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Small Luxury Crossovers Considered


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21. November 2013

Smaller is better in the luxury space it seems when it comes to the execution of new crossover vehicles. Last week we saw the introduction of the Lincoln MKC, and this week Lexus has announced a “concept” at the Tokyo Motor Show, the LF-NX Turbo.

Lexus_LF_NX_Concept_007

Speaking of a hybrid-powered variant of the LF-NX that appeared at this year’s Frankfurt Motor Show, Mark Templin, executive vice president, Lexus International, said, “We intend to take advantage of the growing compact crossover SUV segment and expand our SUV line-up in the future. The new LF -NX concept explores the potential for a compact crossover within the Lexus model range. This concept is youthful, confident and innovative. It features a new bold look that gives an insight into the future evolution of the Lexus L-finesse design language.”

So what does “compact” mean in this context?

By way of comparison, the Lexus RX, the crossover that created the standard in the category, has an overall length of 187.8 in. and a 107.9-in. wheelbase.

The LF-NX Turbo is 182.7-in. long and has a 106.3-in. wheelbase.

As the name implies, the LF-NX Turbo has a turbocharged engine. It is a 2.0-liter, four-cylinder model, which is the first turbocharged engine in the Lexus lineup (well, it will be when a version of this car comes to production).

It is notable that the Lincoln MKC is available with. . .a 2.0-liter turbocharged four, too.

Lexus_LF_NX_Concept_008

Manufacturers of mold and die making equipment, as well as those who make stamping presses, ought to be exceedingly interested in the LF-NX Turbo. There is more formed and shaped sheet metal on this vehicle—diamond motifs abound more than they do at Tiffany’s—than on two RXs.

What’s interesting about this new effort in the world of compact crossovers for a young, urban market is that Acura, with the first-generation RDX, which was introduced back in 2006, was way ahead of the game.

Notably, that vehicle also featured Honda’s first North American deployment of a turbocharged four-cylinder engine. Unlike those for the LF-NX Turbo and the Lincoln MKC, the RDX turbo was a 2.3-liter, not a 2.0 liter. Of course, that was then and this isn’t.

SCAN0179

June 2006: Kickin’ it old school

The current RDX, incidentally, has a strong position in the category. Two of the models that Jim Farley, who currently heads Lincoln (and who once headed Lexus), cites as key competitors to the MKC are the Audi Q5 and the BMW X3.

According to Autodata, through October, there were 36,872 RDX models moved, 31,979 Q5s, and 22,884 X3s.

And it is probably worth noting that Lexus sold 81,258 RXs, which just goes to show that there is still health in the slightly-larger crossover category.

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