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.