Purported Lexus LBX/LBZ teased in official presentation [Update]

The Lexus UX will not be where Lexus 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 that have emerged since said that the 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. However, this does not confirm their imminent appearance.

Design

Toyota revealed 16 upcoming 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 LBX.

Lexus LBX Sub-Lexus SUV teaser
The sub-UX crossover (Lexus LBX) will debut a new Lexus design language. Image Source: Toyota

If the newly-released teaser of the Lexus LBX 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 traditional spindle grille or perhaps it’s a new interpretation of the spindle grille 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.

Next-gen Lexus GX next-gen Lexus ES teaser
The sub-UX Lexus SUV would share some design elements with the next-gen Lexus GX and next-gen Lexus ES. Image Source: Toyota

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, too.

A Lexus CT successor?

The sub-UX Lexus 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. 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 that the LF-SA was a design study meant to explore future urban driving.

Limited Availability

The sub-UX Lexus may not be arriving in the U.S. as the market demands here are different from the rest of the world. However, one thing is certain. 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.

Toyota E3 Platform

A report from Automotive News Europe says that Toyota is developing a new Europe-focused vehicle platform that supports full-hybrid, plug-in hybrid, and pure electric powertrains. It will merge elements of the GA-C platform (from the TNGA family) and the new e-TNGA dedicated EV platform. The company plans to manufacture the Toyota E3 platform-based cars in the UK and Turkey, beginning in the second half of the decade. The report doesn’t offer guidance, but the E3 platform should spawn a few global Toyota and Lexus models as well.

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 be electrified either partially or entirely by mid-decade.

As the Japanese luxury automaker prepares for the future, it has laid out plans for 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 from the second half of the decade.

Lexus LBX/Lexus LBZ FAQs

What is the sub-UX Lexus SUV release date?

Lexus could launch its entry-level car in the next couple of years.

Which models will be the sub-UX Lexus SUV competitors?

Lexus’ small SUV will compete with the Audi Q2 and the DS 3 Crossback.

Featured Image Source: Toyota