Lexus LBX Review: "Category A" Lexus Feels Like Full-Fledged Luxury

Lexus LBX Review: "Category A" Lexus Feels Like Full-Fledged Luxury

James Wong
James Wong
23 Mar 2024
It’s truly the Lexus of Cat A cars - offering the same luxury you get in Cat B models in a smaller package.
What we like:
pros
Exceptional quality
pros
Great standard features
pros
Zippy and refined driving experience
pros
Comfortable and balanced ride
What we dislike:
cons
You’d have to be OK with the compact size
cons
Engine noise intrudes a little at higher RPMs

When the Lexus LBX came out, I instantly thought: “Not another crossover!”

Sure, its LBX name is only the second Lexus to use a 3-syllable name, after the LFA. But do we need another small SUV?

But perhaps I judged it too quickly. Although Lexus already has the small UX SUV, the LBX has a trump card up its sleeve – the LBX qualifies for Category A COE, making it the first Lexus ever to meet that classification.

This bodes well for the brand, because Cat A COE has trended down of late, and seems to lead the downtrend for COEs as it draws a bigger gap from Cat B prices.

Does the Lexus LBX feel like a Lexus?

Yet, the LBX doesn’t feel in any way cheapened at all. Yes, it shares the GA-B platform with the Toyota Yaris Cross and is the only Lexus to use this platform so far, but it feels entirely different. Lexus has lengthened the wheelbase, widened the track and increased body rigidity.

Its exterior design is a departure from what we’re used to from Lexus. It feels very European, sporting a bulbous and tear shaped look which is certainly attractive. The ‘Unified Spindle’ grille gives the LBX an air of modernity even against the most current Lexus models.

How does the Lexus LBX drive?

Positioned as a car that one buys as a second vehicle or for right-sizing, the LBX isn’t typically the sort of car you would take on a long road trip to Malaysia. Not due to a lack of ability, but its core competency is being a great roundabout on Singapore roads, something it does excellently. Equipped with a 1.5-litre 3-cylinder hybrid drivetrain, the car just tucks under 130 hp and does 0-100 km/h in 9.6 seconds.

It feels faster in practice, the car zipping in and out of traffic with confidence. One clue to how it does this is to manage the weight of the LBX, like in the type of hybrid battery it uses. The LBX is the second Lexus model (after the RX) to benefit from a new bi-polar nickel metal hydride (NiMH) hybrid battery that’s more power dense, lighter and smaller. It’s accommodated below the rear seats, so there’s no compromise to cabin space. It also means the rear seats are set higher to give a better view of the road for rear occupants.

The LBX is also simply a compact car, true to its definition. This gives it a dynamic and efficiency edge that’s typical of smaller cars. It’s not a squeeze by any means, but you’d have to be OK with the interior room and 402-litre boot space to appreciate it.

How quiet is the Lexus LBX on the move?

When one is in a hurry, there is some rumble from the engine bay on load, but things are kept quiet and hushed most of the time. Clearly, Lexus has prioritised sound insulation in the LBX. The hood has been lined with additional insulation, while the closing sound of the doors has been tuned with care using damping sheets inside the panels, covering service holes and using a sealer around the door trim. Inside and out, the LBX feels properly premium.

What features does the Lexus LBX have?

Great features that come as standard with the LBX include a Mark Levinson 13 speaker audio system, a 360-degree camera with automatic park function, a heads-up display (HUD) and the latest generation of Lexus Safety System+. Let’s just say you won’t feel short changed even when coming from a much more expensive Lexus like the RX, or NX.

The LBX is a bit of a game changer for Lexus given it now has an offering in the Cat A segment which opens up a whole new market for the brand. It’s truly the Lexus of Cat A cars - offering the same luxury you get in Cat B models in a smaller package.


Photos by James Wong

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