The Lexus LBX was developed primarily for the European market, and is at the bottom of the company’s global range. It’s a city-friendly crossover based on the Toyota Yaris Cross, a crossover not sold on our shores, that comes standard with a hybrid powertrain.
At 164.9 inches long, 71.8 inches wide and 60.8 inches high, the LBX is the smallest member of the Lexus lineup. For context, the smallest Lexus crossover currently sold in the U.S. is the UX, which measures 177 inches long, 72.4 inches wide and about 60 inches high. Even the CT, the small hatchback that retired from our market after the 2017 model year, stretched about 6.4 inches longer than the LBX.
The European-sized LBX – the name stands for Lexus Breakthrough Crossover – is supposed to bring a new group of younger buyers into the brand’s showrooms. It has vague proportions similar to the Yaris Cross but wears a look of its own featuring angular headlights, a toned-down version of the familiar spindle grille, a light bar running across the rear end and an available two-tone roof panel. .
“We have dismantled the spindle grille to make room for a new design,” explained Koichi Suga, General Manager of Lexus. “We have succeeded in creating a new identity for the front face that is completely different from before and yet instantly recognizable as Lexus.” Lexus design.
Inside, the LBX offers a simple, pleasant design with a wraparound instrument cluster, an available 12.3-inch digital instrument cluster, and a 9.8-inch touchscreen for the Lexus Link Connect infotainment system. The list of standard and optional features includes leather upholstery, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility, a digital key that the owner can share with another driver, and a Mark Levinson sound system.
Power comes from a gasoline-electric hybrid powertrain consisting of a 1.5-liter three-cylinder engine, a nickel-metal hybrid (NiMH) battery pack, and two motor-generator modules. The system’s total output is 136 horsepower and 136 pound-feet of torque, and it turns the front wheels via a continuously variable transmission (CVT). All-wheel drive is available at an additional cost, and buyers who pay for it get an additional electric motor that drives the rear wheels. We’re told that engineers have tuned the powertrain for “fun performance” and that the LBX is capable of driving on electricity alone for short distances, though full specifications aren’t yet available.
The sheetmetal hides the modular GA-B platform, which also underpins many of Toyota’s smaller models (such as the aforementioned Yaris Cross and the Europe-only Aygo X). Lexus notes that it has “fundamentally modified the architecture” to meet its requirements.
Lexus dealers across Europe will begin taking delivery of the LBX in early 2024, and executives expect the crossover to become one of the company’s best-selling vehicles across the pond. Pricing information has not been released. Autoblog I learned from a Lexus spokesperson that the LBX will not be sold in the United States.