Lexus LBX Takumi Design, highly refined

In Car Reviews, Hybrid, Lexus by Robin Roberts

Lexus returns to the compact executive market with its LBX petrol hybrid, a big player for the brand in the UK

Car Reviewed: Lexus LBX Takumi Design Hybrid

The prestige brand’s first foray into the smaller executive sector was just before the new millennium when it introduced the IS200 series. That was based on a highly successful Toyota Altezza and this time around, the LBX is derived from the Toyota Yaris Cross, but with some neat Lexus features, you’d rightly expect it to raise its game against rivals.

There is a very wide 11 model LBX range from Urban at almost £30,000, through Premium, Takumi and special editions, with two or all-wheel drive, up to £40,545. However, watch the five-year road tax implications for prices with options over the £40K mark.

As a self-charging hybrid, it utilises a 69kW electric motor to supplement the 1.5-litre petrol engine, which together push out over 100kW. The software seamlessly works to give good acceleration from standstill to on the move. It even integrates with the LBX navigation system to optimise recharging based on the user’s driving style and the road ahead.

The result gave us an overall fuel consumption of 62mpg. Still, at times, we saw it edge over 74mpg, which is remarkable for a 1.5-litre triple-pot engine, which some might consider too small for a family car and would have to be worked hard to sustain a respectable cross-country performance.

Noise levels were surprisingly low from the engine and the eCVT gearbox was silent as it effortlessly transferred engine power to the wheels. Nevertheless, there were some wheel and suspension noises over imperfect surfaces; otherwise, the LBX was a very relaxing environment.

The steering, with its height and reach adjustable column, was pin sharp and had a good turning circle, ideal in urban situations. It combined with a very clever self-parking system using a range of sensors around the car and camera imaging.

Road holding was surefooted, with no vices to catch an unwary driver and the handling was always responsive. LBX is not a sports car and its speed performance is what you might expect from a modern family crossover, but it felt more upmarket than its size might suggest and the way it covered ground was relaxed and refined.

Ride quality was also up a few notches despite the noisy suspension and 18-inch wheels & tyres. It felt like a car with a longer wheelbase and wider track.

The excellent wrap-around seats did a lot to cushion occupants. They had a wide range of adjustments in front and were fairly comfortable in the back, too, with their offset split backrest. Taller users may find the legroom a bit tight in the rear, but there was plenty of room up front.

Boot access was good, with a fair capacity if used five-up and it quickly doubled when the seats were dropped. Inside the cabin, the oddments room was modest with a multitude of bins, trays and cubby places, but all were on the small side and of questionable value as a result.

For the driver, everything immediately came to hand and foot and worked well and quietly. A multitude of column stalks included paddles to increase or decrease retardation, there was a button to choose the best operating mode for a journey and the instruments’ display was big, clear and could be altered to show various values.

A 12.3-inch infotainment display in the centre of the fascia held most functions and quickly adjusted with excellent clarity. Heating and ventilation were very effective, backed up by four powered windows.

I liked the powerful, effective, silent wash/wipe system and the long-range, wide-beam intelligent headlights, but the over-the-shoulder rear vision was restricted.

The new LBX range is undoubtedly competitively priced, a real rival to more established players in the sector and offers truly remarkable economy potential in a highly refined package.

For: Highly refined, sophisticated powertrain, very economical, good handling, smooth ride, comfortable interior

Against: Rear visibility restricted, tight rear legroom, some road & suspension noises, modest oddments room.


Author Rating 4/5

Car Reviewed: Lexus LBX Takumi Design hybrid

on the road price as tested £39,015

  • 0-62mph 9.2secs
  • Top speed 106mph
  • Mechanical 3cyl 1490cc petrol-electric
  • Fuel Consumption 62mpg combined
  • Max Power 134bhp
  • Torque 185Nm
  • Dimensions MM 4190 L/1830 W/1560 H
  • CO2 emissions 104g/km
  • Transmission eCVT
  • Bootspace 400 / 994 1itres (seats folded)

Robin Roberts

Motoring Journalist

Robin contributes to a number of outlets in Wales and the UK, including the Driving Force editorial syndication agency feeding the biggest regional news and feature publishers in Britain.

Robin was the longest serving chairman of The Western Group of Motoring Writers. He specialises in the Welsh automotive sector and motor related businesses with interests in Wales and publishes which covers news, features, trade and motor sport in Wales.

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