Update: ‘A Lexus CT successor?’ and ‘Release Date’ sections updated and ‘TopElectricSUV says’ section added.
The Lexus UX will not be where Toyota’s luxury division draws the line for an entry-level product. Citing Japan’s scoop magazine Mag-X, a report from Lexus Enthusiast said in July 2021 that a Lexus hybrid SUV positioned below the compact Lexus UX could be in the pipeline.
Reports have emerged since claiming that Lexus could employ the LBX name for the newcomer. Toyota has filed and successfully registered ‘Lexus LBX’ and ‘LBX’ names as trademarks at multiple IP offices around the world. More recent reports have claimed this model will arrive as Lexus BX. However, Lexus continues to maintain silence on the rumors.
Our story is a compilation of the information reported on the compact Lexus over the last few years.
Toyota revealed 16 future Toyota and Lexus EV models in a press briefing on December 14, 2021. Along with pictures, it released teasers of a bevy of other upcoming Lexus models. On the extreme left of the lineup was a small car that could be the rumored sub-UX Lexus SUV, which the media now refers to as the Lexus BX or Lexus LBX.
If the newly-released teaser of the Lexus BX is any indication, this car will be lower and softer than the Yaris Cross. It appears to have a uniquely designed front fascia that gives it a distinct identity in the Lexus line-up. It doesn’t feature the standard spindle grille, or perhaps it’s a new interpretation of the spindle similar to what we see on more upcoming Lexus models pictured below.
The hood embellished with the Lexus logo is straighter than that of the UX and slopes gently into the grille section. A chrome strip between the headlamps splits the grille in the upper part, forming a sliver. The headlamps are narrower compared to those of the UX and don’t look as slim, but they still carry a bold design.
Citing a new Mag-X report, Wheels has reported that the BX could debut a new front-end design for Lexus. It could be Lexus’ first model to avoid the giant spindle grille. As per the Australian publication, the BX could feature a cleaner ‘bowtie’ appearance and full-width LED light strip.
From the sides, the new Lexus model looks low and sporty, almost like a hatchback. The beltline is nearly straight, and a ‘kick’ towards the end of the rear doors and a floating roof effect give definition to the sides. The pushed-out tail section and the muscular should area amplify the sportiness. The roofline gradually slopes down, ensuring that it doesn’t affect the headroom of rear passengers. The new shark-fin antenna is probably another element of the new Lexus design language, as we see it on the bigger Lexus SUV.
A Lexus CT successor?
With the calendar turned to November 2022, we know that stock of the Lexus CT is emptying out in the limited markets where it’s present. According to the announcement Toyota made for a ‘Cherished Touring’ special edition in Japan on March 3, 2022, Lexus CT production was scheduled to end in October 2022.
The Lexus BX hybrid SUV could be the indirect replacement for the Lexus CT hatchback that Autocar reported in May 2019. Pascal Ruch, Head of Lexus’ European division at that time, reportedly confirmed a model below the Lexus UX during the Geneva Motor Show. Former Lexus UK boss Ewan Shepherd, Autocar said, had also hinted that year to the British publication of the new entry-level car.
The last time that Lexus brought up the topic of a compact city vehicle was at the Geneva Motor Show in 2015, presenting the Lexus LF-SA concept. At that time, it came out that Lexus was not looking to send the car into production and was a design study meant to explore future urban driving.
Platform & Specifications
According to a report from Best Car, Lexus could release a new compact SUV based on the Toyota Yaris Cross’ GA-B platform. This could be the unnamed future Lexus model seen in the teaser. As per the report, Lexus may offer a 1.5-liter hybrid powertrain in the compact SUV. This electrified system will likely need to be more powerful than the 85 kW (114 hp) unit of the Toyota SUV to meet the basic performance levels customers expect from a Lexus vehicle.
The Lexus BX could hit the first market in 2023. It’s unlikely to come to the U.S., where customers are asking for much bigger models instead, like the rumored Lexus TX, for instance.
Global cities are becoming congested, and with that, traffic and parking are increasingly a challenge. The downsizing trend in cities will lead to luxury brands considering entry-level cars (some electric) to tackle these problems. Brands like Smart, Volvo, and MINI are developing premium electrified urban SUVs to fill the need. In markets like Japan and Europe, where small SUVs are big sellers, the compact SUV derived could become a major contributor to sales.
Lexus electrification strategy
Lexus wants an EV in all vehicle segments by 2030. It aims to have EVs account for 100% of its sales in North America, Europe, and China and increase its EV sales to one million units by then. Globally, it aims to go 100% electric in 2035.
According to an earlier announcement, Lexus plans to release 20 new or upgraded cars and more than 10 in the BEV, PHEV, and HEV segments by 2025. Every Lexus car, presumably including the flagship SUV Lexus LX, will get electrified either partially or entirely by mid-decade.
As the Japanese luxury automaker prepares for the future, it has planned new vehicle types like cars appropriate for chauffeur driving and models in entirely new categories. The company will inaugurate a new business and technology center in Shimoyama (Aichi prefecture, Japan) in March 2024 to speed up the planning and development of new products due in the second half of the decade.
Positioned below the UX, the BX would make Lexus a more accessible luxury brand. It’s likely to be a hatch-like crossover designed for urban customers in Europe and Asian markets. We doubt Lexus sees the potential for such a model in the U.S., where customers are demanding bigger models, including a proper three-row SUV as a replacement for the RX L.
Lexus BX FAQs
Featured Image Source: Toyota