Sub-UX Lexus SUV speculated as an elevated Toyota Yaris Cross

The Lexus UX may not be where Lexus draws the line for an entry-level product. Citing Japan’s scoop magazine Mag-X, a report from Lexus Enthusiast claims that a Lexus hybrid SUV positioned below the compact Lexus UX could be in the pipeline. This model will likely ride on a modified Yaris Cross platform and be one of the more than ten new electrified Lexus cars announced to launch by 2025.

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. At that time, it wasn’t clear if the successor was a hatch or an SUV, but now, Japanese media has received clarity. Pascal Ruch, the Head of Lexus’ European division, reportedly confirmed a model below the Lexus UX during that year’s 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.

Design & Specs

As indicated in our exclusive rendering, the sub-UX Lexus hybrid SUV, going by Best Car‘s sources, is related to the Toyota Yaris Cross. The sub-UX Lexus hybrid SUV would have a completely different design at the front and rear to be unmistakably Lexus, but the sides could be identical, with just different alloy wheels. Expect some distinctive paint options as well, aimed at giving a more luxurious road presence.

Measuring 4,180 mm (164.6 inches) in length, 1,765 mm (69.5 inches) in width, and 1,590 mm (62.6 inches) in height, the Toyota Yaris Cross is a sub-compact SUV. The B-segment model has a wheelbase of 2,560 mm (100.8 inches). Best Car expects the Lexus offshoot as a slightly longer and wider car, which would duck under the UX.

The Yaris Cross is available globally with the 120 kW (118 hp) M15A-FKS 1.5-liter gasoline engine and a THS II hybrid system w/o E-Four electric 4WD system. The hybrid powertrain employs the M15A-FXE 1.5-liter gasoline unit, with total power is 85 kW (114 hp). The Lexus version may feature a more powerful hybrid powertrain with the 1.8-liter four-cylinder gasoline engine.

Limited Availability

The sub-UX Lexus isn’t coming to the U.S. and Canada, and likewise, we are not sure of the worldwide availability of a sub-UX Lexus car. 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 electrified urban SUVs that are premium and affordable.

Historically, Lexus SUVs have been luxury offshoots of Toyota models and follow two-three years later. The same formula could apply to the smallest Lexus SUV. The Toyota Yaris Cross is available in Europe, Asia, and Oceania, and these regions could be the first to receive the Lexus twin.

In markets like Japan and European countries, where small SUVs are big sellers, the Lexus hybrid SUV derived from the Toyota Yaris Cross could become a major contributor. The new entry-level Lexus model may arrive in 2023, says the Japanese publication, based on the usual time gap between the past Lexus and Toyota models.

Launched on August 31, 2020, in Japan, the Yaris Cross is quite popular and outperforming Toyota’s sales projection. Toyota had planned to unveil the Yaris Cross at dealerships on September 26-27, 2020, and expected a modest monthly sale of 4,100 units. Monthly sales have exceeded 6,700 units consistently since the launch, even registering 10,000+ units. In Europe, production of the Yaris Cross started at Toyota’s factory in Valenciennes, France, just earlier this month, on July 5, 2021. The launch will take place in August.

Lexus electrification strategy

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.

Entry-level Lexus hybrid SUV FAQs

What is the sub-UX Lexus hybrid SUV release date?

As per Best Car, Lexus could showcase the sub-UX hybrid SUV in Fall 2022 and launch it in 2023.

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

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