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Go Green In Style

The Lexus CT 200h is one green hatchback to combine great gas mileage with performance and luxurious extras.
By Tom Crosby

Leveraging its leadership in hybrid technology demonstrated by the success of the best-selling Prius over the past decade, Toyota has added a compact hatchback to its luxury brand with the launch of the CT 200h Lexus.

Lexus

The CT 200h doesn’t sacrifice performance or luxury for high gas mileage, using the Lex us Hybrid Drive. Toyota photo

According to the manufacturer, the CT 200h is the first dedicated hybrid in the premium compact market. While it sacrifices get-up-and-go from a dead stop, the hybrid drive generates 40-plus miles per gallon in the city or on the highway, but unlike many “green” competitors, there are numerous luxury options to amp up driver and passenger comfort.

Bells and whistles

The CT 200h Premium is the sole model and our test drive added options such as rain-sensing windshield wipers, back-up camera and a 90-day XM audio subscription with real-time weather, traffic and sports.

The navigation system was easy to use. Ample driving information on the seven-inch HDD pop-up display is selected by using a toggle switch manipulating an arrow on the screen, just like a computer. Simple, but occasionally distracting while underway because you have to watch the arrow to guide it on the icon you want to select.

Why buy

The lure for buyers will be the great mileage generated by using the Lexus Hybrid Drive that manages the gas or electric modes–or a combination of both–to provide the most efficient energy use while maintaining performance. While not quick, the CT 200h can reach a top end of 112 mph, according to Lexus. Up to 28 mph, the front-wheel drive CT can operate using only the nickel hydride battery powered electric motor in EV mode. There are four drive modes plus “dynamic” or “relaxing modes.” Handling was responsive with rack-and-pinion steering, and the ride comfortable in the cockpit front seats with bolsters. The suspension includes a MacPherson strut front system with anti-sway bar and an independent double wishbone rear suspension. Cargo space is ample with fold-flat rear seats.

  • LIKES: Mileage, cargo space, handling, ride
  • DISLIKES: Power, toggle switch
  • BOTTOM LINE: Another “green” vehicle by Toyota for the competition to chase.

Tom Crosby is vice president of communications for AAA Carolinas. He is based in Charlotte, N.C.

Lexus Facts

Nov/Dec 2011 Issue


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