The entry-premium crossover segment is heating up to be the new battlefield for premium marques, with the BMW X1, Audi Q3, and the forthcoming Ford Escape-based Lincoln MKC. Now Lexus wants in on the action with a model slotted below the RX, according to Automotive News.

The new small SUV will reportedly be based on the RAV4, and will be aimed primarily at the European and North American markets. Power is said to come from a hybrid drivetrain employing a 2.5-liter four-cylinder, similar to that utilized in the Lexus ES 300h sedan and Toyota Camry and Avalon Hybrid models.

At this year's Detroit show, Lexus chief Kazuo Ohara hinted the model could be previewed by a concept model at the 2013 Tokyo auto show in November. The small premium crossover space has lately gotten crowded with entries from Buick, the aforementioned BMW and Audi models, and the Escape-based Lincoln around the corner. Total small SUV sales were 154,461 in 2012, but are expected to grow exponentially to 500,000 units by 2015. SUVs have also been the fastest-growing segment among luxury brands globally.

Source: Automotive News (Subscription required)