The Lexus LBX has been named the What Car? Car of the Year 2024, a first and highly significant major honour for the all-new compact SUV.
Announced at a presentation ceremony in London this evening, the award heralds the arrival of a model that is expected to be a game-changer, taking Lexus into new market territory with the potential to accelerate sales and attract many customers new to the brand.
The LBX was also winner of the Small SUV of the Year award, while Lexus also maintained its complete dominance in the Reliability Award, collecting the honour for an unmatched seventh consecutive year.
Steve Huntingford, What Car? Editor, said: “The What Car? Car of the Year title is reserved for the model which has moved things on farthest in the past 12 months, and this year that’s the Lexus LBX. Despite competing in the hugely competitive small SUV market, it’s a better all-rounder than every rival, not least because it is the first car in the class to combine hybrid efficiency with big-car luxury. And at a time when prices seem to be going through the roof, it offers these strengths for an amazingly tempting price.”
Turning to the Reliability Award, he continued: “Unlike other What Car? award categories, this one required no debate because in our latest Reliability Survey, Lexus finished top for the seventh consecutive year. Not only are its cars among the most dependable you can buy, dealers dealt with the few faults that did crop up swiftly, efficiently and without charging any of the Lexus owners who told us about their cars. With sister brand Toyota finishing second in the survey, it’s clear these standards are company-wide.”
Accepting the Car of the Year Award, Chris Hayes, Director of Lexus in the UK, said: “This honour will be a source of great pride and excitement for everyone who was involved in making the LBX, from the Chief Engineer to the teams working on the production line. It rewards the huge efforts that have been invested in making a small car that is truly premium in every respect, and authentically a Lexus product.
“There has been no compromise. The LBX has all the craftsmanship luxury, high quality and signature driving experience you will find in any car that wears our badge.
“I must also highlight the excellent work of our UK team and our retailers, whose commitment to our brand and delivery of our omotenashi customer service are the foundation of our seven years of success in the Reliability Award.”
The LBX is an all-new model for a new market for Lexus in the UK. It is set to be a game changer and key model for the brand’s growth.
The smallest Lexus yet, it is a self-charging hybrid electric crossover that’s designed to be accessible and easy to live with, in tune with contemporary style thinking that combines high quality with a casual feel. It offers much more than might be expected from a car in its class, embracing advanced technologies and making no compromise in the distinguishing Lexus qualities of luxury craftsmanship and omotenashi hospitality for everyone on board.
For the first time, Lexus has focused the development of a vehicle specifically on addressing the preferences, tastes and trends of the European region. The LBX will immediately become a core model in the brand’s line-up, with 25,000 sales targeted in Europe in 2024, more than 6,000 of these in the UK.
As a new entry point to Lexus’s model range, it offers strong appeal to a younger audience and those who may not have considered a Lexus before. It will also be an attractive proposition to those seeking to downsize or purchase a second vehicle, meeting their evolving lifestyle requirements.
The driving experience is central to the LBX’s customer appeal and extensive efforts have been invested to ensure the constant control, comfort and confidence of the Lexus Driving Signature are delivered in a small car package. The package of measures includes fundamental revisions to the GA-B global platform, lengthening the wheelbase, widening the track and increasing body rigidity. Packaging, suspension tuning, braking and steering all play their part in producing a car that responds instantly and faithfully to the driver’s inputs.
The new powertrain, a self-charging 1.5-litre hybrid electric system, is tuned for rewarding performance, with powerful, linear acceleration from start-up. This helps deliver low-speed agility that’s well-suited to the demands of urban driving. A new bi-polar nickel-metal hydride hybrid battery provides greater responsiveness from a smaller and lighter package, while extensive measures to address road noise and vibration ensure the kind of calm and quiet on-board experience appropriate for a premium model.
The LBX’s styling establishes a new Lexus identity with a “Resolute Look” front design that reinterprets the famous spindle grille. While the exterior dimensions are more compact than any other Lexus, the look is muscular and powerful. Inside, the emphasis is on driver-engagement with a focused driver’s cockpit based on Lexus’s tazuna concept. Inspired by a rider’s precise use of the reins to control a horse (the meaning of tazuna in Japanese) controls and information sources are arranged so that only small movements of hand and eye are required for operation, keeping the driver’s attention focused on the road. The cabin has a light, open feel with excellent visibility and an instrument panel that wraps around smoothly into the door panels.
In doing things differently with the LBX, Lexus has taken a new approach to building a model range, introducing choices that better reflect how today’s customers seek cars that match their personal style and character. The grade strategy is designed to give owners more freedom to express their individual taste, true to Lexus’s commitment to “making luxury personal, with a range of different styling details, colours, textures and finishes.
The all-new LBX is on sale now, with customer deliveries scheduled to commence in March.