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Lexus Reveals Its Compact-Crossover Vision with LF-NX Hybrid

Last updated Thursday, September 26, 2013 08:00 ET

Boldly Styled Concept Hints at Brand's Plans for Fast-Growing Segment

Watertown, 09/26/2013 / SubmitMyPR /

In recent years, even upscale car buyers have been downsizing their rides for added fuel efficiency, and because of that, the luxury compact crossover segment has emerged as a legitimate battleground for automakers. Lexus recently hinted that it might soon be entering that fast-growing class as well, revealing its LF-NX hybrid concept at the 2013 Frankfurt Motor Show earlier this month.

While Lexus has been revamping its entire lineup with more aggressive styling, the LF-NX compact crossover looks particularly well-suited to capture the hearts of younger buyers, donning a supersized version of the brand's new spindle grille, three diamond-shaped LED headlights and sharply sculpted sheet metal. Inside, the LF-NX is based on the same "Human-Oriented" L-finesse design theme found in the Lexus LFA supercar and the all-new 2014 Lexus IS, with the center console stretching the length of the cabin and a brushed-metal finish accenting much of the driver-focused cockpit. Lexus also claims that the 2.5-liter Atkinson-cycle engine and electric motor in the LF-NX provide similar performance to gas-only luxury compact crossovers while offering superior fuel efficiency.

"Though we don't know when Lexus' compact crossover might hit the market, the LF-NX sends a clear message that the automaker is committed to a forward-looking design that it probably wouldn't have risked developing in the past," said Vincent Liuzzi, general manager of Lexus of Watertown, a Lexus dealer in Boston. "And as we've seen with Lexus' existing hybrid models, a production version of the LF-NX would produce highly engaging performance while saving its owners more at the gas pump."

Lexus' current hybrid crossover is the midsize RX 450h, which couples a 3.5-liter V6 gas engine with an electric motor to output a total of 295 horsepower while returning a class-leading 30 mpg in combined city and highway driving. For the 2013 model year, the Lexus RX hybrid received a new Sport mode, which optimizes throttle mapping, steering effort and transmission shifting for maximum responsiveness.

Now entering the 2014 model year, the entire Lexus RX lineup continues to win over buyers with its sportier styling and powerful-yet-efficient drivetrains. In August the RX led all luxury utility vehicles in U.S. sales, moving more than 11,400 units for a 32 percent increase year-over-year. Sales of the midsize crossover SUV are now up by 10 percent year-to-date through August compared to the same period in 2012, totaling 65,678 units.

"The Lexus RX delivers on all the qualities that luxury crossover buyers want, whether it's performance, versatility, style or efficiency," added Liuzzi. "We'd expect the same balanced package from a Lexus compact crossover, though it would likely take the brand's bolder design language to a new level to attract younger drivers."

About Lexus of Watertown:
Lexus of Watertown is a recipient of multiple Elite of Lexus awards, given annually to dealerships that showcase overall excellence. They have a wide selection of new and certified pre-owned Lexus models, in addition to an exemplary service department that keeps customers coming back. Easily accessible from MetroWest, the North Shore and the South Shore, Lexus of Watertown is just minutes off the Mass Pike between Route 128 and Route 93. For more information, visit them online at www.lexusofwatertown.com, call them at 888-677-9785, like them on Facebook at www.facebook.com/LexusWatertown, or stop by their showroom at 330 Arsenal Street in Watertown, Mass.