By on April 5, 2013

Lexus will launch a RAV4-based small crossover, intended to compete against the BMW X1 and Audi Q3. Automotive News claims that the new crossover will be a hybrid and debut at the Geneva Auto Show, with a concept premiering at November’s Tokyo Auto Show.

The new crossover may not make it to North America. The compact premium SUV segment is very much a European-centric segment – for now. The success of the X1 may cause Lexus to change their minds about the new baby crossover

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33 Comments on “Lexus To Launch Small SUV Below RX...”


  • avatar

    Hopefuly they took lessons of the HS flop. That thing was about the right size, I even took pictures next to RAV4, and they were identical.

  • avatar
    CoreyDL

    I guess it’d have to be called the CX200. Sounds about right.

  • avatar

    Why it took them this long to enter this segment is something I lose sleep over.

    Seriously, the X3 and RDX came out almost a decade ago. Of course, now they’re as big as an RX.

  • avatar
    philadlj

    The Buick Encore – even smaller than the Q3/X1, had a good March, and if it rallies late it could put up Q5 numbers (~25K).

    But then again it only has to share the tiny premium crossover segment with the Countryman.

    • 0 avatar
      Kyree S. Williams

      And also the upcoming Fiat 500L.

      This is a market that I think Lincoln really needs to tap into, especially since they compete more with Buick (and only marginally, since Buicks have gotten a lot nicer) than arch-rival Cadillac. If they skipped the silly Escape-based crossover they’ve been planning and instead released something related to the Ford Focus that was significantly nicer and had lots more features, distinctive styling, and that was able to keep its price in check, I think it would fly off the lots, and no one would care if there was an equivalent Ford for less money. Maybe they could even contract Sajeev to design it, lol

  • avatar
    jkross22

    Wow. This sounds really exciting. Really. Ok, I have to go back to watching my toenails grow.

  • avatar
    jberger

    I’m guessing this will be the Venza replacement using the new Camry platform since it has the Hybrid option. Assuming they follow the typical Toyota way, they would build it in the KY plant and release a new Venza version after they ship the Lexus badged unit.

    I thought the Venza made more sense as a Lexus and a Hybrid crossover would be a nice addition to the current Hybrid offerings.

  • avatar
    mike978

    I can’t see them developing this primarily for Europe. Especially since BMW sells more 3 series in the UK than Lexus sell of their entire range in the whole of Europe. They are a bit player and this will make minimal difference.

    • 0 avatar
      Kyree S. Williams

      Crossovers are growing in Europe, but they’re either very sporting, very space-efficient or very low-cost. Since the proposed Lexus mini-ute would likely be none of those things, I don’t know how well it’d do in Europe. But I think that if it’s stylish and has good fuel economy, the Lexus brand’s cachet will do the rest and make it a success here in the States. And whatever parts and platforms Toyota’s considering have surely long been paid for, so it probably wouldn’t be that large of an investment.

  • avatar
    Lightspeed

    I know the debate continues among Lexus fans as to what constitutes a ‘real’ lexus as apposed to a rebadged Toyota. In my mind, the real lexus’ are the GS, IS and LS with a nod to the LX – everything else is just watering down the brand.

    • 0 avatar
      CoreyDL

      The first SC was real also.

    • 0 avatar
      Kyree S. Williams

      I disagree. While those models are architecturally-unique from their Toyota brethren, they don’t make up the bulk of sales. Most of the money and profit seems to come from the ES and RX, which are definitely part of the reason that Lexus has grown such as it has. The fact that they share platforms with Toyotas does not make them a burden to the brand, or its image. They’re still luxurious, stylish and sophisticated. Granted, people weren’t too fooled by the HS, and the CT isn’t exactly flying off of the lots…but the average person wouldn’t see a difference in genuineness between the ES and RX and your so-called “real” Lexus models. Why? Because only car enthusiasts care about that stuff.

      And, by the way, how on earth is the LX *not* a rebadged Toyota Land Cruiser..?

      • 0 avatar
        Lightspeed

        Good points. Correct, the RX and ES bring home the bacon for Lexus and arguably allow them to build the GS/IS/LS. As a GS400 driver, I’d like to see them be more focused on excellence in a core group of models, rather than try to hit every niche. For example, the CT is a nice car, but wouldn’t it have made a truly brilliant new Celica instead of a Lexus?

  • avatar
    stars9texashockey

    On a related note, BMW is developing a fastback/coupe/CUV version of every model they have ever produced. Ever.

  • avatar
    onyxtape

    Success of the X1? Other than the one owned by a neighbor, I’ve not seen a single one around my very BMW-friendly municipality. I’ve seen more Infiniti EX37′s than X1′s.

    And that 3-month-old X1 was gone for 3 weeks and replaced by a loaner 328. I need to ask what happened.

    Also – why would anyone pay so many thousands more for a 328 wagon over a basically equivalent X1?

  • avatar
    genuineleather

    This makes sense if Lexus wants to bump the RX up to full mid-size category. The GX entered the market in last place, and hasn’t made a dent in ML/X5 sales. I can see Lexus more credibly selling its current customers a slightly-larger, more plush RX for $60k than the too high, too ugly, and too crude GX.

    • 0 avatar
      Kyree S. Williams

      The first-gen GX was a very good idea, in part because of the good styling and in part because of the tastes of that market. But the second-gen came when truck-based SUVs of that size were past their prime, not to mention the fact that it’s a caricature of the older model. Lexus hasn’t even bothered to put the new spindle grille on it, and they don’t really advertise it, which shows how little hope they have in it. It doesn’t compete with the Acura MDX or the BMW X5 or the Audi Q7 or the Range Rover Sport or the Porsche Cayenne or any of those other semi-rugged vehicles. I suspect the only reason they still make it is because it’s just a rebadged Toyota Land Cruiser Prado (a model that is sold in other markets). The other day, I actually looked up prices for them and couldn’t believe how well they hold their resale value despite being so ugly and irrelevant.

      I don’t think they should mess with the RX’s mojo and push it up in size; I think they should scrap the current GX and build a new one that’s on a rugged unibody platform that includes a comfortable third row. It would be way more practical than the current one, and if priced and styled right, it could end up with the same cachet as its European competitors…

  • avatar
    ExPatBrit

    My daughter has an newish RX350 and my wife says it’s too damn big.

    We have one of the original RX300s silversports , totally trouble free vehicle but empty-nesters like us don’t need the size of the current version , a smaller RX250 (whatever) sounds great.

    I believe the RX range is the Lexus best seller,nothing wrong with sharing the platform with the Highlander.

  • avatar
    Davekaybsc

    It’s worth remembering that the RX300 and the ML320 were 180.3″ and 180.6″ long. The RX is now 187.8″ and the M-class is now 189.1.” The GLK comes in at 178.3″ and the small Lexus… doesn’t exist.

    They don’t need an X1 and Q3 competitor, they need an X3 and Q5 competitor. As has already been said, the RX is too damn big. Even Volvo beat them to market with a new small entry by years. The only other guys still left out are Lincoln and Cadillac.

    • 0 avatar
      ExPatBrit

      It’s 3 inches wider and 400lb heavier as well compared to the original.

    • 0 avatar
      Kyree S. Williams

      Lincoln’s got the MKC on the way. Apparently, it’s Escape-based, but I don’t see how that would make it much smaller than the Edge-based MKX. As for Cadillac, they might keep the current SRX, but supplement it with something smaller, nimbler and world-class, to be underpinned by the Alpha platform…

      Acura is also left out, now that the RDX has grown very close to the outgoing MDX. And as for Infiniti, by the fact that the slow-selling EX has not been included in their new nomenclature, they obviously plan to discontinue it. And the FX competes with nothing so much as itself, so Infiniti won’t have anything in that arena either…

      • 0 avatar
        corntrollio

        “And as for Infiniti, by the fact that the slow-selling EX has not been included in their new nomenclature, they obviously plan to discontinue it.”

        It was renamed the QX50 (60 is the JX, 70 is the FX, and 80 is the QX). Although this grand renaming seems silly to me, unlike the JX’s new name, the EX’s makes sense within the scheme– the EX is more comparable to the G (Q50), and is like a lifted G wagon. The FX’s makes sense too since it’s comparable to the M (Q70) and is like a lifted M wagon.

        • 0 avatar
          Kyree S. Williams

          “The FX’s makes sense too since it’s comparable to the M (Q70) and is like a lifted M wagon”

          I thought it made sense too; I’m not sure why everyone is complaining that the FX will have a larger number, when it’s smaller than the JX. And thanks for the clarification about the EX.

  • avatar
    bd2

    Since when are the X3 and GLK not compact CUVs?

    The X1 is more of a subcompact CUV.

    The new RAV-4 based Lexus CUV would be a compact CUV, but since it is FWD-based would be competing with the subcompact CUVs on price, just as the midsize RX competes against the X3 on price and not the midsize X5.

    • 0 avatar
      Kyree S. Williams

      See, that’s what I’d thought. I’d also consider the Q5, EX37 and the old RDX to be compact.

      And I don’t know how the MINI Cooper Countryman/Paceman, Fiat 500X and Subaru CrossTrtek qualify as anything other than overpriced hatchbacks, to be honest with you…


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