All photos by Lexus
Before our test model 2011 Lexus CT 200h Premium arrived, I had not driven or been a passenger in this hot new hybrid, so I was anxious to see what all the fuss was about. I knew the car wasn’t very big, so there were some questions as to how all of this technology and Lexus luxury was going to fit into a smaller than usual package.
The CT 200h’s designers created a unique combination of elegance and excitement. The front of the CT 200h is the new embodiment of L-finesse, expressing the perfect balance of precision and power. The grille is pushed forward of the headlamps for greater visual integration with the bumper mid-section below. It incorporates a deeper, more sculpted interpretation of the L-finesse signature arrowhead motif. The upper and lower grilles combine to form a unique ‘spindle’ shape, bringing both bold simplicity and elegant dynamism to the very apex of the vehicle. We found the overall design to be fresh and consistent with Lexus styling. Our matador red test model looked sharp and included LED daytime running headlamps with auto leveling, integrated fog lamps, rear view mirrors with built-in turn signals, illuminated door sills and 17-inch aluminum alloy wheels. In the rear of the 2011 Lexus CT 200h Premium, we found a pronounced step in the tailgate section that flows from the muscular rear wheel arch shoulders, emphasizing the wraparound rear window design which added to the aerodynamic design features.
Lexus’ latest adaptation of the L-finesse philosophy is carried into the interior of the CT 200h. A powerful simplicity of form harmonizes with the hand-crafted quality feel of even the smallest details to create a uniquely efficient, elegant and spacious cabin design. The Premium edition of the 2011 Lexus CT 200h is certainly worthy of luxury status and the fit and finish of interior materials were superb. The premium audio package included a 10-speaker system, in-dash 6-disc CD changer, automatic sound levelizer, USB input, mini plug auxiliary input for MP3 player and XM Satellite radio. Appointments abound in the CT 200h Premium such as one-touch open/close moonroof, heated seats, NuLuxe trim interior, 3-spoke leather trimmed steering wheel with audio controls and cruise control, 10-way auto-adjustable power driver seat with power 2-way lumbar support, smart access with push button start/stop, electroluminescent optitron gauges, tilr/telescopic steering column, driver information center, Bluetooth technology, power windows with one-touch auto/open close feature and power door locks with anti-lockout feature. Rear leg room is decent but storage is plenty with the hatchback design. That was a lot, but I also need to say that the cabin was very comfortable with that classic Lexus feel of both luxury and sport combined for an upscale and sporty experience when driving or as a passenger.
Hybrids don’t exactly have the best reputation for performance, but Lexus obviously has worked very hard to deliver on improving the perception of hybrid expectations with the 2011 Lexus CT 200h Premium. Utilizing the most recent generation hybrid system, the CT 200h takes advantage of Lexus’ continuous engineering advances to maximize fuel economy, minimize emissions and deliver driving pleasure. A highly efficient engine design, an exhaust heat recovery system, major efforts to reduce parasitic losses, an evaporative emissions system and driver-selectable driving modes all make notable contributions. The four-mode drive selector (Normal, Sport, Eco and EV) should please those looking for maximum fuel efficiency, to those who want a sport ride with more power when hitting the pedal. Speaking of fuel efficiency, the 2011 Lexus CT 200h Premium boasts a 1.8 liter 4 cylinder DOHC with VVT and electric drive motor with Lexus Hybrid Drive, and comes in at 43 mpg in the city and 40 mpg in highway driving, which should keep a smile on your face passing up fuel stations along the way. Handling was superb thanks to electric power rack and pinion steering and 4 wheel independent suspension. Increment weather is not a problem with the Ct 200h as we found the anti-lock braking system with electronic brake force distribution, brake assist, vehicle stability control, traction control and electronic throttle control system.
The Lexus CT 200h premium was really fun to drive, and combined with Lexus styling and luxury, this car is sure to help other hybrids get more respect on the road. Our decked-out test car came in with a sticker price of $38,239 with already mentioned phenomenal fuel efficiency. Hatchbacks are starting to get more traction in North America, and for those in that pool of customers, I’m sure this star performer will find her way into many driveways!
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