With the introduction of the CT200h for model year 2011, Lexus has solidified their place as the class leader in the hybrid market. Lexus is already a driving force in this vehicle segment, if they have not actually yet cornered the market. Lexus will continue to dominate the class with their line up of luxury XUVs, executive class and compact family sedans.
The CT200h is powered by a 1.8 liter gasoline engine and a 650 volt electric motor. The driver may choose from four driving modes, allowing for an enhanced throttle response or, to gain maximum fuel efficiency. An EV mode (Electric Vehicle), allows the car to be driven for a short distance using only battery power, ECO mode is for enhanced fuel economy and Normal driving mode, tries to balance the two. The “Sport,” mode is simply must have for those of us who are tree huggers, as well as, “driving enthusiasts?”
The nice folks over at Lindsay Lexus of Alexandria actually let me take a CT out for a spin. I must admit… I was quite impressed! The car had a smooth and responsive feel, even in Normal driving mode! As my test drive took place during rush hour, I decided to merely cruise the side streets. I found that I did not even feel as though I needed to “shift,” (really, you don’t so much shift as you do select between modes), into the Sport mode. Not at all like with the somewhat sluggish response of the HS 250h and RX 450h (hybrid).
The CT 200h also felt solid going over pot holes and stayed nice and flat through the turns. The hatch design and the placement of the batteries allows for decent space behind the back seat. It comes equipped with a full size temporary spare tire with the jack and tools neatly tucked into a recess under the floor.
With its standard front wheel drive, the CT200h’s fuel economy will be in the 40+ mpg range. Pricing starts from under the $30,000 mark. You may expect to pay about $31,200 for a base model with a sunroof and heated front seats.
A stroke of genius for the Toyota/ Lexus development team! It may be just what the doctor ordered. Lexus has been missing a compact hatch-back! Yes! It will fit in quite nicely, a fine addition to the Lexus family! It should prove to be an instant hit with the commuters, tree huggers and possibly… some driving enthusiasts, as well!