Lexus Considering Sub-RX Mini Crossover

By Chris Haak

02.04.2008

This is something that had been rumored to be in the long-term plans for a while, but Jim Lentz, Toyota Motor Sales U.S.A. president, has actually confirmed that they are considering the vehicle. If built, it would be smaller and less expensive than the Lexus RX350 (pictured at left), which starts around $38,000, and would compete directly with several vehicles in the exploding small luxury crossover segment. Competitors would include the Acura RDX, BMW X3, Mercedes-Benz GLK, Infiniti EX, and the upcoming Cadillac BRX (similar to the Provoq concept), Saab 9-4x, and Volvo X60.

If the small Lexus is approved, it would be built on a version of the Toyota RAV4’s AWD platform. This is nearly identical to the approach that Honda took when producing the Acura RDX (pictured at right), which is built on the Honda CR-V’s platform and with which is shares many dimensions. Honda gave the RDX a unique engine – the turbocharged four cylinder – but at this point, Lexus’ engine intentions are not clear. I’m guessing that this unnamed Lexus would have a version of Toyota’s ubiquitous 3.5 liter V6 under the hood, similar to the optional engine in the aforementioned RAV4.

This segment has gotten very competitive over the past two years, and will become even moreso with the additional entrants. Still, Lexus has a loyal following and builds desirable vehicles, so they would probably do fine in this segment.

According to Lentz, the vehicle would be targeted toward people who are “sick of the suburbs, but who don’t want to give up the utility of their SUV.” Of course, the implication is that large SUVs are difficult to handle in the tight confines of urban life.

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Author: Chris Haak

Chris is Autosavant's Managing Editor. He has a lifelong love of everything automotive, having grown up as the son of a car dealer. A married father of two sons, Chris is also in the process of indoctrinating them into the world of cars and trucks.

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2 Comments

  1. But where will it be priced? I think Lexus may possible be cutting the market segments a little too thin.

  2. hinky lou, you nailed the exact problem they’ll have. There are certain features that Lexus buyers will expect to see regardless of price, but the price point this will have to slot into may make it difficult to include those features. I’d guess it would start around $33k, with the upper level models slightly overlapping the lower level RXs.

    Another question is, which letter will accompany the inevitable “X” in the vehicle’s name? RX, GX, LX, etc. X=cool, trendy, off road capable, etc. you know.

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