Lexus Considering Sub-RX Mini Crossover
By Chris Haak
This is something that had been rumored to be in the long-term plans for a while, but Jim Lentz, Toyota Motor Sales U.S.A. president, has actually confirmed that they are considering the vehicle. If built, it would be smaller and less expensive than the Lexus RX350 (pictured at left), which starts around $38,000, and would compete directly with several vehicles in the exploding small luxury crossover segment. Competitors would include the Acura RDX, BMW X3, Mercedes-Benz GLK, Infiniti EX, and the upcoming Cadillac BRX (similar to the Provoq concept), Saab 9-4x, and Volvo X60.
If the small Lexus is approved, it would be built on a version of the Toyota RAV4’s AWD platform. This is nearly identical to the approach that Honda took when producing the Acura RDX (pictured at right), which is built on the Honda CR-V’s platform and with which is shares many dimensions. Honda gave the RDX a unique engine – the turbocharged four cylinder – but at this point, Lexus’ engine intentions are not clear. I’m guessing that this unnamed Lexus would have a version of Toyota’s ubiquitous 3.5 liter V6 under the hood, similar to the optional engine in the aforementioned RAV4.
This segment has gotten very competitive over the past two years, and will become even moreso with the additional entrants. Still, Lexus has a loyal following and builds desirable vehicles, so they would probably do fine in this segment.
According to Lentz, the vehicle would be targeted toward people who are “sick of the suburbs, but who don’t want to give up the utility of their SUV.” Of course, the implication is that large SUVs are difficult to handle in the tight confines of urban life.
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