Lexus built a hydrogen-burning UTV concept for some reason

Seriously though, why?

Kyle Hyatt Former news and features editor
Kyle Hyatt (he/him/his) hails originally from the Pacific Northwest, but has long called Los Angeles home. He's had a lifelong obsession with cars and motorcycles (both old and new).
Kyle Hyatt
2 min read
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Of all the concepts we expected from Lexus, this was definitely not one of them.


Look, I'm going to just cut to the chase here: built a hydrogen-powered UTV concept. I know, I know, it's weird and it doesn't make any sense, and I promise, it's only going to get weirder the more I explain it.

The Lexus ROV concept -- ROV stands for recreational off-highway vehicle – was announced on Thursday, and Lexus' European arm is billing it as "a luxury lifestyle experience to drivers wishing to discover the wilderness in style." That's debatable, but what's actually cool is that its little 1.0-liter engine burns hydrogen.

That's right, it burns hydrogen. It's not a fuel-cell vehicle; it's a combustion engine similar to what has been playing with in its Super Taikyu Corolla Sport and GR Yaris models. Why would Lexus pick this oddball powertrain for its first side-by-side? Speed of combustion, friends. Hydrogen burns much faster than gasoline, which Lexus says will make the little engine feel more responsive.

OK, we've got the hydrogen combustion engine, and that's paired with what appears to be a sequential manual transmission. That tracks, because I highly doubt that Lexus built this bad buggy from the ground up. It seems more likely that it started with a side-by-side from Yamaha or Polaris or the like and then went to town on it with the engine and styling. 

Lexus isn't dishing on performance or mechanical specs at all, so we're left to speculate wildly about its capabilities, which, we're sure, are excellent. What Lexus is talking about is the styling and the fact that this concept is meant to show that Lexus' reputation for build quality can be applied to pretty much anything. The styling of the ROV takes some cues from the brand's road cars, like the swoosh-like front lights and the shape of the spindle grille for the front end.

Does this whole exercise make any real sense? Nope. Do I want to drive the hell out of it in a spaghetti western-style Spanish desert kind of environment? You bet your ass I do, so I'll just wait by the phone until Lexus gives me a call.

We reached out to Lexus for comment and clarification, but didn't hear back in time for publication.

Lexus built a hydrogen-burning UTV and we're not totally sure why

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