The upcoming Euro-7 emission regulations will only complicate things further, to the point that Volkswagen said that selling small cars would not make sense. Complying with the new rules will require significant investments that are not easy to offset in the case of a small car. And yet, Lexus has the audacity, or should we say recklessness, to launch the LBX small crossover in these adverse conditions.
The LBX is built on Toyota's TNGA GA-B platform, which also underpins the Toyota Yaris Cross. Powered by a 1.5-liter three-cylinder hybrid powertrain, the Lexus LBX features a new bi-polar nickel-metal-hydride (NiMH) battery that is lighter and smaller than regular NiMH packs. It also allows for faster charging and discharging, making it ideal for the LBX.
Unlike the Yaris Cross, the Lexus LBX uses a balancer shaft for a more refined operation worthy of the luxury brand. With a total of 134 horsepower and 185 Nm (137 lb-ft) of torque, it propels the LBX from zero to 100 kph (62 mph) in 9.2 seconds in the front-wheel-drive version. Lexus intends to also offer an E-Four, all-wheel-drive version sporting an additional electric motor on the rear axle.
Design-wise, the new crossover marks the redesign of Lexus's spindle grille, which stops the trend of ever-increasing grilles in other Lexus models. This changes the design theme significantly without losing touch with the brand's design language. The LBX was developed with European customers in mind first and foremost, and that is visible. Still, it will also be sold in Japan and other markets.
Even though it will be the entry-level model in Lexus's lineup, the LBX is a feature-packed car. The dashboard features a 12.3-inch digital instrument cluster and a 9.8-inch infotainment touchscreen. An optional head-up display is also offered, while a Mark Levinson high-end sound system rounds up the feel-good package. Regarding driver assistance technology, the Lexus LBX counts on the comprehensive Advanced Preventive Safety Technologies Lexus Safety System Plus.
The Lexus LBX will enter production this year, with sales in Europe and select markets planned for early 2024. The prices will be announced in October when customers can order the crossover. Lexus wants LBX to attract new customers to the brand, especially the younger, tech-savvy clientele.