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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.

Fun to Read!

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.
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First Drive: 2011 Lexus CT200h

Balancing mileage and performance.

by on Dec.06, 2010

The Lexus CT200h is the Toyota luxury brand's fifth hybrid offering.

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 four models already accounting for nearly 15% of its total volume.  Now comes number five and, if Lexus planners have done their homework, the launch of the new CT200h could bump that figure notably higher.

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Early on, Lexus saw hybrid technology as a way to deliver better performance without the mileage impact of offering bigger engines.  That controversial approach was abandoned with the launch of the HS250h, the brand’s first dedicated – read: Prius-like – hybrid.  Sadly, the HS proved that there’s still room to deliver a truly mediocre product in today’s market, even senior Lexus officials apologizing for the quirky little cars mostly unappealing quirks.

With the launch of the 2011 Lexus CT200h, the maker hopes to get things in better balance, using its high-tech, Prius-derived drivetrain to not only deliver solid fuel economy, but also to boost the fun-to-drive quotient of what might otherwise be a lackluster Euro-styled hatchback.

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