Lexus LBX Debuts As Brand's Smallest-Ever Vehicle

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The compact crossover has been designed for the European market. Will we see it in America?

  • The smallest-ever vehicle offered by the Lexus brand
  • Based on Toyota's TNGA-B platform
  • Available with a 1.5-liter three-cylinder hybrid engine
  • Highly customizable thanks to the Bespoke Build program
  • First Lexus designed for the European market

Lexus has revealed the all-new LBX, a compact premium crossover designed to tackle a fiercely competitive segment. It's a big step for the Japanese luxury brand, as the LBX is Lexus' smallest-ever vehicle - and the first to be designed for the European market.

The LBX is based on Toyota's GA-B platform (which also underpins the similarly sized Yaris Cross) but has been thoroughly reworked by Lexus engineers to provide a more refined and luxurious experience. Lexus hasn't shared much on the powertrain front but notes a 1.5-liter three-cylinder hybrid will be offered in the LBX.

No performance figures are available, but the engine produces 114 horsepower in the Yaris Cross. It's not very powerful, but the electrified three-pot is remarkably frugal and returns more than 60 mpg, based on WLTP estimates.

If you're wondering, LBX stands for "Lexus Breakthrough X(cross)-over." Curious about the rest of the range? Read our Lexus model name explainer here.

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Small Car Dimensions, Big Car Refinement

Underneath, you'll find a newly developed MacPherson front suspension setup. Lexus has gone with a larger caster angle which is said to improve straight-line stability, reduce understeer, and result in tidy handling through cornering. Depending on the driven wheels, the rear suspension differs. Front-wheel-drive models make use of a torsion beam, while all-wheel-drive versions use a trailing arm double-wishbone that also houses the rear motor.

Measuring just 164.9 inches in length, it's slightly longer than the Yaris Cross but 13 inches shorter than the UX Hybrid.

The LBX may be small, but it's still a premium vehicle. Lexus has gone to great lengths to reduce engine noise and cabin intrusions with an array of sound-suppressing efforts.

For example, a resonator was added to the air cleaner hose to lessen intake noise. There's also an additional layer of sound absorption material for the inner dash silencer, bringing the total layers up to three.

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Aerodynamic Design Benefits Efficiency

The exterior styling of the LBX represents a drastic change for the Lexus marque. While the front end hasn't been burdened with a massive Spindle grille, the LBX lacks the elegance of larger models from the brand, instead targeting younger fashion-conscious clients with a bit of cash in the bank.

LBX has been designed to be as aerodynamic as possible. The frameless grille and the low hood contribute to a smoother shape which, says Lexus, contributes to superior efficiency and aids ride and handling.

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Near Endless Scope For Personalization

Lexus has placed a big emphasis on personalization to lure individualistic and trendy young buyers. Five design themes are offered, and Lexus says the "Bespoke Build" ordering system has up to 330,000 potential combinations. A variety of funky colors, wheel designs, and interior finishes will be offered.

Customers can choose from nine exterior shades, including Sonic Chrome and Sonic Copper. Two-tone finishes will also be offered. Wheel sizes of 17- and 18 inches are available.

If the exterior doesn't scream Lexus, the interior certainly does. The cabin exudes the typical characteristics of the Japanese premium brand, with tasteful details and high-quality materials scattered throughout.

Access is gained via a digital key stored on a smartphone, which can lock and unlock the doors, and also start the engine.

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Interior Is Stylish And Sophisticated

The "Tazuna concept" has been applied to LBX interior design. This design ethos focuses on delivering a premium environment that allows occupants to relax and "enjoy a deep connection with the car." Whether that's just marketing drivel remains to be seen, but the cabin does look inviting.

A prominent portrait-style touchscreen (with 9.8 inches of usable interface) dominates much of the center console. It is supported by a 12.3-inch driver's display.

The five aforementioned design themes extend to the interior, too. "Cool" offers a modern and refined ambiance thanks to a mix of leather and Ultrasuede, highlighted by unique stitching and embroidery finishes. "Relax" makes for a suitably premium environment, thanks to semi-aniline leather in the classy Saddle Tan color.

Those seeking a sportier interior will go for "Active," which pairs red embroidery with black faux leather, while "Urban" features simple grey and black fabric. "Elegant" stands out from the crowd with classy satin-stitched embroidery.

With the Bespoke Build program, LBX buyers can select the color of the seatbelts, leather upholstery, stitch thread, and other exclusive trim upgrades.

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Is The Lexus LBX Coming To America?

The company says the vehicle will be introduced in the fourth quarter of 2023 in Europe, Japan, and other selected markets. Given America's dislike for smaller vehicles, it's unlikely the automaker has plans on bringing the LBX to our shores.

While Lexus USA has teased several new vehicles in the last while, including the Lexus TX and the new Lexus GX, the LBX was never teased via the North American press site or social media channels, leading us to believe there is no consideration to offer it stateside. Instead, the TX will be a large three-row crossover based on the Toyota Grand Highlander, while the new GX will be a body-on-frame off-roader sharing underpinnings with the forthcoming 2024 Toyota 4Runner.

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