Lexus LBX long-term test: report 3

Back in January we named this small SUV as the best new car to buy in 2024 – and now we're backing up that verdict by living with one...

Lexus LBX at What Car? cover shoot

The car Lexus LBX 1.5 Hybrid Premium Plus | Run by Darren Moss, deputy digital editor

Why it’s here To see what our much-praised Car of the Year is like to live with on a daily basis, providing frugal transport while not sacrificing SUV practicality.

Needs to be Frugal, fun to drive, and able to function as a mobile office when needed


Mileage 1013 List price £34,505 Target Price £34,171 Price as tested £35,605 Test economy 55.9mpg Official economy 61.4mpg Options None


15 June 2024 – Once, twice, three times a star

An old proverb states that good things often come in threes. And so it is that recently, three separate occasions have brought home to me just how well-rounded my Lexus LBX is.

First, I needed to return to my hometown to take part in a christening ceremony for the newborn son of some friends. Because of a rather hectic social schedule, however, I needed to drive the 100 miles or so there, do the ceremony and then come back home all in the same day. That meant about five hours spent at the wheel of my car.

Lexus LBX with Darren driving

I’d been prepared to end the day with aching joints and a stiff back having spent much of it sitting down, but the LBX’s comfortable, supportive seats meant that wasn’t the case.

Plenty of other small SUVs, including the Toyota Yaris Cross on which my LBX is based, can’t lay claim to such comfort, so this was definitely a plus point for the Lexus. Indeed, the driving position of my car is spot on. The pedals, seat and steering wheel are well aligned, and while the LBX doesn’t place me as far above the road as a Volkswagen T-Roc, there’s still decent visibility. The car’s narrow windscreen pillars help me to easily see out of it at junctions, too.

Next, my aged cat, Halo, needed to go to the vets to have some blood taken. Halo has a temperamental nature at the best of times, so having been starved of food prior to her visit, coerced into her carrying case and plonked on the back seat of my LBX, it’s safe to say she wasn’t in the best of moods. What she needed was a calm and comfortable drive to the vet’s office a few miles away – and again, the LBX delivered.

Cat on rear seats of Lexus LBX

We note in our full review of the LBX that while it joins most other hybrid cars in being well hushed when running on electric power alone, Lexus has also gone to great lengths to make my car’s 1.5-litre petrol engine as refined as possible.

Even when it fires up – which is easy to do, even in low-speed urban traffic – it’s neither loud nor coarse, and the only real din it creates is when you put your foot down hard, which causes the CVT automatic gearbox to send the revs flaring. 

In contrast, the LBX’s ride is a bit firmer than in the Audi Q2 I ran last year, but by weaving past any potholes, lumps and bumps as best I could and keeping a light foot on the accelerator, Halo arrived at her appointment with a slightly better mood than she might otherwise – at least until the vet got out her needle.

Finally, my car was needed for a What Car? cover shoot, where it would take pride of place for our story revealing the top 10 cars in every class. As our reigning Car of the Year, the LBX was front and centre in the final photo.

Chief photographer John Bradshaw corralled all of our star cars in position, and I was again pleased I’d gone for Passionate Yellow paintwork – standard fit on my Premium Plus trim – to help my car stand out even in this five-star crowd.

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