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Lexus CT 200h: Slow-speed Driving Fun

Luxury automaker's latest hybrid is more than a dressed-up Prius.

by on Feb.25, 2011

The Lexus CT 200h is fun to drive, but it doesn't accelerate quickly.

It would be easy to write off the Lexus CT200h is just a gussied up version of Toyota’s hybrid poster child, the Prius.

It’s true that the CT 200h shares its platform and most of its hybrid mechanicals with the Prius, but where the Prius is a snooze to drive, the Lexus is fun. Can an underpowered hybrid that’s geared for mileage, not performance, be fun? In a word, yes.

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If you need eye-popping acceleration, look elsewhere. In fact, if you expect average acceleration, look elsewhere. With a combined 134 horsepower between its 98-horsepower 1.8-liter four cylinder and 80-horsepower electric motor, the CT isn’t going to win any stoplight grand prix. Well, unless, the competition is a Prius.

But the CT is one of those cars that make spouses complain “What, do you think you’re Mario Andretti?” The hefty steering begs for you to take corners a little faster than normal, clipping apexes with the precision of a sports car. So there’s a Prius lurking under the CT’s sheetmetal? No one will ever know.

First Look: Cadillac Urban Luxury Concept

“The luxury experience in a diminutive size.”

by on Nov.17, 2010

How small is too small for luxury buyers?

Luxury buyers have traditionally measured a vehicle’s worth by the pound and inch.  But, in an increasingly urban global environment, size doesn’t always measure up.  The big cars of the past very well could be replaced by something more compact but equally luxurious.

Or so Cadillac seems to be suggesting with the Urban Luxury Concept it is introducing at this year’s Los Angeles Auto Show, a prototype that, the maker says, “offers the luxury experience in a diminutive size.”

Measuring just 151 inches, nose-to-tail, and with a 97.1-inch wheelbase, the ULC is comparable in size to the sort of city cars becoming increasingly popular in Europe and Japan, and which some industry planners will continue to gain momentum in emerging markets like China and India.

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Despite the relatively compact footprint, the ULC’s tall crossover-like stance – with a 56.9-inch height and a 68.1-inch width – provides far more interior space than might seem apparent, at first.  And to ease access, Cadillac designers have opted for a gullwing design – which is operated at the touch of a button.

“It may not look like Cadillacs on the road today, but it shares the comfortable and high-tech elements that owners have come to associate with larger, traditional luxury sedans,” said lead designer Frank Saucedo.