Honey, I shrunk the Lexus, but it’s a tough little crossover aimed at the mega-cities of the future
THE Lexus LF-SA is the smallest Lexus you’ve ever seen. The pint-sized hatch looks rugged, tough and is hell-bent on carving out a niche for Lexus.
The LF-SA is the result of Lexus unleashing its European design office on a B-segment 2+2.
Its 3.4-metre length makes it shorter than the smallest Toyota on sale in Australia, the 3905mm-long Yaris, and not even as long as the smaller-still European-market Toyota Aygo, which is 3555mm long.
That makes it considerably smaller than the Prius-based Lexus CT200h, the current baby of the Lexus range.
The Lexus show car sports a version of the company’s trapezoidal grille, with a 3D angular pattern within it, a trend seen in Mercedes models such as the A-Class.
Its stance is upright, athletic yet solid, with a sweeping coupe-like roof and jagged, sharp edges we’ve seen in Lexus models such as the IS sedan and NX SUV.
There are L-shaped signatures in the rear lights, with a ‘flying buttress’ C-pillar leading to a high rump.
The LF-SA reflects the global trend towards urban living, with populations centred around ‘mega-cities’ with populations of 10 million or more.
That calls for smaller city cars, such as the BMW i3 electric vehicle, that are easy to manoeuvre and are often occupied by the driver only.
Unusually, the driver’s seat is fixed, instead having more adjustment in the steering column and the pedals to bring “the vehicle to the driver rather than vice-versa”.
The front passenger seat does slide to allow access to the rear seat.
The cabin offers an infotainment system with a holographic-display, a wide instrument binnacle and head-up display.
Lexus boss Alain Uyttenhoven told the Geneva motor show press audience that Lexus isn’t chasing the volumes of its predominantly German opposition, and is in a clear fourth place in terms of premium brands – ahead of Jaguar and well ahead of embattled Infiniti.
“We don’t want to please everybody,” he said, echoing the sentiments of Australian Lexus CEO Sean Hanley in an interview with Wheels that will appear in the April 2015 issue (on sale March 19).