Lexus LBX Review 2024

Rob Clymo

Written by Rob Clymo

heycar ratingCompact and bijou motoring
  • 2024
  • Small SUV
  • Hybrid

Quick overview


  • Pin sharp drive
  • Strong performance
  • Option of estate version


  • Small boot in hatch
  • Pricey with desirable options added
  • Mediocre cabin quality

Overall verdict on the Lexus LBX

“The Lexus LBX is the smallest car the premium Japanese brand has built to date and provides plenty of appeal if you’re thinking about downsizing. It’s well built and looks the part, with a wide-range of paint and trim options allowing owners to get just the car they want. While it’s definitely great to drool over, the all-new hybrid engine isn’t quite as refined as you’d expect. But used as a city car, the little Lexus LBX excels.”

Lexus LBX Review 2024

The LBX (short for Lexus Breakthrough Crossover) is a compact SUV based on the same underpinnings as parent company Toyota’s Yaris Cross. While it’s available with four-wheel drive, owners who spend most of their time in towns and cities will be just as happy with the front-wheel-drive model. 

The LBX places a strong emphasis on bold exterior styling, which certainly sets it apart from the competition. There’s a cool front end, with a very distinctive grille that adds a twist to those of other Lexus models and is complimented by the merging of daytime running lights and headlights into one unit for a seamless look.

Head along the sides and the bold, almost flared wings look particularly accentuated in some of the new and decidedly loud colours like Sonic Copper, Ruby, Dark Blue and the lairy Passionate Yellow. You can combine the above with a black roof for even more visual impact.

For the UK, the Lexus LBX is available in seven different trim options, which starts with the entry-level Urban model, followed by Premium, Premium Plus, Premium Plus Design, Takumi and Takumi Design. There’s also a limited numbered car in the shape of the Original Edition. Lush interior options include vegan upholstery semi-aniline leather, with complementary stitching colours, depending on your trim choice

In fact, look across the range of options offered by Lexus for the LBX and it covers just about every trim nuance you could ever want. Thankfully, wheel sizes are slightly more straightforward with just 17’s on the base spec Urban and Premium and with 18-inch alloys featuring on the rest. Even at the lower end of the trim range, the specification is solid enough to meet the expectations of Lexus customers with their thirst for premium touches. 

The Urban model, for example, features an infotainment system called Lexus Link Connect, which is displayed via a 9.8-inch touchscreen. Premium adds on Tahara synthetic leather seats that are heated in the front. Premium Plus gets you those larger 18-inch wheels and a 12.3-inch digital instrument binnacle along with smart entry using the Lexus app.

Step up to the Premium Plus Design car though and there’s 18-inch machined alloy wheels and bi-tone paint adding a further touch of class. Takumi grade gets you 18-inch machined alloy wheels, bi-tone paint plus a 13-speaker Mark Levinson audio system as key benefits, as does the Takumi Design car. The latter two trim levels are quite evenly matched in that respect.

Those top of the range trim options make the Lexus LBX even more of a looker, so if you’re looking to make a style statement then expect to pay more for the privilege.

Impressive as the interior is, the performance is less so, and there are space limitations to consider too. This is billed as a five-seater, but it’s hard to imagine that being realistic unless your back seats are occupied by very small children.

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If you’ve always wanted a Lexus but smaller, the new LBX may well fit the bill. It’s a compact and bijou smallish car, which is also its biggest drawback as space is limited if you’ve got four adults to move around. That’s probably why Lexus says it’s aimed at a younger audience than its larger models. The Lexus LBX will therefore be well suited to couples or those with small children, although boot space is limited, too.

However, if you like to travel light and enjoy the premium aspect of the Lexus brand, there’s no reason why you won’t find the LBX perfectly suited to your needs. In fact, the LBX might also find a home alongside someone with an existing larger Lexus as it boasts all the same things people love about the brand, albeit in a smaller form.

The Lexus LBX comes with just one motor to pick, which is a brand new 1.5-litre self-charging hybrid, making your powertrain route a straightforward one. What isn’t quite so simple is deciding on the Lexus LBX model to buy as unlike many manufacturers, the Japanese carmaker has produced quite a convoluted range of options.

Based on the cars we’ve driven, the Lexus LBX Premium Plus Design is a good bet and our pick of the crop. You get the benefit of the bi-tone exterior colours, which really make the car pop, plus there are some very cool 18-inch machined alloy wheels adding the icing on the cake. Similarly impressive is the interior with perforated Tahara synthetic leather feeling quite opulent to the touch.

Of course, if you crave a little more luxury the next trim up, the Takumi grade, makes sense despite being a few thousand more. It gets you some posh trimmings, like an electric adjustable memory seat for the driver, which is missing in the lowlier cars. There’s also the benefit of the Mark Levinson Sound System plus slightly more plush semi-aniline leather seats. It seems hard to justify the just under £40k of the top spec Takumi Design level though.

Given the size of the smaller car market, there are plenty of options when looking at models similar to the Lexus LBX. Both the Audi Q2 and MINI Countryman are cited as the most likely rivals, but there are bigger and smaller variations at a range of budgets to lure people away from the pull of premium. You could also check out the Volvo XC40, the Volkswagen T-Cross, the Ford Puma, the Vauxhall Mokka or the Mazda CX-30.

Comfort and design: Lexus LBX interior

"As you’d expect from a Lexus, the interior of the LBX is pretty good, though interestingly it’s the cloth-covered Urban model that seems to fare better in terms of offering comfort and sound-deadening."

Lexus LBX Review 2024

There are plenty of trim options, with multiple colour and stitching variants, all of which work to good effect. Where black and grey plastic have been used the standard is generally impressive, with only cubby holes in the doors feeling a bit sub-par. 

The central infotainment screen is delicious to look at and works as it should, offering up easy smartphone connectivity, plus there’s the bonus of ‘Hey Lexus’ speech recognition. Lower priced models are not very generous when it comes to luxury expectations with manual seat adjustment for those who don’t want to spend on Takumi models and above. There’s also the drawback of limited legroom in the rear and although the interior feels good back there, any enjoyment of it is going to be limited unless the front seats are pushed forwards.

Buy a Lexus and you immediately enter a world that calls on Japanese inspiration to make its mark felt. There’s what Lexus calls an Omotenashi-inspired cabin with a Tazuna cockpit design that oozes quality for the most part. Admittedly, the premium edge starts to slip as you prod and tap deeper down into the cabin area, but generally the quality and finish found inside and out of the LBX is top class. Ambient lighting, with up to 50 different colour options in premium editions, help set the scene nicely too.

The interior of the Lexus LBX is a nice place to be, with a 12.3-inch digital instrument binnacle and a 9.8-inch central touchscreen featuring Lexus Link Connect, which sits in the middle of the dashboard. 

There’s compatibility with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, plus the option of a digital key subscription that lets up to five users both unlock and start the car. The 13-speaker audio system from Mark Levinson, though the entry-level Urban model only sports a six-speaker setup. Meanwhile, there are front and rear USB ports on the plusher models, with just a front USB for the base-level Urban edition.

The Lexus LBX is the Japanese brand’s smallest car to date and is therefore well suited to the needs of urban dwellers. It’s easy to drive around town thanks to its compact dimensions and a tight turning circle. 

However, the trade-off is that the LBX is quite small inside. If you’ve got the seats right back this isn’t much of an issue up front, but sitting in the back means you’ll either want to be very small or happy to feel squashed in. 

The Lexus LBX therefore works for families with small kids or couples with no kids at all, even though it’s officially a five-seat vehicle. Similarly, the boot space isn’t too generous either. Most models get 402 litres, although cars with all-wheel drive see that shrink to just 317 litres. For comparison, you’ll get 456 litres in the Ford Puma and 452 litres in the Volvo XC40. Fold down the back seats, which are split 60/40, and that space expands to 994 litre

Handling and ride quality: What is the Lexus LBX like to drive?

"Hop into the driver’s seat and the LBX’s premium edge is immediately apparent, with a steering wheel that feels great in your hands, backed up with slick dials, graphics and fonts."

Lexus LBX Review 2024

Put the car into drive mode using the chunky little centre console-mounted shifter and the LBX moves off in silence, thanks to the low-speed silky-smooth setup of the hybrid powertrain.

Pick up speed as you head through urban areas and that dinky three-cylinder petrol engine quickly jumps into life. While you’re in town it’s barely audible, especially if you’re trundling at low speeds through busy city streets. Find a gap in the traffic though and your enthusiastic right-foot will soon have it revving hard. 

The urgency of the engine tone gathers momentum once you hit motorway slip roads too, while overtaking underlines just how hard the little powertrain has to work in order to get the job done, especially thanks, or perhaps no thanks, to the e-CVT transmission. Granted, the automatic box makes driving simpler, but it reduces your engagement with the delivery of the power. Even if you’ve got a featherlight touch with your right foot, it’s hard to get the engine and e-CVT pairing to work in total harmony all the time. 

We think the Lexus LBX works well around town, especially with its suitably light power steering setup, but it’s less pleasing on longer hauls where more is asked of it. The ride quality is good though, with the chunky sidewalls of the higher profile tyres on the LBX helping to smooth away road bumps and retain a strong level of comfort.

Similarly impressive is the way the Lexus LBX goes around corners. It’s a small car but it’s high, with a 220mm ground clearance, but there’s less body roll than expected. This is helped by the addition of MacPherson struts at the front and torsion beam suspension at the rear. The all-wheel-drive car fares even better at the back than the front-wheel-drive-only car, thanks to a double-wishbone with trailing arms arrangement, which has been used to accommodate the E-Four system. If you’re keen on pushing your car, the AWD model might therefore be well worth thinking about.

The compact design of the Lexus LBX makes it easy to manoeuvre and park, with reversing behind helped by a dashboard camera that supplements the acceptable, though reasonably limited view out of the rear window.

There’s just one engine option available for the Lexus LBX, which is a 1.5-litre self-charging hybrid with the three-cylinder engine working in unison with hybrid battery that drives the front two wheels. An all-wheel drive model is also available. The higher-grade models (Takumi, Takumi Design and Original Edition) are fitted with a Sequential Shiftmatic system. 

This effectively lets you decide on the shifting using paddles just in front of the steering wheel. Up on one side and down on the other, which is simple enough. However, considering just how few people seem to use this more manual approach it seems hard to see why Lexus has bothered, but the option for human intervention is there nonetheless.

The engine delivers 136 PS and a 0-62mph time of 9.2 seconds for the front-wheel drive model and 9.6 with all-wheel drive. Official figures show fuel economy of up to 62.8mpg and CO2 emissions from 102g/km.

This being a Lexus, and therefore a premium brand, one of the key expectations is that the refinement will be high and the noise levels low. While this certainly appears to be the case on models at the higher end of the trim specification, lower-end trim levels don’t quite provide the same experience. Curiously, the Lexus LBX feels a little quieter when it comes with the cloth trim as opposed to cars with the leather-type upholstery.

There’s a touch wind noise from the door mirrors and around the side windows, and taking a little more edge off the refinement is the whine of the small engine when pushed, spoiling the otherwise serene surroundings of the cabin. Oh, and there are the obligatory bongs coming from the driver assistance and monitoring system too.

The Lexus LBX features a raft of the now-expected driving aids, which may or may not improve your enjoyment of the car depending on your tolerance for audible warnings. All UK models in the range come with 5 Star NCAP.

Head for the higher-end models, like the Takumi edition if you want to enjoy additional aids via the Advanced Safety Pack, that comes with the likes of a panoramic view monitor, lane change assist and front cross traffic alert.

MPG and fuel costs: What does a Lexus LBX cost to run?

"There’s a 36-litre fuel tank fitted to the Lexus LBX and thanks to the hybrid setup, official WLTP combined cycle figures indicate fuel economy of up to 62.8mpg along with CO2 emissions from 102g/km."

Lexus LBX Review 2024

Thanks to its dinky little 1.5-litre hybrid engine the Lexus LBX is reasonably frugal, as illustrated above. Meanwhile, the company is also doing its bit by offering synthetic and vegan-friendly options for the interior, thereby reducing the leather content that used to be prevalent on many models in the Lexus range.

Lexus regularly comes top of the polls when it comes to reliability and customer satisfaction. It therefore seems easy to expect the same levels of quality with the new Lexus LBX, although with cars only just arriving in the UK, it’s too early to confirm whether the brand’s stellar reputation will continue to dominate customer service opinion polls.

Insurance groups are still to be determined, but we'll update this as soon as they're revealed.

The Lexus LBX is a hybrid and as such it will currently cost you £170 per year from the second year of taxation. 

Pick one of the LBX models in a pricier trim that tips the price over £40,000 when new and you will also have to pay a surcharge of £390 for five years from the second year of taxation - that applies even if you're not the first owenr. The first-year tax rates haven’t been confirmed at the time of writing.

How much should you be paying for a Lexus LBX?

"The Lexus LBX is a new-to-market car with four UK core model grades including Urban, Premium, Premium Plus and Takumi."

Lexus LBX Review 2024

These are supplemented by Premium Plus Design and Takumi Design models with a top specification Original Edition topping off the range but limited to just 250 cars. Current on-the-road pricing starts from £29,995 for the Lexus LBX Urban and rises to £40,545 for the Takumi Design AWD model. The limited Original Edition costs £39,995.

Lexus probably thought they were doing the right thing by offering up the LBX with a host of trim levels, although this seems in direct contrast to some manufacturers who are doing the opposite and simplifying theirs. Therefore, if you’re new to the model or, indeed, the brand as a whole, the Lexus LBX is available with a dizzying array of trim options that come across as slightly bewildering. 

Interestingly, European cars come with so-called ‘Atmospheres’, which can then be supplemented by a selection of ‘packs’. UK cars condense a lot of those features and functions into the basic seven car trim selection. Starting from the top down then, UK grade cars therefore consist of the Original Edition, Takumi Design, Takumi, Premium Plus Design, Premium Plus, Premium and the entry-level Urban.

What that means is the top-of-the-pile grade Original Edition (actually a limited model) comes with 5 Star NCAP, pre collision-system, driver monitor, front and rear parking sensors, blind spot monitor and electrochromic wing mirrors, rear cross traffic alert, safe exit assist, camera washer, 9.8-inch Lexus Link Connect, Lexus Safety System+ 3.0, rear view camera, seat heater, USB/wireless charger and rain sensors.

There’s also lumbar support, powered mirrors, power rear hatch, front and rear Smart Entry, 12.3-inch Tazuna cockpit, Nanoe X operating system, Digital Key, fog lamps and cornering lamps, AHS headlamps, Mark Levinson audio system, head-up display, remote parking, panoramic view monitor, front cross traffic alert and lane change assist.

The launch edition car also adds custom black stitching, matt black alloys, Original Edition styling for the front bumper and an Original Edition Badge.

Trim grades below this get 5 Star NCAP, 9.8-inch Lexus Link Connect, Lexus Safety System+ 3.0, rear view camera, seat heater, USB/wireless charger and rain sensors plus lumbar support. Takumi Design and Takumi grades get powered mirrors, power rear hatch, front and rear Smart Entry, 12.3-inch Tazuna cockpit, Nanoe X operating system, Digital Key, fog lamps and cornering lamps, AHS headlamps, Mark Levinson audio system, head-up display, remote parking, panoramic view monitor, front cross traffic alert and lane change assist.

Premium Plus Design and Premium Plus have the benefit of 5 Star NCAP, 9.8-inch Lexus Link Connect, Lexus Safety System+ 3.0, rear view camera, seat heater, USB/wireless charger and rain sensors plus lumbar support. Takumi Design and Takumi grades get powered mirrors, power rear hatch, front and rear Smart Entry, 12.3-inch Tazuna cockpit and the Nanoe X operating system.

Premium and Urban cars get 5 Star NCAP, the 9.8-inch Lexus Link Connect, Lexus Safety System+ 3.0, rear view camera, seat heater, USB/wireless charger and rain sensors along with lumbar support

UK specification cars get some additional extras, with the Takumi grade having privacy glass and dynamic headlight control. The Premium Plus and Premium benefits from privacy glass too.

In fact, it takes time and some degree of patience to decipher what you get, with only the basic Lexus LBX Urban grade being simple to fathom. And even the Base Standard model featuring front-wheel drive, 9.8-inch Lexus Link Connect, Lexus Safety System+ and a rear-view camera can be optionally equipped with a Comfort Pack, of which there are two versions – one without 5 Star NCAP or a Comfort Pack with 5 Star NCAP that features Smart Entry.

This is where things start to get more interesting, or complicated depending on your keenness to personalise your LBX. Lexus offers four so-called Atmospheres, which come on top of the standard Comfort Pack. All of the four Atmospheres come equipped with the Comfort Pack as standard, but buyers can also select Tech, Premium or Advanced Packs, all of which build on top of the previous specification. Lexus illustrates this with the example that if you choose the Advanced Pack the model will feature everything included in the Premium, Tech and Comfort Packs.

To give you an overview of what you can expect to get we’ll start with the Comfort Pack. This features front-wheel drive, 9.8-inch Lexus Link Connect, Lexus Safety System+, rear view camera, heated seats, USB/wireless charger, rain sensors and lumbar support. The 5-star NCAP edition adds BSM and EC mirrors, a driver monitor and parking sensors at the front and back.

The Tech Pack includes all of that plus front-wheel or all-wheel-drive, powered mirrors, power tailgate, smart entry, a 12.3-inch Tazuna Cockpit and Nanoe X operating system. The Premium Pack adds four-wheel or all-wheel drive, a digital key plus fog lamps, cornering lamps and AHS headlamps. The Advanced Packs builds on that by offering front-wheel or all-wheel-drive, a Mark Levinson audio system, head-up display, remote parking functionality, PVM and FCTA along with Lane Change Assist.

Ask the heycar experts: common questions

No, the Lexus LBX is a hybrid small SUV.
The price of the Lexus LBX starts at £29,995.
Closest rivals to the Lexus LBX are the Audi Q2, MINI Countryman and Volvo XC40.

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