Lexus lbx

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Toyota hopes a smaller Lexus will lead to bigger sales. Can this plush take on the Yaris Cross indeed prove a ‘breakthrough crossover’?



The LBX may be the smallest Lexus yet, but it’s a big deal for the Japanese premium brand. In fact, its bold ambitions are hidden in plain sight in its name: LBX stands for Lexus Breakthrough Crossover.

For now, let’s skip over the pedant-bothering detail that this car is therefore technically called the Lexus Lexus Breakthrough Crossover and instead focus on the ‘breakthrough’ element.

This is the first compact premium car developed by the Toyota group (well, unless you count the Aston Martin Cygnet) and has a real focus on growing Lexus sales in Europe.

The brand expects the LBX to account for around a third of its total sales volume in the UK next year, instantly becoming its best-selling model and playing a key role in breaking through the barrier of 20,000 annual sales.

Bosses say the LBX is aimed at young urban professionals, suggesting this is a premium car you can feel comfortable driving in jeans and trainers – which makes us wonder if they think people put on tuxedos to drive their RZs.

We could also see it proving popular with existing Lexus owners looking to downsize.

The basics, then. The LBX is a premium-focused B-segment car, and for a new arrival in late 2023 it’s fairly novel: there’s no electric version planned, and by expanding into a smaller market, Lexus has bucked the ongoing trend of cars growing to the point that they barely fit on British roads any more. (We will conveniently forget the new supersized LM MPV for now…)

That puts the LBX into an intriguing spot in the market: its nearest direct rivals are probably the Audi Q2, which will be retired next year, and the DS 3, which hardly sells. It’s bigger than the Mini hatchback, smaller than the Mini Countryman. You could compare it to the new Volvo EX30, except that’s battery-powered and the Lexus is exclusively a hybrid.

Less charitably, you could also consider the LBX a blinged-up Toyota Yaris Cross. Underneath that stylish Lexus design and interior, both cars are based on the TNGA-B platform and feature the same 1.5-litre three-cylinder hybrid powertrain. 

The big difference is that you can get a Yaris Cross for £24,855. The LBX range starts at £29,995, with top-spec front-wheel-drive models reaching £39,545. Our Premium test car

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