Lexus Prepares Hybrid SUV to Compete With BMW X1 and Audi Q3 image

Lexus will unveil at the 2014 Geneva auto show a production-ready premium compact SUV, which will compete with BMW’s X1 and Audi’s Q3.

According to an anonymous source, the hybrid model will be based on the Toyota RAV4 compact SUV and will be place below the current Lexus RX 450h. This vehicle will be Lexus’ first offering in the continuously growing SUV segment.

This year at the Detroit auto show, Kazuo Ohara, Lexus chief, said that the automaker will unveil a concept version of the SUV in November at the Tokyo auto show. The compact SUV is expected to use Toyota’s hybrid powertrain, which is currently used for the Lexus IS 300h, fitted with a four-cylinder 2.5-liter gasoline engine mated to an electric motor.

Automakers do their best to add small SUVs as soon as possible to their lineups, due to increasing popularity for models, such as the Q3, Opel Mokka or Nissan Juke. IHS Automotive predicts that small SUV sales will surpass 500,000 units by 2015 from 154,461 units in 2012.

On another matter, last month Lexus announced its plans to attend the 2013 Goodwood Festival of Speed, for the first time ever. The automaker will showcase the 2014 Lexus IS lineup and the Gazoo Racing LFA, which triumphed back in 2012 at the 24 Hours of the Nurburgring.