitigate impacts. Dynamic Radar Cruise Control maintains a preset distance and operates between 0 to 110 mph. The Lane Departure Alert is extremely helpful with the Multi-Information Display (MID) the system can use forward-facing cameras to detect colored land marking illustrations. If the driver deviates from a visibly marked lane, the system alerts the driver with an audio and visual alert. In addition, the UX has an Electric Power Steering and Steering Assist. The Road Sign Assist can read a variety of traffic signs and will display them on the vehicle’s MID. Furthermore, Parking Support Brake uses braking control and visual warnings to reduce possible contact with moving objects while parking.

This Lexus is extraordinary with its high definition, intuitive technology, and overall performance. The UX includes a standard 7″ TFT (thin-film-transistor) LCD control panel while the UX F Sport features an 8″ TFT LCD panel design with a movable meter ring. By pressing a switch on the steering wheel, it moves to the right, enlarging the multi-information display. With the Lexus Remote Touch Interface, the 2019 UX feels as familiar as a smartphone. The most impressive tech feature is Amazon’s “Alexa” – which immediately connects you to play music; find directions; open your garage door on a rainy day; lock/unlock from a smart device and amongst other things control the lights in your home. The Lincoln Navigator is the only other vehicle in Northern America which offers Alexa. Moreover, additional driver connectivity features include Apple CarPlay, 4GB Wi-Fi Hotspot, Voice recognition for commands and the SiriusXM. The heads-up display allows drivers to focus more on the road and less on the infotainment unit.

The UX complies with the global trend of efficient gas mileage vehicles – UX 200 at 33 mpg (2.0- liter inline four-cylinder engine, similar to competitors but with less under-hood heat and lower weight for better vehicle balance). The UX 250h at 39 mpg, making it the wave of their next generation of hybrids. With 181 hp, the UX 250h is the fuel-efficient leader with the best-combined mpg of any CUV and/or SUV without a plugin NA.

In short, the Lexus UX 200 and UX 250h is a shoo-in for a ‘xennial’ buyer – a person who grew up in an analog environment and can easily adapt to present-day’s digital society. Just think of all of your friends and family members with a recent graduate degree or higher residing in a metropolis. Most likely they have a high appreciation for the arts and take local trips within their surrounding area with one or more cronies and a small lap dog in tow.