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First Look: Lexus CT200h F-Sport

Adding a bolder look - but no more muscle - to the hybrid line.

by on Sep.16, 2011

With the Lexus CT200h F-Sport the difference is in the eyes of the beholder. Nothing changes under the skin.

Say the word, “hybrid,” and you’re likely to respond with, “Toyota.”  And for good reason, considering the maker accounts for 75% of the gas-electric vehicles currently on the road, primarily in the form of the Toyota Prius.  But the Japanese maker’s luxury marque has arguably made an even bigger commitment to hybrid technology, with a mix of models already accounting for nearly 15% of its total volume.

That includes the CT200h, which plugged into the Lexus line-up last year.  If anything, the CT seems to have been designed primarily with the European market in mind, the hybrid generating 30,000 sales in less than a year on the market there.  But, if anything, critics have found it a bit wanting.  And Lexus hopes to address those concerns with the Frankfurt Motor Show preview of the revised CT200h F-Sport.

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Don’t get your hopes up too high, however.  Early on, Lexus seemed intent on emphasizing performance, as much as fuel-efficiency, with hybrids like the original GS450h.  It has since shifted the focus to mileage.  So, despite being designated an F-Sport — a designation that’s supposed to signal the most peppy models in the Lexus line-up — the CT200h will remain a more luxurious version of the less-than-thrilling Toyota Prius and not a vehicle whose driving behavior will call to mind the word “sporty.”