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The posh Toyota Yaris Cross you never knew you wanted? Funky small hybrid crossover hatch from Lexus looms and it's here soon to take on BMW X1

Hinted at during a future-model conference in December, 2021, the so-called Lexus BX will sit under the popular UX SUV.

Lexus is expected to launch an all-new entry-level hybrid crossover in Australia within the next 18 months, slotting in underneath the established UX as the brand’s most affordable offering.

Codenamed BX, it is thought to be one of three all-new and still top-secret models that the Japanese marque is planning to release here by the end of next year, and each have been confirmed to be in new segments for the brand locally.

Perhaps the most interesting and relevant from a volume and accessibility point of view is the BX. This is believed to be a compact, high-riding hatchback, mooted for a May or June unveiling globally, before heading down here as a 2024 model-year addition to the range.

This is also speculated to be the delayed replacement for the unloved CT200h hybrid hatchback, that was launched in 2011 and dropped in Australia for 2021 – along with the ageing IS sedan and RC coupe – after falling afoul of the then-imminent side-impact legislation that also claimed the scalps of several additional models from other manufacturers.

Lexus actually hinted very strongly at its existence way back in December, 2021, when a sub-UX crossover/hatch was rendered, as part of 16 other future Toyota and Lexus models in the pipeline over the next few years. In other words, the image on this page is actually straight from the company’s communications department.

So, what is this BX about, and why is the codename the same as the beloved Citroen BX of the 1980s? The clues are in the badge.

‘B’, of course, stands for the light or supermini size of the vehicle, and that is said to be based on the company’s smallest component set – the Toyota New Global Architecture (TNGA GA-B) platform, that currently underpins the diminutive Yaris, Yaris Cross and Aqua (the second-generation Prius C not for Australia and launched elsewhere in late 2021).

The BX is speculated to be the delayed replacement for the CT200h hybrid hatchback.

It goes without saying that the BX would look and feel nothing like these, brandishing its own distinctive styling, body, interior and upmarket specification.

However, the dinky newcomer will most likely be Yaris Cross-like in its diminutive proportions and packaging, while reports overseas suggest that it may share much of the Yaris/Aqua-Prius C II’s hybrid running gear.

The latter means a variation of the 1.5-litre three-cylinder petrol engine, which in the Yaris Cross delivers a maximum power output of 85kW and a torque top of 141Nm, thanks to its series-parallel hybrid setup.

That all said, given that the Yaris Cross is facing its third birthday later on this year, it is possible that an updated and/or upgraded version of this powertrain might be offered instead.

Lexus' all-new entry-level hybrid crossover will slot in underneath the established UX as the brand’s most affordable offering.

While the front-wheel-drive versions may feature a single electric motor up front and torsion beam rear suspension setup, the optional all-wheel-drive models would probably adopt a second motor mounted on the rear axle, as well as a dual-link double-wishbone arrangement.

What will such a car cost? With the top-line Yaris Cross Urban AWD hybrid now nudging $40,000 and the least-expensive UX200 Luxury starting from a smidgen over $46,000, a low-$40,000 starting price seems reasonable. This would put the Lexus in company with the Audi Q2, Mini Countryman and BMW X1.

Other details are sparse, but with the covers expected to be pulled off the final production car in a matter of weeks, more information will probably leak soon, including what the final badge will read and what exactly will power the fresh Lexus, so stay tuned.

Byron Mathioudakis
Contributing Journalist
Byron started his motoring journalism career when he joined John Mellor in 1997 before becoming a freelance motoring writer two years later. He wrote for several motoring publications and was ABC Youth radio Triple J's "all things automotive" correspondent from 2001 to 2003. He rejoined John Mellor in early 2003 and has been with GoAutoMedia as a senior product and industry journalist ever since. With an eye for detail and a vast knowledge base of both new and used cars Byron lives and breathes motoring. His encyclopedic knowledge of cars was acquired from childhood by reading just about every issue of every car magazine ever to hit a newsstand in Australia. The child Byron was the consummate car spotter, devoured and collected anything written about cars that he could lay his hands on and by nine had driven more imaginary miles at the wheel of the family Ford Falcon in the driveway at home than many people drive in a lifetime. The teenage Byron filled in the agonising years leading up to getting his driver's license by reading the words of the leading motoring editors of the country and learning what they look for in a car and how to write it. In short, Byron loves cars and knows pretty much all there is to know about every vehicle released during his lifetime as well as most of the ones that were around before then.
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