2011 Lexus CT200h Review – the new CT200h is the fifth hybrid in the Lexus stable
Review & Snaps: Amee Reehal
Renowned for their hybrid luxury product line, Lexus adds a fifth hybrid to the stable with the all-new 2011 Lexus CT200h. Starting at only $30,950 CAD MSRP, the CT200h is the first dedicated luxury compact hybrid to hit the market. Sharp styling, well appointed, and a killer price point, the 2011 CT200h is practically a bargain, in the luxury segment, at that.
The hybrid powertrain in the CT200h is a 1.8L Atkinson cycle four-cylinder gas engine with VVT-I and Lexus Hybrid Drive technology consisting of both an engine-driven generator providing extra power when needed, and a drive motor offering electric power driven by the battery pack. Ultimately, this garners excellent fuel efficiency with 4.6L/100km.
Hybrids aren’t just for David Suzuki or celebrities jumping on the eco-bandwagon…they can be fun to drive too, and the 2011 CT200h is no exception. The sport-tuned suspension provides a spirited drive, handling corners with ease. A low ride height and with the seats sitting as low and as close together as possible, coupled by concentrating the CT200h’s mass to the centre, all lead to a better handling, more dynamic driving experience.
Equipped with four drive-modes (Normal, Eco, Sport, and EV), the Sport mode, a first for the Lexus hybrid lineup, increases throttle response, boosts the drive voltage (more power), and tones down the CT200h’s traction and stability control functions, all resulting in a sportier, tighter experience—and the difference switching from Sport to the other, more conservative drive-modes is certainly evident.
In addition, when Sport mode is selected, the hybrid power gauge on the instrument panel turns into a tachometer. Pretty cool. Though not a ‘sports car,’ Lexus has made strong efforts to ensure this CT200h compact, while still a hybrid, doesn’t compromise in the fun-to-drive department. And they’ve done a decent job.
This ‘sporty’ theme continues to the exterior styling: a steep windshield flowing to a long roofline into a rear that sees wraparound windows and an integrated rear spoiler all contribute to an athletic feel, while still exuding elegance with touches like the stylish LED daytime running lamps and a clean, uncluttered front grille with deep inset fog lamps. Overall, the 2011 CT200h possess muscular lines with a sophisticated vibe.
The cabin is spacious, comfortable, and of course, sporty. The focus is really on the driver here, with a cockpit that finds divided operational zones favouring quick driver access to functions like Remote Touch. A wide-grip steering wheel and well-bolstered bucket seats with 8-way power control (optional for passenger seat) ensures comfort and confidence when behind the wheel. Fold-flat rear seats and the SmartAccess key system are both standard.
Also standard is a 6-speaker Lexus Premium audio system with CD, auxiliary and USB inputs, Bluetooth audio wireless connectivity, and XM Radio with a 6-month free trial. While the audio system integrated iPod control is awesome, providing the USB port on the centre console near the cup holders is a huge design flaw—totally inconvenient: iPod flops around, USB cord is invasive, and it’s a pain having to disconnect and hide the device every time you leave the car. Planting the USB port inside the armrest storage, as per other vehicles, is the smart way to go.
Some other standards in the 2011 CT200h include 16-inch aluminum wheels; heated front seats; dual zone auto climate control; and touch sensors on exterior front-door handles, to name a few.
Touring package adds 17-inch wheels and a power moonroof. A Premium package further adds significant comfort and convenience features including a 10-speaker and 6-disc CD changer; rain sensor wipers; leather seating surfaces; driver seat memory with mirror linked to seat memory; auto dimming side mirrors/rear view mirror; and rear view mirror backup camera, all included in my tester. My CT200h also came equipped with the Technology package, building on the former two, to include LED headlamps and headlamp washers and a voice activated HDD Navigation system with Remote Touch.
For more info on the 2011 Lexus CT200h, please visit here.