Wanted: a not so bland replacement for the CT200h.
It’s hard to forget something that looks like the Lexus UX, a subcompact crossover concept that debuted at the 2016 Paris Motor Show. While most concepts feature more outlandish styling than any potential production versions, the UX is, of course, a Lexus. As we were recently reminded at Detroit, that aggressive styling is here to stay. Car Magazine is now predicting Lexus will unveil a UX production version this March at Geneva, and chances are that styling will only be slightly toned down.
It actually makes complete sense for a production version because the sub-compact crossover segment, both luxury and non-luxury, is heating up. For example, there’s the BMW X1 and Audi Q3. Why would Lexus allow itself to be left high and dry when there’s money to be made? If the production-spec UX was greenlit, expect for it to ride on the same platform as the Toyota C-HR. Lexus is also looking to fill the void in its lineup recently left by the now discontinued CT200h. The UX would essentially serve as the brand’s new entry-level model. At the other end of this segment, is the possibility of an upcoming three-row crossover. This was just previewed a couple of weeks ago at Detroit with the LF-1 Limitless Concept.
If that were to make production, unlikely before 2020, then it would serve as the Lexus crossover flagship. During our recent conversations with Lexus, more than one official admitted the sedan segment is suffering because of crossovers, so the brand will adapt accordingly. This does not mean Lexus will toss in the towel for its sedans, but more niche models, mainly the RC and RC F coupes, could have a more unclear future. However, Lexus also told us an LFA successor is still a very real possibility. The LC is the Lexus halo car at the moment, but eventually it’ll need to be replaced. As far as the UX crossover goes, expect to see teaser images arrive very soon if that Geneva debut is indeed planned.