Audi has the Q3, Mercedes has the GLA and BMW has the X1, but Lexus currently has no ambitions to join those rivals in the small SUV space with a compact crossover of its own.
And that’s despite the impending availability of a Toyota-derived small SUV platform that would give Lexus the option of developing a sub-NX softroader.
Toyota announced at this month’s Frankfurt auto show that it will be bringing a production version of its C-HR compact crossover concept to next year’s Geneva show, sparking speculation that a Lexus derivative may be on the way.
The NX (above) is presently Lexus’ smallest SUV option and is officially classified as a small SUV. However, at 4630mm long,1845mm wide and 1630mm high it’s more akin to midsizers like the Audi Q5 and BMW X3.
Meanwhile, the Toyota C-HR’s (below) dimensions of 4350mm length, 1850mm width and 1500mm height put it right in the ballpark of the Audi Q3 – currently the most popular small luxury SUV on the market.
With pocket-sized luxury crossovers being big business – in Australia that segment has grown by over 100 percent year-to-date, largely thanks to strong GLA sales – why wouldn’t Lexus want a smaller SUV to sit beneath the mid-sized NX?
Yet according to local Lexus boss Sean Hanley there’s no word from head office that Lexus will tread that path..
“At the moment we have no plans of anything sub-NX,” he said. “There are no confirmed plans for a sub-NX car for Lexus.”
But Hanley, speaking to TMR at the local launch of the IS 200t, acknowledged that there was a gap that would be ably filled by something smaller than the NX.
“I think there’s a market there, no doubt,” he said. “But for our brand, Lexus, is it somewhere we want to go in the immediate term? But like anything, if that offering came on the market and was made available for us, we’d take it. “However it’s not a priority. I’m quite happy as our entry models being the CT, IS and the NX, I’m quite comfortable with those at this point.”
What say you? Would a smaller Lexus SUV appeal to you as an alternative to the CT or IS?