Two new crossovers will take Lexus into new segments

Lexus UX concept
According to a recent report, Lexus will soon expand its lineup with two new crossovers. The models will take the Japanese luxury brand into segments that it has never competed in.

The first model will be a toned-down version of the striking UX concept (pictured) that was presented a couple of months ago at the Paris Auto Show. Sources close to Lexus have revealed the model will replace the aging CT hatchback, which will be phased out without a direct successor.

Trademark filings uncovered by British magazine Autocar indicate the UX lineup will initially be made up of three models named UX200, UX250, and UX250h, respectively. The first two will get a four-cylinder engine, while the range-topping, h-badged version will receive a gasoline-electric hybrid drivetrain likely built using components borrowed from parent company Toyota.

The UX will compete against the Mercedes-Benz GLA. It will help the company get a bigger slice of the European market, a region that it has historically struggled in due largely to a complete lack of image.

Lexus’s second crossover will slot at the other end of its lineup. The brand is reportedly about to release a longer RX with space for up to seven passengers. Leaked trademark applications reveal plans for a RX350L and a RX450hL, indicating that Lexus won’t make any major modifications under the hood. The 350 will use a 3.5-liter V6 rated at 295 horsepower, while the 450h will be equipped with a gasoline-electric hybrid drivetrain tuned to deliver 308 horsepower.

The seven-seat RX will compete in the same segment as the Volvo XC90, and high-end models will square off against the Mercedes-Benz GLS. Importantly, it will bridge the wide gap between the current, short-wheelbase version of the RX and the body-on-frame GX that traces its roots to a rugged, no-nonsense Toyota off-roader.

The 2018 LC coupe is scheduled to arrive in showrooms in the spring, and the new LS debuted in Detroit, so Lexus is free to allocate its resources to developing hot-selling crossovers and SUVs. The UX and the RX L will both debut at a major auto show this year, and they’re scheduled to go on sale next year.

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