Lexus unveils LBX hot-hatch concept with Toyota GR Yaris power, a chance for showrooms - SUV VEHICLE

Lexus unveils LBX hot-hatch concept with Toyota GR Yaris power, a chance for showrooms


The Lexus LBX Morizo RR Concept is the result of Toyota’s chairman wanting a luxury version of the GR Yaris – a desire which could eventually reach production.

Japanese car-maker Lexus has showcased a unique concept at this year’s Tokyo Auto Salon motor show by kitting out its new LBX city SUV with parts from Toyota’s performance division – and it could one day come to local showrooms.

Dubbed the LBX Morizo RR Concept – using the ‘Morizo’ pseudonym adopted by Toyota Chairman Akio Toyoda in racing – the Lexus concept car is a mash-up of the city SUV and Toyota’s GR Yaris and GR Corolla hot hatches.

Rather than the Australian-bound LBX’s 100kW 1.5-litre three-cylinder engine and electric motors, the Morizo RR Concept is powered by a turbocharged 1.6-litre three-cylinder engine from the Toyota GR Corolla Morizo Edition – developing 224kW and 400Nm.

Drive is sent to all four wheels through a ‘Direct Shift’ eight-speed automatic transmission – a gearbox which will make its production debut in the facelifted Toyota GR Yaris, and has been touted by Mr Toyoda as a “game changer”.

Significant changes have also been made to the LBX’s appearance, including more aggressive bumpers, 20mm wider wheel arches, 19-inch aluminium wheels – shod in 235/45 tyres – and 10mm lower sports suspension.

Inside there are unique sports seats and yellow seat belts, giving the cabin a sportier feeling to go with the aggressive exterior.

Rather than explicitly denying plans for the LBX Morizo RR to make a showroom debut, Lexus said it is “yet to confirm when a production version [of the model] will be offered” in a media statement.

The Lexus LBX is based on the same platform as the Toyota Yaris Cross and the Yaris, meaning the cost of development to transplant the GR Yaris’ high-performance parts into the luxury city SUV would be much lower than if it was a standalone model.

The standard Lexus LBX is due in Australia between January and June 2024, arriving in two grades – and likely becoming the brand’s least-expensive hybrid on sale locally.

MORE:Search Used Lexus Cars for Sale
MORE:Search Used Lexus Cars for Sale
Jordan Mulach

Jordan Mulach is Canberra/Ngunnawal born, currently residing in Brisbane/Turrbal. Joining the Drive team in 2022, Jordan has previously worked for Auto Action, MotorsportM8, The Supercars Collective and TouringCarTimes, WhichCar, Wheels, Motor and Street Machine. Jordan is a self-described iRacing addict and can be found on weekends either behind the wheel of his Octavia RS or swearing at his ZH Fairlane.

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