What Is It?
Lexus LF-NX Crossover Concept
What's Special About It?
If ever there was a vehicle that didn't photograph well, it's the Lexus LF-NX Crossover Concept. Benign grocery-getter or villainous Decepticon? The initial batch of photos of this compact hybrid crossover concept opened the door to speculation.
But the LF-NX is more charming in the metal here at the 2013 Frankfurt Auto Show. This design study for a small crossover is not quite a fashion accessory like the Range Rover Evoque, but it's a logical evolution of the automaker's current styling direction. Even if you don't like all the details, would you really want to drive a shrunken-down but still shapeless Lexus RX?
Ah, well, maybe you would, given that the RX is still the best-selling Lexus model in the world. Although the styling could change, a compact Lexus crossover that would compete with the Evoque, Audi Q5, BMW X3 and Mercedes-Benz GLK-Class is a done deal, as prototypes disguised in CT 200h bodywork have already been spotted on the road.
The eventual production vehicle will use front-wheel-drive architecture and have all-wheel drive as an option, Mark Templin, executive vice president of Lexus International, told us. In addition, it's a virtual certainty that the production NX will have a hybrid drivetrain involving the automaker's 2.5-liter Atkinson-cycle inline four-cylinder engine.
"Of all the powertrains in the short-term future, we think that's the best fit for our product," he said.
It should be a particularly good fit in Europe, where 90 percent of current-generation Lexus IS sedans are sold with the rear-drive version of this drivetrain. This model is known as the IS 300h, and very likely, we're looking at an early approximation of the Lexus NX 300h.
What Edmunds Says:
A compact crossover is long overdue in the Lexus lineup. The production version of the LF-NX will almost certainly tone down the styling when it arrives (probably sometime next year), especially if there's mass protest among Lexus owners.
Engine: 2.5-liter Atkinson cycle four-cylinder gasoline engine, front-drive electric motor and battery pack
Gearbox: Planetary gearset-regulated continuously variable transmission
Configurations: Front-wheel drive and all-wheel drive
Dimensions: 182.7 inches long, 106.3-inch wheelbase