Lexus Is Bringing a New Concept to Detroit

Where will the flagship crossover slot in their ever-growing lineup?

Lexus USA Newsroom

Lexus announced not one but two shake-ups across its SUV lineup last week. First, the best-selling RX will be getting third-row seating to accommodate more passengers. Second, in an effort to boost storage room, the top-of-the-line LX will be available in a two-row configuration. The luxury automaker currently sells four SUV models and when the UX enters production, the addition of a fifth will prove that Lexus is beginning to understand what its customers want.

Enter the LF-1 Limitless. It is a new crossover concept set to debut next month at the North American International Auto Show. Little information has been released alongside the teaser image but there is plenty to speculate upon. Is this a second iteration of the UX Concept from last year? It would not be the first time Lexus has produced a follow-up to a concept car. In 2007, a second version of the LF-A Concept made its debut just two years after the first. It is unlikely that this is the case as the production UX is supposedly being revealed at the Geneva Motor Show in March of next year. The venue makes it unclear whether the upcoming subcompact crossover will find its way to the States, but demand from dealers may sway executives.

With the CT no longer on sale in North America, Lexus is lacking a sub-$35,000 entry-level vehicle. The LF-1 could be the Japanese carmaker's solution to that. Despite its demise in the United States and Canada, the CT continues to thrive in other parts of the world. The crossover concept may hint at a roomier successor to the ill-fated hybrid hatchback.

Lexus USA Newsroom

Lexus UX Concept

An analysis by Lexus Enthusiast of the Lexus teaser image suggests that this may be the first rear-wheel-drive crossover from Lexus. Perhaps, then, the LF-1 is the beginning of something new. Lexus is calling it a flagship crossover. Is Toyota's luxury division working on unibody replacement for the outdated body-on-frame GX and LX? The blue badge on the liftgate is indicative of a hybrid powertrain, however, the late HS and CT made it evident that hybrid exclusivity does not bode well.

The LF-1 Limitless "reflects the next genre in luxury crossover vehicles" according to Lexus. It could very well be previewing the next design direction for the upscale brand's line of SUVs. All will be uncovered next month at the Detroit Auto Show.