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Lexus LBX (2023 - )

The LBX is Lexus’ all-new compact crossover model that has been designed specifically for the European market

Starting price:
£34,495

Why we love it:
  • Dynamic styling and beautiful interior design
  • Competitively priced wiith impressive day-to-day running costs
  • Easy to drive and relatively refined
Where it could be better:
  • Rear legroom is limited
  • It all gets a little noisy under heavier acceleration
  • Not particularly exciting to drive
Secure your test drive today
Request a Lexus Lbx test drive

Introduction

Lexus LBX

The LBX is Lexus’ all-new compact crossover model that has been designed specifically for the European market with lots of appeal to a younger audience.
It is the smallest Lexus to date and features a highly efficient and responsive three-cylinder 1.5-litre self-charging hybrid electric powertrain. It launches with four core model grades called Urban, Premium, Premium Plus and Takumi with additional Premium Plus Design and Takumi Design models that add extra eye candy to the mix, along with a choice of front or all-wheel drive.
There is also an Original Edition at launch, but this is limited to just 250 models and the LBX has a starting price of £29,995.
Lexus views this car as a vitally important model and that is reflected in its name because LBX stands for Lexus Breakthrough Crossover.
The car is on sale now with deliveries due to start this month. We opted for the Premium Plus model for our test drive.
 

Lexus LBX

The Lexus LBX is a five-door crossover model that’s certainly a head-turner without being flashy in any way. It’s elegantly styled with a fresh new front end that moves away from the traditional spindle grille that has been a design hallmark for the Japanese carmaker for the last decade.
Instead, the LBX gains a single trapezoidal-shaped grille that is positioned beneath a narrow aperture that runs just below the bonnet edge and links the slim headlights. The distinctive L-shaped lights now face outwards rather than inwards with other eye-catching features including rear privacy glass, 18-inch high-gloss alloy wheels and a powered tailgate.   
Lexus designers are renowned for creating awesome looking cabins that are plush, packed with top quality fixtures and fittings and are very easy on the eye. And the LBX boasts all these traits with synthetic leather upholstery on our test car that looked elegant and felt very high-end, along with soft-touch surfaces and clear instrumentation.
All models feature a smart 9.8-inch touchscreen navigation set-up with voice assistant and wireless Apple CarPlay and wired Android Auto smartphone connectivity. There is Bluetooth, a head-up display and a six-speaker DAB sound system (upgraded to 13-speak Mark Levinson Surround Sound on top grades). The screen looks quite small compared to some rivals, but that’s not a bad thing. It is less distracting and sometimes less really is more.
All the vital driving data can be clearly viewed on the 12.3-inch digital instrument display and additional creature comforts include dual zone climate control, a reversing camera, front and rear parking sensors, plus wireless smartphone charging.
There is quite a minimalist feel to the LBX but there are ‘proper’ switches for functions such as the climate control which is always good news. The seats and steering wheel offer plenty of manual adjustment so getting a comfy driving position is easy enough, and the comfort levels also impressed with heated seats to help fend off the winter chill.

On The Road

Lexus LBX

Handling & Performance

 

Powering the Lexus LBX is a three-cylinder 1.5-litre petrol self-charging hybrid system that delivers 134bhp which results in a 0-62mph sprint time of 9.2 seconds and top speed of 106mph. So, not earth-shattering pace then, but again it’s worth reminding ourselves that Lexus prides itself on refinement rather than bone-rattling performance.
That said; it feels nicely responsive out the starting blocks and once you get used to the e-CVT transmission and learn to treat it with a little TLC then the acceleration is both smooth and reactive.
The car is nicely hushed and very nimble when pootling around town with the electric motor coping nicely and the petrol engine joining in when a little more oomph is needed. Then on more challenging winding country lanes, the LBX is well grounded and reassuringly balanced with ample grip through long curves.
The noise levels do get more noticeable inside the cabin if it is pushed along a little too eagerly, and the tyre and wind sound is elevated on motorways too. 
There is an ECO mode to maximise efficiency and an EV mode can be activated provided there is any charge available in the battery. There is also a B mode on the gear selector that, when selected, increases the level of energy captured under braking. But in all honesty, most owners will simply let the car choose the best mode and the hybrid system will work happily and seamlessly away in the background.
Our test car was front-wheel drive, but all-wheel drive is available when opting for the top grades if that is a priority.
 

Lexus LBX

Space & Practicality

The all-new Lexus LBX is a compact five-door crossover model that stretches 4,190mm in length, is 1,825mm wide and 1,560mm tall with a 2,580mm wheelbase.

While there is ample space up front for a couple of six footers to stretch out, the legroom in the back is quite tight, especially if those front seats are pushed right back. Yes, there is enough room for a couple of adults on shorter journeys, but it won’t be long before you hear them moaning about being too cramped.

But it’s worth reminding ourselves that this is the smallest Lexus to date and it is aimed at younger buyers so if they are transporting passengers, they are likely to be children on the school run. And if that’s the case, there is ample room for two or three children in the back. There are also Isofix anchors to the outer rear seats to secure child seats if required.

The deep boot is accessed via a powered tailgate and it can swallow 402 litres of luggage, increasing to 994 litres with the 60:40 split-folding rear seats dropped flat. The capacity is slightly less at 317 litres on all-wheel drive versions (the maximum capacity figure on those models has yet to be determined).

Throughout the cabin are numerous practical compartments for storing bits and pieces, including a glovebox and a sliding armrest that opens to reveal a small cubby bin and cup holder. There is another front cup holder, a single seat back pocket, door bins and some handy trays.

Ownership

Lexus LBX

Running Costs

The Lexus LBX line-up is priced from £29,995 for the entry-level Urban model and the cost rises to £40,545 for the range-topping LBX Takumi. The limited-run Original Edition costs £39,995, while our test car, in Premium Plus specification carried a £34,495 price-tag, which increased by £670 due to the introduction of metallic paint.

Thanks to its highly efficient three-cylinder 1.5-litre hybrid powertrain, the day-to-day running costs impress with WLTP-tested combined fuel economy of 61.4mpg and carbon emissions of 103g/km.

The CO2 figure would result in owners facing a first year Vehicle Excise Duty charge (road tax to you and I) of £175, dropping to the standard fee for hybrids of £170 after 12 months.

As well as an excellent reputation for reliability, the LBX is sold with a standard three-year, 60,000-mile warranty that can be extended free-of-charge to 10 years or 100,000 miles provided the car is serviced through approved Lexus centres. And this warranty is also fully transferable if the vehicle is sold on.

The LBX Premium Plus, as tested, sits in insurance group 24E.

Verdict

Lexus LBX

The LBX is full of surprises but certainly achieves exactly what Lexus hoped for. It maintains all the high-end quality associated with the brand but adds the appeal of being competitively priced.

It is cheap to run with exceptional fuel efficiency and Lexus models have a reputation for holding their value so it could prove to be a sound investment. And it’s always worth mentioning the raft of safety features and driver assistance aids that every Lexus comes with. 

On the downside, it’s not that thrilling to drive, but not many Lexus cars are if I’m brutally honest. They have always focused more on comfort and refinement rather than blistering pace and the LBX is another fine example of that thought process.

Only time will tell if the LBX is snapped up by younger buyers, although we think it’s likely to be an older audience, probably empty nesters, that take the plunge for this model.

Secure your test drive today
Request a Lexus Lbx test drive
By Maxine Ashford
Mar 12, 2024

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