Lexus on Monday revealed its smallest vehicle yet, a subcompact crossover designed primarily with Europe’s tight urban centers in mind.
It’s called the LBX, and Lexus hasn’t said whether it will be sold in the U.S., though given its diminutive size there’s slim chance the vehicle will appear in local showrooms. It measures 165 inches long, or 12 inches shorter than the UX.
Against the current trend of EV powertrains, the LBX has arrived with hybrid power exclusively. There’s only one powertrain at present, a 1.5-liter inline-3 mated to a single electric motor for a combined 134 hp. Drive goes to the front wheels only, but Lexus is thought to be readying an all-wheel-drive option with a second electric motor to power the rear axle.
Underpinning the LBX is the TNGA-B platform from parent company Toyota. The platform also underpins the Toyota Yaris Cross, which is a close relative to the LBX and is limited to markets outside the U.S.
With the LBX, Lexus will be able to target buyers seeking a small car but not willing to skimp on the comfort and features normally reserved for larger vehicles. As a result, the LBX features, either standard or available, premium items such as a large infotainment screen, a head-up display, and multiple driver-assist features.
Lexus said it also focused on sound and vibration suppression to deliver a quiet and relaxing experience inside, which isn’t usually the case for vehicles of this size category.
A high level of personalization also isn’t usually found in this class. Here too the LBX is unique thanks to a Bespoke Build option that will let buyers choose their interior colors, seat materials, embroidery patterns, and more. Lexus said there will be roughly 330,000 potential combinations.
Detailed specifications will be announced closer to the market launch late this year. The first markets have been confirmed by the automaker as Europe and Japan.
While the U.S. will likely miss out on the LBX, Lexus has two new SUVs headed to local showrooms shortly. One is a redesigned 2024 GX and the other is a new three-row SUV to be called the TX. The GX will be a twin with a redesigned Toyota Land Cruiser Prado sold overseas, while the TX will be a twin with the new 2024 Toyota Grand Highlander.
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