The 2011 version of the Lexus CT 200h is a combination of the Prius’ efficiency in the style of a compact sports, and throw into the mix the technology of the fun features and driving this car makes you a winner in the gas saving stakes.
The term ‘hybrid’ is nothing new, and has been in use for centuries. Originally used in the context of two different species of animals mating, a boar and a pig for example, to produce a hybrid breed. It is now so overused in the car industry however, that the meaning of the word is almost lost.
Plug in vehicles such as the Ford Escape are classed as hybrids, as are those cars that are electric but have gas engines, like the Chevy Volt. Then we have have ‘mild hybrids’ of which the 2012 Buick Lucerne is an example, and a wide range of ‘full hybrids’ encompassing models like the Escalade Hybrid from Cadillac. The majority of these cars have either 2 motors, one electric and one gas, or powertrain electric assistance.
The only way to really describe the Lexus CT 200h is as the ‘hybrid of a hybrid’. Based on the platform of the Toyota Prius, this luxury sports car would normally be pitted in the market against the Volvo C30 or the Audi A3. Whilst the style is screaming compact racer, the 43mpg city driving fuel economy strongly leans towards a sedan. The luxury aspects however, such as the parking assistant sensors and headlamp sprays put it into a whole new category.
Whatever you decide you want to refer to it as, the 200h is undoubtedly a lot if fun to drive, if you can ignore its mediocre acceleration. For those techno geeks out there, this car is one of the most interesting of the computerised vehicles that are currently on the market. Another point of the 200h is that it has effectively reinvented what a hybrid car looks like.
As far as the styling is concerned, the 200h is very low to the ground, giving it a similar appearance to the C30, and the angular lines will certainly appeal greatly to the younger driver. The elongation of the shape brings to mind the 2012 Ford Focus, while the front lights with the eye drops are certainly eye catching, and the rear spoiler has a look of a Subaru to it. The design is unique enough to raise the question if it was an import, which it is, or a prototype.
There is great attention to detail on the interior, and the stitching is top class. If you switch between normal and sport mode, the dash and the interior lights also change colour, blue for normal and red for sport. One minor but nevertheless strange omission is that the lights don’t go green when you are in eco mode. This is a detail that should be remedied for the version in 2012.
The stereo is, as expected, top of the range, but doesn’t deliver the promised surround sound. The bass thumps just as it should, but won’t be making any ornaments jump of shelves as you thunder along urban streets.
Overall, this car is fun, innovative and a lot of fun to drive. With a few tweaks here and there the Lexus CT 200h should prove extremely popular, and expect to hear one thumping down a street near you very soon.