Lexus is expected to debut two new SUVs at this year’s Tokyo Motor Show, according to patent applications filed by the Japanese carmaker.
As expected, the first will be the compact UX model first previewed in a concept (pictured, above) of the same name at last year’s Paris Motor Show.
For the new small crossover, the UK’s Autocar and Japan’s Excite report Lexus has trademarked the names ‘UX200’, ‘UX250’ and ‘UX250h’. Engines and specs could shadow the CT passenger car range, and the 250h is almost definitely a hybrid model.
The UX plugs a vital gap in Lexus’ line-up, and will serve as a rival to the European small SUV set including the BMW X1, Mercedes-Benz GLA and the Audi Q2 along with the Infiniti QX30 from Japan.
Plugging another gap for Lexus will reportedly be a new variant of the RX, which comes with seven seats.
The patent office received the paperwork for ‘RX 350L’ and ‘RX 450hL’ models recently, with the ‘L’ likely to represent 'long' or perhaps even ‘long wheelbase’.
As with the UX, the 450hL model is all but confirmed to carry a hybrid powerplant - the same unit as the ‘regular’ RX 450h’s 193kW/335Nm 3.5 litre six-cylinder / electric hybrid.
Currently, Lexus customers requiring seven seats in Australia have only the much larger, Toyota LandCruiser-based LX 570 to consider, which more than fits the bill with an eight-seat layout.
Both models could appear in overseas showrooms as early as next year, although the UX may not make its sales debut until 2019. Stay tuned.