Ok, just what the heck is the LBX? Lexus is taking us by surprise by releasing a couple of teaser images ahead of the new model's premiere on June 5 at a dedicated event in Milan, Italy. Toyota's premium division isn't saying anything else about the vehicle, but it's likely a Yaris Cross in a tuxedo. That might seem a bit confusing since the UX is already a petite crossover but an equivalent Lexus version of the Yaris Cross would be even smaller.
Indeed, a Yaris Cross is around 4,200 millimeters (165 inches) long whereas the UX is almost 4,500 mm (177 in), so on paper, the new LBX is small enough to not step on the UX's toes. The question is – should Lexus downsize yet again? You and I might say no since brand dilution is a fact, but subcompact crossovers continue to sell like hotcakes. In addition, we're fairly certain Lexus-ifying the Yaris Cross did not require a major investment on Toyota's part.
Rumors of an entry-level Lexus crossover have been swirling around the Internet since May 2020. Back then, reports stated it would be called a Citroën-esque "BX” but a subsequent trademark filling hinted at "LBX" being the final name. It will compete with the Audi Q2, although not for long as Ingolstadt's tiny premium is going away after a single generation. The BMW X1 and Mercedes GLA are more similar in size to the UX than this future LBX.
Riding on the TNGA-B platform shared with the Yaris supermini, the new Lexus LBX is expected to mirror the technical specifications of its mainstream sibling. Consequently, there should be a hybrid, all-wheel-drive version with a three-cylinder, 1.5-liter gasoline engine working with an electric motor to generate a combined output of 114 horsepower. 0 to 62 mph (100 km/h) takes 11.8 seconds in the Toyota-badged model. There's also a non-hybrid, front-wheel-drive model with the 1.5-liter engine delivering 123 hp to the front wheels via a six-speed manual or a CVT.
The teasers have been published by Lexus Europe, confirming the model will be available on the Old Continent. We wouldn't hold our breath for the LBX to be sold in the United States where the Yaris and Yaris Cross are not offered.