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Automakers are shy about committing small platforms to the U.S. Hey, it’s Amurika! Everything here is bigger and better, or so they think. Now Lexus has an affordable crossover in the LBX, debuting today. The company can use its highly regarded brand image to help grab luxury SUV lookers to the LBX. Still, it probably won’t find its way to the U.S. There are many small car failures to support that move, but times are changing. We think it would be a strong seller in the U.S. for the Japanese company.

Why should the Lexus LBX be sold here?

2024 Lexus LBX crossover
2024 Lexus LBX small crossover | Lexus

And here’s why. First, Lexus is marketing the crossover as “self-charging.” It does this to help inflate what everyone else calls a hybrid. Not all countries, like Norway for instance, approve of calling it self-charging, but it’s one way to interest those buyers on the fence about EVs. 

It’s the size of a Mini Cooper, which has found large acceptance in the U.S. and is seven inches longer than a BMW i3 EV. BMW sold over 250,000 of the i3 and over 22,000 a year of the Mini Cooper. Those aren’t terrible numbers for a car Lexus already produces for Europe and Japan. 

Is it really too small for America?

2024 Lexus LBX interior
2024 Lexus LBX small crossover | Lexus

Of course, it’s almost a foot shorter than a Nissan Leaf or Kia Sportage. So, yeah, it’s small. But it’s more about taking each case on its own merits than just dismissing all small crossovers as unsellable in the U.S.

Part of its efforts in Europe to sell the LBX is because that’s the home of the luxury or premium segment. As nothing larger than a midsize vehicle can manage London’s or Paris’ narrow streets, if you can’t go big, go luxury instead. And don’t forget; it’s also another way to spread the development and tooling love the more you sell. 

Who is the Lexus LBX targeted toward?

2024 Lexus LBX crossover
2024 Lexus LBX small crossover | Lexus

Another reason for possible success here is it’s a Lexus without the horrendously oversized spindle grille. Not everyone loves it, and instead like the brand for its other premium qualities. C’mon, admit it, you never loved the Lexus gaping grille, did you?

Targeted at younger buyers, they don’t care about big versus compact SUVs. It’s a Lexus and one that they can afford and not be afraid to pull up to Crossroad or Charm Bar in Manhattan. The estimated base price is around $40,000. And even its trim levels are aimed at young buyers.

There’s the base LBX, then the Elegant/Relax trim, and the Emotion/Cool at the top. The differences are in paint breakups, 18-inch wheels, and other interior upgrades. And there are also vegan options so that no cow loses its life. 

What about the Lexus TX and GX?

2024 Lexus LBX crossover interior
2024 Lexus LBX small crossover | Lexus

Is a Subcompact SUV the Best for You?

The remainder of the car’s tech and powertrain is typical electronics and safety features. A small 1.5-liter three-cylinder engine with one or two electric motors combined with a double-wishbone independent rear suspension. Deliveries are to begin around the first of 2024.

As for North America, we’ll be getting the TX and GX. The TX is a three-row Lexus, with the GX a completely revamped SUV since the current generation first made an appearance back in 2009. So while we lament the probable loss of the LBX, there are other Xs to consider.