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It would be a bummer if Toyota didn’t put its potent three-cylinder engine in more cars besides the GR Yaris and GR Corolla. It looks as though the third model to get the 1.6-liter turbo unit might swap the Toyota badge for a Lexus logo. Unveiled as a concept in January at the Tokyo Auto Salon, the LBX Morizo RR has a high chance of reaching production.

The small Lexus crossover with the tiny but mighty G16E-GTS is all but confirmed to go on sale in select markets. Drive magazine spoke with Lexus Australia CEO John Pappas who said the LBX Morizo RR is “highly likely” going into production. However, he did add the potent derivative of the Yaris Cross-based LBX has not received the green light just yet.

While the Yaris Cross has spawned a GR Sport derivative, it’s all show without any extra go. The hotter LBX shown at the beginning of the year in Japan had the 300-horsepower engine from the GR Corolla, complete with the 295 pound-feet of torque found in the GR Corolla Morizo Edition. As opposed to the hot hatch we get here in the United States exclusively with a six-speed manual gearbox, the spicy LBX has a newly developed eight-speed, torque converter automatic transmission borrowed from the 2024 GR Yaris.

Australian magazine Drive points out Toyota chairman Akio Toyoda has already been heard saying the LBX Morizo RR will go on sale later in 2024. Fun fact – the company’s former President and CEO is known by his “Morizo” nickname when he’s sitting behind the wheel. If approved, the beefy derivative would have more than twice the power of the regular LBX, which makes do with 134 hp from its hybrid 1.5-liter engine.

We don’t get the LBX in North America where the UX is the smallest model Lexus sells. However, putting the punchy engine into the crossover might be a sign that Toyota and Lexus are eager to develop more fun cars. Ideally, some of them will get a US visa. The new R&D center in Japan with its interior designed to mimic the Nürburgring pit lane is where future GR (and Lexus) models are being developed. That gives us hope for more Gazoo Racing-branded cars.

The very same Akio Toyoda hinted at the end of last year about reviving the Celica. Earlier in 2023, Toyota President Koji Sato also suggested he’d like to see an eighth-generation model. Meanwhile, the FT-Se concept is a window into the future of an MR2-esque electric sports car.

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