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Car reviews - Lexus - LBX


Space and performance limit the appeal of Lexus’ newly launched LBX cross-over

28 Mar 2024



LEXUS has launched its small hybrid cross-over, the LBX, in Australia with a starting price of $47,550 (plus on-road costs).


The Yaris Cross-based five-door light SUV is the smallest model in the Lexus range and the luxury lifestyle brands first B-segment SUV.


Following established Lexus model name convention, the LBX is available in Luxury or Sports Luxury, the former 2WD only while the latter is available in 2WD or more expensive AWD form.


The LBX is underpinned by the GA-B platform and measures 4190mm long, 1825mm wide and 1560mm high.


All LBX grades employ the same hybrid-electric powertrain teaming a 1.5-litre three-cylinder petrol engine with an electric motor generator and nickel-metal hydride battery.


All models share a 1.5-litre three-cylinder petrol engine, rated at 67kW at 5500rpm and 120Nm of torque between 3800-4800rpm, mated to a continuously variable transmission, and is joined by a electric motor producing 69kW/185Nm.


The hybrid battery has a nickel-metal hydride battery composition and s located underneath the rear seat. The Sports Luxury in AWD form adds an electric motor at the rear axle, which is a trailing arm independent design in place of the 2WD models’ torsion beam.


Peak combined output for the three-cylinder hybrid powertrain (in all models) is rated at 100kW, with combined fuel consumption of 3.8 litres per 100km on the combined cycle and average CO2 emissions of 85 grams per kilometre.


Safety features are extensive, starting with eight airbags, Lexus Safety System (pre-collision system with autonomous emergency braking, pedestrian (day/night), cyclist (day/night) and motorcyclist (day) detection, intersection collision avoidance support, emergency steering assist, front cross-traffic alert, acceleration suppression at low speeds, full-speed dynamic radar cruise control, curve speed reduction, preceding vehicle cut-in/departure display, lane trace assist with lane-departure alert, adaptive high-beam system (AHS), and road-sign assist.


Also included in every LBX is a blind spot monitor with rear cross-traffic alert, driver monitor camera, front and rear parking support brake with parking sensors, panoramic view monitor, reversing camera with guidelines and rear camera washer, e-latch system with safe exit assist, vehicle stability control and tyre pressure warning.


Standard features for the Luxury grade include 18-inch alloy wheels, LED headlights with adaptive high-beam system, rear spoiler and privacy glass, and a two-tone body finish including a black roof.


Inside, the LBX Luxury has black NuLux upholstery for the seats, steering wheel, door and instrument panel trim, front and rear carpet floor mats, heated front seats, dual-zone climate control with remote function, Qi wireless phone charging pad, auto-dimming rearview mirror, ambient interior lighting, smart entry and start and a powered tailgate.


Multimedia connectivity is via a 9.8-inch colour touchscreen display with satellite navigation, with sound emitted via a six-speaker Panasonic audio system compatible with wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. There are three front and two rear USB-C ports as well as front and rear 12V accessory sockets provide extra connectivity and charging options.


The Sports Luxury grade, which costs $52,990 as a 2WD, or $56,990 with AWD (both prices plus ORCs), is marked by its black 18-inch alloy wheel design and ornamentation film on the rear pillars.


The Sports Luxury interior adds combination of NuLux and Ultrasuede seat trim, suede cloth trim for the door, instrument panel, and console box, and a premium leather shift knob and premium leather heated steering wheel.


Other improvements over Luxury for Sports Luxury include a colour Head-Up Display (HUD), with touch-sensitive steering wheel controls, multi-colour ambient interior lighting and a 13-speaker Mark Levinson Premium Audio system with metal speaker grilles and Active Noise Control noise-cancelling technology.


Lexus Teammate Advanced Park is also standard.


The LBX is standard with a black roof combined with the option of one of eight different body exterior colours including Sonic Quartz, Sonic Chrome, Sonic Copper, Frozen Mercury, Moonstone Shadow, Rich Ruby, Citrine Flare and Midnight Sapphire.


Driving Impressions


The littlest Lexus looks larger in the metal, mostly because it is wider than you might expect. Its squat, smooth design is a little anonymous but still appealing sharing Lexus design cues such as the spindle grille.


When you jump in, you realise that this car is aimed at singles and couples as the rear seat legroom and boot space are not particularly large.


While upper soft-touch surfaces are tactile, you don’t get something for nothing at this price point. The lower dash and other plastic hard plastic trim is not a big deal, but you can only wish that there was a way of making it a little less obvious.


The dash information is for the most part logically presented. Seats are a bit flat in the front but offer a heap of adjustment and range for just about anyone to get comfortable. Rear seats are also not particularly contoured and lack knee room if the front seats are set back, but head room is acceptable.


Boot space is small, but the loading lip isn’t an issue. As is increasingly common now, there is no spare wheel, just an inflation/repair kit under the boot floor.


Noise suppression was good overall on the relatively short launch drive, except for freeway driving, where reflected road noise and wind noise made their presence known. It wasn’t excessive, just more obvious given how quiet the LBX was otherwise.


Handling and ride seemed quite balanced; steering was direct enough, ride firm but not harsh and the chassis seemed to settle nicely into turns.


Performance for the hybrid powertrain was responsive, if not offering a great deal of speed with it. If you want quick acceleration, you’ll need to look elsewhere. Fuel consumption was a 4.7L/100km average on the trip computer over 120km in mostly an urban environment.


At first glance, the Lexus LBX looks to be a smart, well-executed entry luxury model that does most things well, provided that space and performance are not your priorities.

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