Lexus CT 200h
The Lexus CT 200h is a full hybrid compact 5-door full of Lexus fit and finish and priced under $30,000. The CT200h was created and developed originally for the European market, but is now available in the US, and aimed directly at America's young, highly discerning and environmentally conscientious customers.
The driver-centered cabin is designed with clearly defined display and operational zones. Audio and telephone controls share the steering wheel, while three multi-function stalks are just behind, only an inch away. The shift lever is mounted high on the console, inches from the wheel. A console-mounted "mouse" operates the display on a large, central, pop-up eye-level screen for multiple control functions at a glance.
Seating surfaces are trimmed in a soft synthetic, but leather will be an available option. Front seats are designed in the deeply bolstered sports style. The rear bench is also bolstered as two separate sports seats and folds flat in a 30/70 split to add carrying capacity. Lexus-level safety is standard, as is dust and pollen filtration in the dual-zone climate control system.
Three factory option packages are available: Premium Audio includes a 6-disc premium system with 10 speakers, an electrochromic rearview mirror with compass, and Lexus HomeLink. The Leather Package includes auto-dimming outer mirrors, driver memory seat, rain-sensing intermittent wipers and perforated leather seating surfaces. The Navigation Package has a long list of connectivity components along with voice-command and an array of navigational aids. A pre-collision System and a dynamic cruise control can be included as factory installed options.
The F Sport package, new for 2012, includes 17-inch glossy wheels, sport-tuned suspension, mesh grille, aluminum pedals, a large rear spoiler, scuff plates and a leather-wrapped steering wheel.
The Toyota-developed, front-wheel-drive, hybrid system uses a highly efficient Atkinson cycle, 1.8L 4-cylinder engine and an electronically controlled continuously variable transmission. The engine is supplemented by a pair of 650-volt motor/generators. The system's total combined horsepower is 134, which is capable of delivering 0-60 times of 9.8 seconds and EPA fuel economy of 43 mpg city, 40 highway. The electric-assisted rack and pinion power steering includes power-splitting traction control.
The CT offers four driving modes. Normal, EV, ECO and Sport. EV allows the CT to operate on battery power as much as possible. ECO smoothes throttle response and reduces climate control usage to maximize fuel efficiency. The Sport mode changes the character of the CT, changing the instrument illumination, replacing the hybrid power monitor with a tachometer in the gauge cluster, tightening the steering response and turning the traction and stability control down. The result is a CT that is more responsive, more fun and also, less fuel efficient.