Lexus' new compact crossover LBX to make NZ debut in 2024

The latest addition to Lexus' line-up, the LBX, offers New Zealand customers an accessible path to owning a luxury vehicle. Positioned just below the popular UX SUV, it serves as an entry-level option for the Lexus range.

Jun 8, 2023

Lexus says the overriding goal when developing the LBX was to design a vehicle which redefines the conventional notion of luxury cars and to go beyond the constraints of compact size to deliver a high-quality driving experience and design.

To achieve a true Lexus experience contained within a crossover frame, the Lexus GA-B compact class platform underwent a comprehensive renewal, accompanied by refinements in electrification technology and core engineering characteristics. In pursuit of an engaging driving experience, the aim was to create a car which provides for an "everlasting desire to stay behind the wheel", and providing comfort that puts a smile on the faces of its passengers.

Vice President of Lexus New Zealand, Andrew Davis, says the LBX embodies a ‘Premium Casual’ approach to the crossover market.

“The Premium Casual design philosophy establishes a presence and level of refinement that far exceeds its class. The mission was to develop a compact crossover appealing to customers with sophisticated taste, seamlessly integrating into their everyday lives as a casual essential,” he says.

The new LBX, which stands for "Lexus Breakthrough X(cross)-over", has been meticulously crafted to challenge the conventional notion of a luxury car. Based on the desire to provide cars that align with each customer's lifestyle, the new LBX has established a new grade system. Taking customer feedback into account, the new grade system allows customers to select from three themes that best match their lifestyle and preferences.

The cockpit design is rooted in the ‘Tazuna Concept,’ an innovative concept that Lexus says elevates its "human-centered" philosophy to a new level.

Taking inspiration from the connection between the rider and reins of a horse, the steering wheel switches are seamlessly integrated with the heads-up display, enabling the driver to effortlessly operate essential functions like navigation and audio.

The centre display features a touch-enabled 9.8-inch screen, with a range of functions seamlessly integrated into the display through intuitive soft switches. With a focus on intuitive operation and the frequency of use for each function, careful attention was placed on the size, shape, layout, and display information to ensure optimal placement. A large 12.3-inch full LCD is used for the meter display on two of the grades, and improved instrument panel visibility creates a space conducive to driving.

The new LBX offers a highly efficient 1.5-litre inline 3-cylinder hybrid engine, a compact and lightweight transaxle with enhanced motor output, and a high-output NiMH hybrid battery.

The Lexus harnesses the performance of the engine, motor, and battery using extensive expertise in electrification technology. Battery and motor assistance in response to accelerator input has been significantly enhanced, resulting in minimal delay and a quick motor-like acceleration feel. The synchronisation of the engine speed, vehicle speed, and engine sound during acceleration results in a smooth and linear driving experience. The HEV system is precisely controlled to optimise efficiency, leading to outstanding fuel economy.

The exterior showcases dynamic proportions and a confident stance, complemented by Lexus' latest "Unified Spindle" front facial design.

A combination of a wide-stance body with short overhangs and flared treads, along with a compact cabin design that positions the front pillars towards the rear, creates a proportion with a sense of stability while maintaining a low centre of gravity.

The LBX is scheduled for delivery to New Zealand customers in the first quarter of 2024. Lexus New Zealand expects the LBX will represent around 15% of total Lexus sales. Customers are encouraged to express their interest with Lexus of Auckland City to secure a priority order.