Toyota Yaris Cross Rumored to Underpin Diminutive Lexus by 2023

Matt Posky
by Matt Posky
toyota yaris cross rumored to underpin diminutive lexus by 2023

Lexus hasn’t been quiet about its need for crossovers. The brand went into the fad (it can’t last forever) underprepared with a fleet largely comprised of sedans; now it’s rumored to be developing a sub-$30,000 product following the launch of its subcompact UX model.

While a little surprising that Toyota’s luxury arm would pursue such a modestly priced vehicle, especially since it previously said cheap cars were a nonstarter, itty-bitty crossovers are in fashion right these days— and probably a good way to increase sales volume in select markets. Such a car would also give Lexus an opportunity add another model with a smaller-than-average carbon footprint, pleasing government regulators.

Serving as the basis for this hypothetical model will be the Toyota Yaris Cross. The Lexus allegedly carries the BX name and will serve as an unlikely candidate for the North American landscape. It may, however, see action in Europe and Asia if the manufacturer decides to pull the trigger.

Right now, all we have are preliminary reports from AutoHome China suggesting such a model is in the works, tied to the lifted version of the Euro-spec Yaris. While some details were bound to be lost in translation, the outlet suggests the BX would lift the 1.5-liter hybrid powertrain directly from that model. That means a tepid 115 horsepower when combined with two synchronous AC motors.

There’s also mention of an F Sport variant, though we couldn’t even begin to postulate on what might lurk beneath its hood. The assumed hybrid powertrain sets a fairly low bar, leaving us wondering if Lexus will bother giving us something worthy of the badge. Up until recently, Lexus/Toyota’s performance models were just gussied-up cars with upgraded suspensions and some factory tuning. Lately, the company’s shown a growing willingness to add meaningful levels of horsepower via Gazoo Racing.

Our best guess is that Lexus will fit the Yaris Cross with a nicer interior and some brand-approved bodywork before calling it a day on the base BX. Deliveries are estimated to commence in 2023.

As stated before, odds of this baby coming to America are exceptionally poor. Toyota has already confirmed the model as a poor fit for the United States, making the BX even less likely.

We’ll keep an ear to the ground to see if that changes, though we doubt it. America doesn’t even have access to the current-generation Yaris, and has been making due with Mazda-based subcompacts coming out of Mexico for years. Exporting a premium model that probably won’t mesh with regional tastes seems highly unlikely.

[Images: Toyota]

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  • Mjz Mjz on May 14, 2020

    I can't understand why Toyota is not bringing this to the America. The C-HR is just plain awful. This would make a great entry level CUV for Toyota. I don't know how it would work as a Lexus, but with Lexus design cues and interior refinement it might work. But they should definitely bring it as the entry level Toyota CUV. That's a no-brainer.

  • Lightspeed Lightspeed on May 17, 2020

    I don't get Lexus, the LS has a V6, they killed the GS, F-Sport is as meaningless as stripe-packages in the 1970s. I've driven the NX as a loaner half-a-dozen times and it's a steaming pile. I can't imagine the UX or this Yaris-based thing being any better. My now 20-year-old GS has honestly spoiled the crap out of me with its durability, reliability, 1UZFE V8 and an interior that looks barely five years old. I sit in the new Lexus models and can plainly see they won't last nearly as well as the older cars. The newest Lexus I'd replace my car with is a 2005 LS430, any Lexus after that is just a car.

  • Jeff S I am not a fan of Tesla and they were niche vehicles but it seems that they have become more common. I doubt if I get an EV that it would be a Tesla. The electrical grid will have to be expanded because people over the long run are not going to accept the excuse of the grid can't handle people charging their EVs.
  • AMcA The '70 Continentals and Town Cars may have been cousins to the standard body Fords and Mercurys, they didn't have to be disguised, because they had unique, unbelievably huge bodies of their own. Looking at the new 1970 interior, I'd say it was also a cost savings in sewing the seat. Button tufted panels like the 1969 interior had require a lot of sewing and tufting work. The 1970 interior is mostly surface sewing on a single sheet of upholstery instead of laboriously assembled smaller pieces. FINALLY: do I remember correctly that the shag carpet shown under these cars was a Photoshop? They didn't really go so peak '70s as to photograph cars on shag carpets, did they?
  • Inside Looking Out Toyota makes mass market cars. Their statement means that EVs are not mass market yet. But then Tesla managed to make mass market car - Mode; 3. Where I live in CA there are more Tesla Model 3s on streets than Corollas.
  • Ltcmgm78 A lot of dirt must turn before there's an EV in every driveway. There must be a national infrastructure plan written by other than politicians chasing votes. There must be reliable batteries that hopefully aren't sourced from strategic rivals. There must be a way to charge a lot of EVs. Toyota is wisely holding their water. There is a danger in urging unplanned and hasty moves away from ICE vehicles. Do we want to listen to unending speeches every election cycle that we are closer than we have ever been to 100% electrification and that voting for certain folks will make it happen faster? Picture every car in your town suddenly becoming all electric and a third of them need a charge or the driver will be late for work. This will take a lot of time and money.
  • Kendahl One thing I've learned is that cars I buy for local errands tend to be taken on 1,000 mile trips, too. We have a 5-speed Focus SE that has gone on longer trips than I ever expected. It has served us well although, if I had it to do over again, I would have bought an ST. At the time of purchase, we didn't plan to move from 1,000 feet elevation to 6,500. The SE is still adequate but the ST's turbo and extra power would have been welcome.