Developed primarily for the European market, the Lexus LBX lands at the very bottom of the company's global range. It's a city-friendly crossover that's based on the Toyota Yaris Cross, a crossover not sold on our shores, and that comes standard with a hybrid powertrain.
At 164.9 inches long, 71.8 inches wide and 60.8 inches tall, the LBX is the smallest member of the Lexus range. For context, the smallest Lexus crossover currently sold in the United States is the UX, which measures 177 inches long, 72.4 inches wide and about 60 inches tall. Even the CT, the little hatchback that retired from our market after the 2017 model year, stretched about 6.4 inches longer than the LBX.
European-sized, the LBX — a name that stands for Lexus Breakthrough Crossover — should bring a new, younger set of buyers into the brand's showrooms. It features vaguely Yaris Cross-like proportions but it wears a look of its own that's characterized by angular headlights, a toned-down rendition of the familiar spindle grille, a light bar that stretches across the back end and an available two-tone roof panel.
"We have 'deconstructed' the spindle grille to make way for a new design. We've succeeded in creating a new front face identity that's completely different from before yet is instantly recognizable as a Lexus," explained Koichi Suga, the general manager of Lexus Design.
Inside, the LBX offers a refreshingly simple layout with a wrap-around dashboard, an available 12.3-inch digital instrument cluster and a 9.8-inch touchscreen for the Lexus Link Connect infotainment system. The list of standard and optional features includes leather upholstery, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility, a digital key that the owner can share with another driver, and a Mark Levinson sound system.
Power comes from a gasoline-electric hybrid powertrain that consists of a 1.5-liter three-cylinder engine, a nickel-metal hybride (NiMH) battery pack, and two motor-generator units. The system's total output checks in at 136 horsepower and 136 pound-feet of torque, and it spins the front wheels via a continuously variable transmission (CVT). All-wheel drive is available at an extra cost, and buyers who pay for it get an extra electric motor that zaps the rear wheels into motion. We're told that the engineers tuned the powertrain for "enjoyable performance" and that the LBX is capable of driving on electricity alone for short distances, though full specifications aren't available yet.
The sheet metal hides the modular GA-B platform, which also underpins several of Toyota's smallest models (such as the aforementioned Yaris Cross and the Europe-only Aygo X). Lexus notes that it "fundamentally adjusted" the architecture to meet its requirements, however.
Lexus dealers across Europe will begin receiving the LBX in early 2024, and executives expect the crossover will become one of the company's best-sellers across the pond. Pricing information hasn't been released, but nothing suggests the LBX will be sold in our market.
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