Starring alongside Toyota’s Prius-previewing 1/X concept at Tokyo later this month will be a show car designed to provide a flavour of the future replacement for Toyota’s premium-brand SUV, the Lexus RX, and it’s this; the Lexus LF-Xh concept. The LF-Xh will make its world debut at the Tokyo Show this month, only four years after the launch of the latest shape RX in 2003. However, the last four years have been long ones in the development of the hybrid car, and with the hi-tech hybrid-powered RX400h being such a big part of the RX range, it seems Toyota thinks that the timing right to preview Lexus’ next crossover SUV. The LF-Xh is a styling mock-up, and its big message seems to be that while the current RX is all soft curves and eco-civility, the next one will be sharper, tougher, more upscale and yes, even a little teutonic-looking. In other words, it’ll be ready to take anything Mercedes, BMW or Audi can throw at it.
Slightly longer, wider and shorter than RX
The show model stands 4800mm long, making it a little bigger than today’s RX400h. It’s based on a longer 2800mm wheelbase than the current car, and that very solid-looking body is 50mm wider. Height, however, drops by 40mm. Inside that uppercrust, high-waisted body, there’s a sumptuous five seat cabin dominated by an inventive twisting centre console sprouting from the dash. Tech details are thin on the ground. At this point in time, Lexus is talking about an all-wheel drive V6 hybrid powertrain like that of the current RX400h, as well as the car’s conventional V6 petrol powertrain. Driving performance, economy and emissions are all said to be improved, but LF-Xh’s raison-d’etre also seems to be about two other things. Firstly, its mission is to give Lexus sales and image a boost in Japan and second, to counter the BMW X6 crossover SUV.