As I’m writing this, I realize that we haven’t had a good opportunity to talk about Lexus since the Detroit Auto Show at the very beginning of this year. It was around that time that we first discussed Lexus’ awareness of their absence in the small SUV segment. We giddily reported the possibility of a new crossover below the RX, but we took a deep breath and admitted that we really couldn’t promise anything for sure.
Well, as of this week, Toyota’s luxury arm has announced official plans to bring a new compact SUV to the 2013 Tokyo Motor Show at the end of this year.
Why a Compact SUV?
You don’t have to look very far to see that the compact SUV segment is exploding. You can see it in just about every major market, all around the world. The popularity of the Nissan Juke, the Toyota RAV4, and even the positive reactions to the new Urban SUV concept from Honda all point to one simple fact – the compact crossover segment is a good place for automakers to be.
Plus, just look at the numbers… Recent estimates state that the number of small SUVs sold per year will more than double by the end of 2015 from what we’ve seen in 2012. This is the fastest growing segment in the market right now, particularly in Europe, and a very important one for all automakers to participate in.
Strangely, luxury brands are the only ones lacking a consistent presence in the compact crossover segment. Sure, you’ve got the BMW X1 and the Audi Q3, as well as the upcoming Mercedes-Benz GLA, but those are the only real examples that come to mind. Unlike in the mainstream CUV segment where Japanese brands are dominant, European brands are at the forefront of the luxury CUV market. And, both BMW and Audi have plans to add more, sportier SUVs to their lineup.
Well, Lexus, for one, is finally ready to play catch-up. They’ve officially announced plans to produce a compact SUV crossover that slots in below the Lexus RX class of vehicles. They plan to bring a concept model to the 2013 Tokyo motor show in November, and a production ready model to the 2014 Geneva motor show next March.
So, enough introduction, let’s talk about…
Specs For The New Lexus CUV
Apparently, the new Lexus compact SUV will utilize a hybrid powertrain, but it won’t be new. It will be the same 2.5L gas-electric powertrain currently used in the Lexus ES 300h. Additionally, the new CUV will borrow its architecture from the best-selling Toyota RAV4. As for naming scheme, Lexus trademarked the lineup name “NX” as well as specific model names NX300h and NX200T… Seems like the first name makes a lot of sense if the engine is taken from the ES 300h. So, for now let’s call this new CUV the Lexus NX.
Unfortunately, while we do have official confirmation of the existence of the new Lexus NX, we don’t have official confirmation of where it will be sold. There is a small chance that it won’t make it to the US, or at least not until it has proven its worth in Europe. Let’s cross our fingers that’s not the case, but we don’t want you to be disappointed later this year. Either way, stay tuned to Integrity Exports to learn more… You’ll know what’s up just as soon as we do.leave a response, trackback from your own site