The marketing people over at Lexus need to understand the reason why most European buyers will not switch from Mercedes, BMW, Audi to buying a Lexus is because those types of affluent buyers are pocket racists. The marketing data doesn’t reveal sub-conscious racism buyer intent. So to pique the interests of Europeans and to increase its annual revenues in the region Lexus has released the LBX sub-compact SUV.
The Lexus LBX is akin to Dacia attempting to create a high-end, luxurious sedan. The reality is that the LBX sits on the Toyota Yaris Cross platform. It uses the same 3-cylinder 1.5-litre petrol hybrid engine that is tuned to deliver 134 hp (100 kW / 136 PS) and 185 Nm (136.5 lb-ft) of torque, slightly more power than the Yaris Cross.
The LBX’s power is transmitted through a CVT gearbox and amplified by either two or three electric motors, depending on the model. These motors act as electric turbo boosters, enabling a rapid and potent acceleration from a stationary position.
Regarding the interior, the LBX offers a more luxurious and upscale experience compared to the Yaris Cross. It boasts full digital instrumentation and infotainment, as well as a leather interior. Standard equipment levels will be notably higher compared to other competitors. It’s a Lexus after all.
Lexus engineers have diligently ironed out the Yaris Cross handling, replacing it with qualities that are more in line with Lexus standards. The FWD versions use torsion beam suspension, which is not ideal for controlling body roll. In contrast, the AWD versions feature a top-of-the-line double wishbone suspension setup.
We’re sure the Lexus LBS will have a ton of standard equipment, safety features and digital connectivity. But it looks so bland, like something Sterile Corporate Monolith Stellantis would conceive, that it doesn’t fit into the current Lexus design language.
The Lexus LBX reminds me of the Toyota-based Aston Martin Cygnet. Aston Martin produced the Cygnet in order to meet emission regulations. A few years ago, during a visit to their factory headquarters, I noticed that the Cygnet was on display, but it was discreetly out of view placed behind a large pot of flowers.
Anyway, the Lexus LBX is a Europe-only SUV, ordering opens in July with first deliveries expected in Q1 2024. Prices are expected to start from £35,000.