Lexus has taken the veils off the all-new LBX, its smallest SUV offering which is exclusively offered with a hybrid powertrain. The model is basically Lexus’ version of the Toyota Yaris Cross, and will be available in European, UK, and selected global markets from early 2024.
The LBX moniker originates from the initials Lexus Breakthrough Crossover, signaling it will be a very important model for Europe where the model was developed. Lexus refers to the LBX as a compact SUV but it’s clear from the footprint that the model belongs to the subcompact segment (B-SUV), rivaling the DS 3. More specifically, the LBX measures 4,190 mm (165 inches) long, 1,825 mm (71.9 inches) wide, and 1,545 mm (60.8 inches) tall with a 2,580 mm (101.6 inches) wheelbase, making it incrementally larger than a Toyota Yaris Cross and 305 mm (12 inches) shorter than the Lexus UX.
The styling is different from the typical plurality of Lexus’s styling language. At the front, the spindle grille has evolved into an easier-to-digest central intake with a honeycomb pattern that fades out into the bodywork. The aggressive LED headlights on the edge of the short bonnet are connected via a thin trim piece, with the lower bumper intakes adding to the sportiness.
The profile adopts premium surfacing and discreet plastic cladding around the wheel arches, while the shiny black trim piece on the C-pillar looks like an extension of the greenhouse. At the back, the highlight is the full LED taillights inspired by sunglasses, emphasizing the tone-up rear shoulders. We can also see chrome accents around the faux bumper outlets, a rear spoiler, and no visible exhaust pipe.
Lexus put a lot of emphasis on personalization options. Buyers can choose between the entry-level LBX, the refined Elegant / Relax (monotone exterior, glossy 18-inch wheels), or the sportier Emotion / Cool (bi-tone exterior, machined 18-inch wheels), each one with a unique combination of upholsteries for the interior. Additionally, those who want something even more special can opt for the new Lexus Bespoke Build service which will be available in selected markets.
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Moving inside, the Lexus looks more upmarket and tech-filled compared to the mechanically-related Toyota thanks to features like the inclined center console, the ambient lighting, and the selection of premium upholsteries including semi-aniline leather, Ultrasuede, or vegan-friendly options. The cockpit combines a 12.3-inch digital instrument cluster, a head-up display, and a 9.8-inch touchscreen for the Lexux Link Connect infotainment, which is compatible with over-the-air updates, wireless Apple CarPlay, and wired Android Auto connectivity.
Safety equipment is quite generous for the segment thanks to the standard Lexus Safety System + ADAS suite. The optional Mark Levinson audio system has 13 speakers including a subwoofer. Lexus also takes pride in the NVH levels of the Lexus LBX with plenty of extra insulation. The cargo capacity is 332 lt (11.7 cubic feet) in the FWD variant and a little smaller in the AWD due to the extra hardware on the rear axle.
Hybrid-Only Power With AWD Option
The model is based on the GA-B architecture which has been “fundamentally adjusted to meet Lexus requirements” and is exclusively offered with a self-charging hybrid powertrain. The three-cylinder 1.5-liter petrol engine is combined with either two (FWD) or three (E-Four AWD) electric motors, an electronic CVT, and a NiMH battery pack. The combined output is 134 hp (100 kW / 136 PS) and 185 Nm (136.5 lb-ft) of torque. Interestingly, this is 20 hp (15 kW / 20 PS) and 65 Nm (48 lb-ft) more than the output of the Toyota Yaris Cross. Lexus claims that the 0-100 km/h (0-62 mph) acceleration is completed in 9.2 seconds. The FWD variants feature a torsion beam rear axle, while the AWD gets a more sophisticated double-wishbone setup.
Production of the Lexus LBX will commence in late 2023 with the first deliveries following in early 2024, mainly focused on European markets. In the UK, Lexus will start accepting orders this July, with the first batch of right-hand-drive LBXs set to arrive in March 2024. Australia is also a good candidate for being among the “selected global markets” for the Lexus LBX, although according to the company a decision “will be made at a later stage”.