Lexus CT200H: the Frugal Gourmet

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The Lexus CT 200h marked the introduction of the first, and only, full hybrid vehicle to the heart of the premium compact segment.. Designed and developed with the European market in mind, the CT 200h is Lexus’ first ever compact, five-door car. Its size, packaging, full hybrid technology and ultra-low emissions perfectly meet the requirements of highly discerning, environmentally-conscientious customers in the key European premium compact market.
The CT 200h’s designers have created a unique combination of serenity and excitement. Marrying refined charm and glamour to dynamic sportiness, the new Lexus entirely repudiates the traditional eco image of hybrid vehicles.

Combining a 1.8-liter, four-cylinder gasoline engine and a powerful electric motor, the CT 200h’s full hybrid drive system brings a quiet revolution to the largest premium segment in the European market. Like the Prius, the CT200h has an electric-only operating mode, EV, but it is pure gimmick. EV operation is theoretically possible for up to one mile at speeds up to 28 mph, but anything more than the lightest pedal pressure refires the gas engine. In the real world, the CT200h offers three driving modes: Eco has a very lazy throttle map, normal is slightly less lethargic, and sport is, well, still sluggish. The steering effort is higher in sport mode, which is good, because it’s light and inert in the other settings.
The CT 200h’s progressive interior offers unprecedented levels of refinement in this segment. Efficient and elegant, the cabin combines superior ergonomics, advanced human/machine interface technologies and spacious passenger accommodation with hand-crafted, premium quality materials to create an outstanding driving environment

The car’s interior is nicely appointed. The controls are cleanly laid out, and amenities such as dual-zone automatic climate control, a leather-wrapped steering wheel, Bluetooth phone and audio, and pushbutton start are standard. There are eight standard airbags, including knee bags for the driver and front passenger.
Radar cruise control with a pre-collision system is among the options, along with a power sunroof, LED headlights, heated front seats, and a backup camera that sends images to a monitor in the rearview mirror.
The CT 200h’s long wheelbase offers rear seat passenger roominess comparable to any vehicle in this segment and, with the hybrid battery stored under the floor, the rear seats will fold down to create a large, 700 litre loadspace.

The CT’s strengths are those associated with Lexuses and hybrids in general: a well-controlled ride, a quiet powertrain, muted wind and road noise, and excellent gas mileage. Plus, the CT200h is very nicely screwed together!

Image source: Lexus
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