Lexus LF-Ch (2010) spied by CAR reader

Published: 25 January 2010

Lexus is about to unveil the new LF-Ch premium compact hatchback – launching it slap bang into the territory of posh Golfs, 1-series and A3s. And an anonymous CAR Online reader has helpfully sent in these spyshots of the new 2010 LF-Ch while it was on promotional duties ahead of its 2010 Geneva show debut.

Although the new Lexus remains largely under wraps, it’s clear from this trio of scoop pictures that the LF-Ch remains remarkably faithful to the concept car at the 2009 Frankfurt motor show.

Lexus LF-Ch (2010): what the production one will look like

Although the rear is peeking out from under a blanket, most of the LF-Ch remains shrouded. However, that rump is very similar to the 2009 concept’s. Only a repositioned number plate and plainer rear lights that drop the boomerang theme seem to have changed.

Remember that the show car sported a hybrid powertrain (hence the ‘h’ in the badge) and this remains the only motive power for production versions. At its official unveiling in Switzerland in early March 2010, only a petrol-electric model will be announced – no petrols or diesels are expected.

UK sales of the upmarket Lexus hatch will begin late in 2010 – and Lexus expects great things of its new C-sector entrant. This market is expanding rapidly, premium small hatchbacks expected to be the biggest of all premium segments in the next 12 months, analysts claim.

BMW’s experience with the 1-series is that it draws in a customer base 76% of whom have never owned a Beamer before. This is a stepping stone car, then. An introductory offer to the whisper-quiet world of Lexus refinement.

What’s underneath the striking new bodywork?

It’s still unclear (officially). Unofficially, we expect the new Lexus LF-Ch to sport a hybrid powertrain related to the 1.8-litre petrol-electric system in the latest Toyota Prius, but with more grunt than its 134bhp combined maximum. It’s smaller than a Prius, so performance should be sprightlier.

What with the Toyota FT-Ch – a new, smaller future addition to the Prius family unveiled at Detroit – Toyota is clearly finally making good on its promise to bombard the market with a hybrid in every sector this decade.

By Tim Pollard

Group digital editorial director, motoring news magnet