Lexus CT 200h First Look, Road Test and Review

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The Lexus CT 200h has four driving modes, EV (electric vehicle), eco, normal, and sport (the CT 200h’s display changes to red from blue when in sport mode).  Sport mode improves throttle response and steering while also tightening the suspension.

It’s possible to drive as much as one mile on battery power alone and, while the EPA fuel economy rating is 40 mpg (5.9 l/100 km) on the highway and 43 (5.5 l/100 km) in the city, which is lower than the Prius’ 51 mpg/48 mpg (4.6 l/100 km/4.9 l/100 km), fuel usage is still better than that of other hybrids.  The CT 200h’s combined fuel economy of 42 mpg (5.6 l/100 km) makes it the highest-rated luxury car in the U.S.

I didn’t change my (lead-footed) driving habits to maximize fuel usage and I tested the power mode frequently.  Nonetheless, I averaged 38 mpg (6.2 l/100 km) in my week with the CT 200h.

While acceleration is not that car’s strong point (the car goes from 0 to 60 mph in 9.8 seconds, the same as the standard Prius), getting to 60 mph was definitely more fun given the car’s far better handling and road manners.  Road feel, despite the speed-sensitive electric steering, was surprisingly good.  The CT 200h felt at home on the windy roads I took it on in New York State and it made me forget that I was in a vehicle capable of 40+ mpg fuel economy.

If the Lexus CT 200h is representative of what we can expect in future hybrids, the future is very, very bright.

2011 Lexus CT 200h
Price, estimated $29,120
Drivetrain Front engine, front-wheel drive
Engine 1.8 l/98 hp/I-4
Motor 80 hp permanent magnet synchronous motor
Transmission CVT
Curb weight (lbs) 3,130
Wheelbase (inches) 102.4
Length x width x height (inches) 170.1 x 69.5 x 56.7
0-60 mph (seconds) 9.8
Fuel economy (mpg) 43/40

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