Industry journal Automotive News reports that the new compact hybrid Lexus will be based on the recently released Toyota RAV4 and sit below the current Lexus RX 450h where it will take on the likes of the non-hybrid Audi Q3 and BMW X1.
Informed by a source inside Lexus, the report says the compact SUV is expected to borrow the hybrid powerplant from the Lexus IS 300h seen at this year’s Geneva motor show – combining a 133kW/221Nm 2.5-litre four-cylinder petrol engine and a 105kW/300Nm electric motor – and is likely to make its world debut in concept form, at this year’s Tokyo motor show in November.
Earlier this year at the Detroit auto show, Lexus IS chief engineer Junichi Furuyama hinted to CarAdvice at a potential business case for a new compact SUV when he ruled out a possible IS wagon.
“The wagon, there is a strong demand in European markets for a Lexus sports-wagon type. We do recognise that.
“However more than half of Lexus sales are achieved in the North American market, and there is almost no demand or very little demand for sports-type wagon in the North American market, so we examined very carefully and very seriously for the possibility, but we came to the conclusion that this wagon is not viable business option.”
As previously reported by CarAdvice, increasingly stricter emissions regulations also appear to be necessitating Lexus' move to a new, more efficient compact SUV.