2012 Lexus RX 450hEnlarge Photo
That doesn’t mean that a Lexus-badged compact crossover isn’t coming, and, in fact, Kaizen Factor may have unearthed the best evidence yet of its existence. Digging through U.S. Trademark applications, the Lexus enthusiast site came across Toyota filings for the names NX 200t and NX 300h.
Given that the naming convention fits Lexus and not Toyota, and seeing how the brand uses the second-position X as a designator for crossovers and SUVs (like the RX, GX and LX), it appears that Lexus’ RAV4-based luxury crossover will be called the NX.
Expect power for the NX 200t to come from a 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine, set for introduction in the 2014 model year. The NX 300h will use the Atkinson-cycle engine and electric motor powertrain already employed in the Lexus ES 300h, the Toyota Camry Hybrid and the soon-to-be-introduced Toyota Avalon Hybrid.
Lexus was also rumored to be working on a seven-seat crossover to supplement the RX range and give buyers an alternative to the GX, which is too truck-like for some buyers (ditto for the LX 570). While that may still be in the works, Lexus really needs a compact offering to counter sales of the BMW X1, Audi Q3 and Acura RDX first.
We’d expect to see Lexus debut the NX crossover early on the 2013 auto show circuit, with sales likely beginning in late 2013 or early 2014.