Lexus UX small crossover may get hybrid version that Toyota C-HR won't


Lexus UX concept, 2016 Paris auto show

Lexus UX concept, 2016 Paris auto show

Enlarge Photo

For better or worse, many Toyota models ultimately donate their underpinnings to the Japanese automaker's Lexus luxury brand.

That may not give certain Lexus models the pedigree some purists desire, but it's a fact of life in the modern auto industry—and an effective way for Toyota to amortize development costs into higher-profit luxury cars.

It now appears certain that the recently-launched Toyota C-HR subcompact crossover will get a Lexus counterpart.

DON'T MISS: Lexus UX small crossover utility concept unveiled in Paris (Sep 2016)

That model will likely borrow the design and name of the Lexus UX concept that debuted at last fall's 2016 Paris Motor Show.

It may also get the hybrid powertrain the U.S.-market C-HR won't.

The UX is "not so far away," and, like the C-HR, will be aimed at younger buyers, Lexus International executive vice president Yoshihiro Sawa confirmed to Australian automotive website Motoring at the recent Geneva Motor Show.

Lexus UX concept, 2016 Paris auto show

Lexus UX concept, 2016 Paris auto show

Enlarge Photo

The original UX concept featured the extroverted styling that is typical of Lexus these days, but the automaker did not disclose technical details at the time of its Paris reveal.

However, Lexus applied for trademarks on the  “UX 250” and “UX 250h” names in Europe prior to that, indicating plans for both gasoline and hybrid versions.

The Toyota C-HR is available with a single, gasoline-only powertrain in the U.S., although Europe and Japan get a hybrid version as well.

ALSO SEE: Another tiny SUV? No AWD for 2018 Toyota C-HR subcompact crossover (Nov 2016)

In Japan at least, the C-HR will likely soon get competition from the similarly-sized Nissan Juke, which is expected to get Nissan's new e-Power series-hybrid system.

In the U.S., the C-HR is also exclusively front-wheel drive, calling into question its credentials as a "crossover."

In both Europe and Japan, however, the C-HR can be ordered with an all-wheel drive system as an option.

Lexus UX concept, 2016 Paris auto show

Lexus UX concept, 2016 Paris auto show

Enlarge Photo

The higher base price of the Lexus-badged UX may justify the addition of the hybrid and all-wheel-drive options, though.

Both of the crossovers currently in the Lexus lineup offer hybrid powertrain options, as do their Toyota counterparts.

The Lexus RX shares underpinnings with the Toyota Highlander, and both models have been available as hybrids across multiple generations.

CHECK OUT: Nissan Juke concept to get e-Power series hybrid system as well

The smaller NX launched with a hybrid powertrain option that was added to the crossover's Toyota RAV4 counterpart a year later, during a subsequent refresh of that model.

Toyota has suggested that it sees little market demand for a C-HR Hybrid among its younger target audience, many of them living in more urban environments.

But it also suggested that if such demand does materialize, it could offer the C-HR with a hybrid system—although we're still betting the future Lexus UX small crossover would get it first.

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