Until recently, the CT 200h was the smallest Lexus ever and in the Netherlands it also holds the Lexus sales record. The luxury brand also has big plans with the even more compact Lexus LBX, which stands for Lexus Breakthrough Crossover. The question is how realistic they are.
Don't tell a Lexus salesperson that the Lexus LBX is just too expensive Toyota Yaris Cross with caps. Because then you can whistle at the coffee 'that was already ready' and if you're lucky, you just avoid being thrown out of the showroom. Both cars use the same GA-B platform, but they were not developed together. The fact that this is not a bluff can also be seen from the dimensions.
The Lexus is 2 centimeters longer and no less than 6 centimeters wider than the Toyota. The track width and wheelbase have also been stretched. This makes the Lexus LBX look more mature and tougher than the Yaris Cross. In addition, Lexus has paid extra attention to the torsional stiffness of the body and sound insulation. As a final touch, the suspension has also been adjusted.
While other Lexus models stare menacingly at you with their oversized, thick-rimmed ones spindle grille, the thing is incorporated into the design more harmoniously with the LBX. As far as we are concerned, this is progress.
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All LBXs have the same hybrid powertrain. A 1.5-liter three-cylinder works together with an electric motor. Collectively they generate 136 hp, allowing the LBX to sprint to 100 km/h in 9.2 seconds and reach a top speed of 170 km/h. Anyone who ever drives through a puddle can order the LBX with four-wheel drive. Then you get a second electric motor in the back that drives the rear wheels. The second humming toll does not provide extra power. In fact, the extra weight takes him 0.4 seconds longer to complete the hundred sprint. A caravan is difficult with both 2WD and 4WD. The maximum towing weight in both cases is only 750 kg.
We think the exterior of the Lexus LBX is a success. Moreover, we think it is positive that Lexus supplies the car in four striking colors. The brochure not only contains the usual but unexciting 50 shades of gray, white and black, but also ocher yellow, blue, dark red and a chic copper color. Yet the smallest Lexus ever is just like a human being, because true beauty lies within.
The interior differs completely from that of the Yaris Cross and is dominated by sleek lines and beautiful soft materials. The basic version of the LBX is fairly fully equipped, including climate control, a reversing camera, 17-inch alloy wheels and an infotainment system with smartphone integration and voice control. The always included Lexus Safety 3+ system includes adaptive cruise control, lane keeping assistance and traffic sign recognition.
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For the real Lexus pampering you have to rely on one of the four so-called atmospheres. For an additional cost of 4,500 to 6,500 euros, they all offer steering wheel and seat heating, climate control with two temperature zones, 18-inch alloys and various additional safety systems. We particularly like Safe Exit Assist. This prevents you from knocking cyclists behind you out of their saddles with the door or from having your Lexus door hitch a ride on the bonnet of a passing fellow motorist.
The distinction between the different atmospheres it's mainly in the decoration. Depending on the chosen version, you sit on a combination of black leather and gray artificial suede or cream white perforated artificial leather. However, we liked the high-quality cognac-colored leather from real cows in the Relax the most. To complete the premium experience, Lexus provides the dashboard and doors with partly the same materials as the furniture.
The front passengers in the Lexus LBX cannot resist touching all the beautiful materials they want. On the other hand, rear passengers are quickly bothered by intrusive front seats. In other words: it is a tight spot for adults in the back seat. Lexus itself knows this and that is probably why they have made the entry to the rear extra tight. So every right-thinking adult will never consider trying to squeeze in.
We drive the first part of the test route through the center of Valencia, southern Spain. The road surface is characterized by countless manhole covers and pockmarked asphalt also contributes to the bouncing bag. A co-driver who has taken a seat next to you blindfolded on the soft leather could fool you by saying that he or she is in a Lexus LS sit. But on this road surface, the LBX chassis immediately dismisses you as an impostor. Short bumps are clearly transmitted and sometimes we even hear a slight resonance. Fortunately, longer bumps such as speed bumps are processed smoothly.
We hardly hear the engine in the city. When merging onto the highway, however, the stepless transmission cannot disguise its time-honored character. The three-cylinder engine is then audibly revved up. It is not terribly annoying, but you expect more refinement from a Lexus - even if it is a small one.
The first LBXs will probably be in the showrooms of Dutch dealers at the end of March. The question is whether this also includes cars in the basic version (from 35,995 euros). The importer expects the most from the atmospheres. We agree with that, because only then do you get the feeling of being in something special in terms of decoration. Although you can also spruce up the cheapest Lexus LBX a bit with various fun packages. The simplest is the Comfort Pack (1195 euros), which upgrades the equipment with, among other things, a rain sensor, seat heating and automatically folding exterior mirrors.
If you want more equipment and atmosphere on board, you should order at least the LBX Elegant for 40,495 euros. For the Emotion you pay 40,995 euros, for the Relax and the Cool the price tag is 41,995 and 42,495 euros respectively.
With the LBX, Lexus Netherlands wants to double sales figures from around 600 to 1200 units. That will certainly work, because the car has enough qualities to convince customers who want something small but nice. The attractive looking exterior and interior make a good first impression and that is simply worth its weight in gold. Another convincing purchasing argument is the 10-year (!) manufacturer's warranty. In the Netherlands up to a maximum of 200,000 kilometers - generous.
I'm almost over the line myself. And then we haven't even mentioned the extensive safety equipment and the favorable fuel consumption. During the tough test drive I scored a neat 1 out of 19.2, but that can be even more economical in the Netherlands.
Should I run to the Lexus dealer then? Well no. The legroom in the back is really too tight. And given the high asking prices and the premium expectations that Lexus simply creates, I find the refinement of the drivetrain and chassis disappointing. A shame, because the steering, torsional stiffness and road holding are remarkably good. But all in all, I would take another look around.
For example, how much does a richly decorated Renault Captur E-Tech Hybrid? And what does a fully electric one offer? Volvo EX30 premium experience? With such strong competitors, it seems difficult for the Lexus LBX to come even close in terms of sales results Lexus CT 200h. But yes, it also had the fiscal climate.
This post was last modified on December 20, 2023 11:29 pm
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