The new Lexus small crossover has been photographed while testing with very little disguise. Lexus have recently indicated that they are looking to put a compact crossover in its models beneath the RX and it looks like this could be it. It will be likely to be an NX and probably get an engine specific name in the same way that the RX has. This is felt to be likely to be NX200t or NX300h as Toyota have recently filed patents for those names.
It will be an important step for nexus as they are trying to appear trendier and more sporty as well as more youthful unlike the quiet and competent image that they currently have. They will need to provide models that appeal to the young and wealthy if they want to do this and so a small crossover could be just the thing they need. BMW and Audi are seeing a lot of success with their X3 and Q5 models and they are even offering smaller cars in the Q3 and X1. Mercedes Benz is also doing this with their GLA class. Lexus has offered nothing like this both in terms of size and price and it is important for them to have something in the low $30,000 range if they want to compete to a new market.
The platform for this new car remains a mystery. Lexus and its parent company Toyota has a couple of possible sources. They may go for the Toyota RAV4 chassis or adapt the Lexus CT200h hatchback. From the spy pictures it does look more like the CT200h than the RAV4 with a Lexus face on it. The headlights are like a 2014 IS sedan and the grille is very obviously the latest spindle shaped corporate one from Lexus.
No official details have been released with regards to the powertrain. The names that they have recently patented provides hints towards this though. The naming of the vehciles is very like the engine displacement and so it is expected that this pattern will follow. So while the RX350 is a 3.5 litre and the IS250 has a 2.5 litre it is expected that the NX200t will have a 2.0 litre probably with four cylinders. The t pretty much spells out turbo, which could be a big change as neither Lexus or Toyota offer a turbo version engine in the US market.
The NX300h will be a hybrid as the 300h name is the same as that on the hybrid ED sedan. It is expected that it will be the same four cylinder engine as the ES300h. It may be changed to an all wheel drive system that is rather more traditional than the current expensive, front mounted setup on the Toyota Highlander Hybrid and RX450h. It is expected that there will be a CVT on the NX300h and a regular automatic with six or eight speeds on the NX200t.
This vehicle will enter the market to compete with the Mercedes-Benz GLA, Infiniti QX50, Acura RDX, BMW X1 and Audi Q3. It is expected that it will debut this year in Frankfurt and may go on sale early next year. The price should be in the low $30,000 area but may rise up to the mid $40,000 region for the loaded hybrid version.