17 June 2011

Lexus CT200h 2011 car review

For those buyers chasing the green dream of a compact hybrid but don’t fancy the look of the traditional petrol-electric models, there’s an answer in the form of the new CT200h from Lexus.

Lexus CT200H front 1
Lexus CT200h
Lexus CT200H front 2
Lexus CT200h
Lexus CT200H interior
Lexus CT200h
Lexus CT200H side
Lexus CT200h

New Car Report; Hybrid with style

For those buyers chasing the green dream of a compact hybrid but don’t fancy the look of the traditional petrol-electric models, there’s an answer in the form of the new CT200h from Lexus.

The CT200h name is made up of three components; CT (Creative Touring), 200 (Lexus maintains the performance is more aligned to a 2.0 litre car despite its 1.8 litre capacity) and ‘h’ for... well, we’ll leave that one for you to decipher!

A stylish coupe-like hatchback with an aggressive wide stance, sweeping lines and sporty appearance, the CT200h is set apart from other hybrids in that Lexus designers haven’t let the hybrid factor dictate the visual aspect, clothing the frugal running gear in sheet metal that manages to achieve a drag coefficient (Cd) of just 0.29 while still looking good.

Powering the CT200h are a 1.8 litre 73kW Atkinson cycle petrol engine and a 27kW electric motor which, depending on load and conditions, can operate individually or in parallel to produce 100kW.

There’s also a second electric motor that acts as a generator, providing charge to the Nickel Metal-Hydride battery on over-run and regenerative braking conditions. Like other hybrids, the vehicle’s normal electrical system that operates lighting, wipers and other electrical components, utilises a traditional 12 Volt battery and charging system.

The vehicle can be driven in four different modes, EV, ECO, Normal and Sport, with a range of up to 2 kilometres available when driven carefully in the EV mode (ie; on the electric motor alone). Lexus quotes a combined cycle fuel consumption figure of 4.1L/100km, however, during our time with the CT200h we couldn’t match that figure and the real world figure would more likely be closer to 6.5 to 7.0L/100km.

Standard, Luxury and Sporty models.

Three models are offered, the CT200h L1, CT200h Limited and CT200h F Sport. Separating the Limited and F Sport apart from the entry level model are a sports styled front bumper with an enlarged lower grille, a sports rear bumper with blacked out diffuser and 17 inch alloys in place of the L1’s 16’s.

Further sporty features setting the F Sport apart from the others are a sports tuned suspension package, deep side skirts, dark metallic coloured wheels and additional sporty treatment to the upper grille section. The F Sport treatment continues inside, with sport pedals, F Sport door sill scuff plates and a sport steering wheel.

Cabin finishes distinguish the three models from each other in the form of fabric seat coverings and black finishes at entry level, a choice of three different coloured leather options with ash burr wooden finishes in the Limited, and sporty over-stitched black leather and brushed metallic finishes in the F Sport. 

The top-end pair are also equipped with a sophisticated Pre-Crash safety system which uses numerous sensors and a radar system, designed to reduce collision damage and injury by readying seatbelt pre-tensioners and providing supplementary braking effort through the Brake Assist function.

The system also activates both audible and visual warnings, alerting the driver to react in the event of a pending collision. In the event that the driver does not brake and a crash is unavoidable, the system will automatically apply the brakes, reducing the severity of the impact.

Also standard on the Limited and F Sport is a Dynamic Radar Cruise Control System which can maintain a safe following distance to the vehicle in front. The driver can select long, middle or short following distance via a switch on the steering wheel.

All models are fitted with a reversing camera which displays in the interior mirror on the L1. Limited and F Sport models have the reverse camera display in the large colour EVM screen which also incorporates a Satellite Navigation system. All have a keyless start system, with the Limited and F Sport adding keyless entry and locking functions.

An airbag package totalling 10 ‘bags including knee airbags for both front occupants is standard across the range and the CT200h is crammed with safety, convenience and techo equipment.

Classy hybrid, at a mainstream price.

Available in a wide selection of colours, five neutral and five vivid hues, Lexus has endeavoured to cater for all tastes. Pricing starts at $51,500 for the L1, $67,600 for the Limited and $69,000 for the F Sport. For comparison, the Toyota Prius from which the CT200h is derived is priced between $49,690 and $63,690.

While there’s no blistering high performance, it’s not likely to be the key priority for a hybrid buyer. However, with the CT200h, Lexus has proven that that a hybrid can offer style, class and luxury features with pricing at around a similar level to a mainstream hybrid.

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