Lexus has announced that is is getting a baby SUV ready which will compete in the market with the BMW X1 and Audi Q3. It will also be timed to compete with the Mercedes GLA when it hits the market. The car has been spotted in testing preparing for its appearance at the end of the year at the Tokyo motor show. It will be the cheapest Lexus SUV in their range, below the RX.
In the pictures, it does look like a CT200h but it is just part of the disguise. The CT200h is Lexus’s biggest selling model and the new 4×4 will capitalise on this success by the car based on the Toyota Prius. It won’t look the same of it but it will have the spindle grille design that was first introduced back in 2011 on the CT200h and then developed on the IS and GS as well as the LS and RX.
This segment is a rapidly growing one in the market and Lexus has even said that it is lagging behind it main rivals from Germany in not yet having a mini-SUV to compete with the X1 and Q3.
It is likely that the new car will be a hybrid, especially considering Toyota’s knowledge of them. They have been selling the Prius since 1997 and have now sold 5 million hybrid cars. The Lexus range also has a lot of them and it is a key selling point. Without a single diesel model it will need a hybrid to get the European buyers interested.
It is possible that the new car will also benefit from the Tesla technology being used for the RAV4 that is sold in the USA.
It is very likely that the new car will have four wheel drive. Most of its rivals do have front wheel drive on their entry level models and they will want to compete with the good mpg and CO2 figures as well. They also have premium and performance variants. Lexus will base its car on the RAV4 platform, although it will be smaller.
It is also expected that there will be some crossover in tech from the GS and IS although it may be condensed. This means there may be leather inside, a colour multimedia display with a controller like a mouse and electric safety. There may also be Mark Levinson Audio. It is expected that the Lexus SUV will appear in 2014 at a price of £25,000.