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Lexus CT 200h
Lexus adds another entry-level hybrid to its portfolio

Toyota is continuing its quest to spread hybrid technology throughout its entire lineup of vehicles and the next stop for the hybrid train is the all-new Lexus CT 200h. The CT 200h is the production version of the Lexus LF-Ch concept which debuted last year. Although the CT 200h is toned down quite a bit from its concept form, it still shares much of the design philosophy first seen five months ago.

Unlike its HS 250h sibling, the CT 200h forgoes the largish 2.4-liter inline-4 engine and instead uses a 1.8-liter VVT-i four-cylinder engine. As is the case with Toyota's other hybrid vehicles, the gasoline engine is paired with a continuously variable transmission (CVT), electric motor, and a NiMH battery pack.

Toyota isn't discussing official fuel economy numbers for the CT 200h, but it does say that the vehicle can travel a measly 1.2 miles and at up to 28 mph on battery power alone.

Assuming that the 1.8-liter VVT-i engine used the CT 200h is the same 2ZR-FXE motor used in the Prius, expect to see stellar fuel economy for the vehicle. The Prius is pegged at 50 mpg combined, but every aspect of the vehicle from its tires to its body shape to its underbody is designed to slice through the wind with the utmost efficiency. The CT 200h has a more conventional shape, but we'd be surprised if it dips below 40 mpg combined using the same powertrain as the Prius.

The Lexus CT 200h is due to debut for the European market later this year. It is unknown if the vehicle will find its way to the U.S. -- there may not be enough room in the Lexus lineup with the HS 250h already occupying the bottom rung.

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By DigitalFreak on 2/25/2010 9:59:31 PM , Rating: 2
Not a big fan of the interior. Way too many knobs and buttons.

RE: Interior
By siuol11 on 2/25/2010 10:09:34 PM , Rating: 4
Really? I kind of dig the whole cockpit thing. Give me buttons, give me knobs, but just don't let it kill me!
Can we haz please? Must we always get stuck with the same bland sedans?
Perhaps Toyota will feel it necessary to actually step up their game and bring something cool like this to the US... Good hatchbacks are sort of a niche market, but usually large enough of one to make a tidy profit.

RE: Interior
By Nfarce on 2/26/2010 12:55:09 PM , Rating: 2
Absolutely! More toys to play with while on long road trips or in traffic. I also like a "busy" cockpit at night being lit up like a Learjet - especially with center console and overhead console stuff. Who wants to stare at a blank dashboard with one all-in-one button and all-in-one gauge cluster all day? Oh, an iCar driver.

RE: Interior
By Jedi2155 on 2/25/2010 10:14:34 PM , Rating: 5
I bet you're an Apple fan as well.

I <3 my buttons and options!

RE: Interior
By Samus on 2/26/2010 12:35:49 AM , Rating: 3
While I question the decision to market such an entry level vehicle as a Lexus, I dig it.

However, I agree. Lexus is a luxury brand and this thing has nothing on the C30 as far as interior design. Even the Matrix has a smoother interior with those cool flip-disc vents and clean dash. I just don't get it. I'm all for a luxury hatchback, and although this looks cool, throwing 18" rims, HID lights and pearl white paint on a Toyota shouldn't make it a Lexus...they're saturating the brand much like Ford did in the 90's with Lincoln and Mercury.

RE: Interior
By inighthawki on 2/25/2010 10:29:25 PM , Rating: 3
if you wish to have advanced features in your car, you cannot expect to solve everything with a single big button that says "Do stuff"

RE: Interior
By FITCamaro on 2/25/2010 11:47:09 PM , Rating: 2
You have something against the Easy button?

And actually Lexus' do have a button that lets you give it verbal commands to change the radio, turn on headlights, turn down the volume, etc. At least my buddies 06 IS350 does.

RE: Interior
By Aloonatic on 2/26/2010 2:22:04 AM , Rating: 2
Dude, Ford Fiestas have had voice command stuff going on for years, although that might be just for the radio in fairness.

My father's Mondeao (I don't know why he bought on either, considering what it cost) does quite a few things with voice commands too. However (in my experience) quite a few cars do voice stuff too and no one ever really uses it, other than to show it off to their friends when it''s parked up on the driveway, but that's about it.

RE: Interior
By The0ne on 2/26/2010 10:03:36 AM , Rating: 2
I'm against it because when it fails you're really screwed. That's just too scary to consider for me.

RE: Interior
By HeavyB on 2/26/2010 9:08:12 AM , Rating: 2
RE: Interior
By Keeir on 2/26/2010 1:55:50 PM , Rating: 3
While that might be true... check out that literal -sea- of buttons and screens again.

Keep in mind, this car is like VW Rabbit/Golf sized.

Driver Buttons
- 11 on the Door
- 7 on Door Side
- 9 on Wheel
- 3 Stalks --> Minimum 12 buttons
- 16 on "Climate Control"
- 9 + 2 Knobs on CD Control
- 14 "other" buttons

80! Buttons which doesn't include that silly stalk shift on dash or bonus buttons on stalks.

The VW Golf/A3 type car, with Nav etc, ~65 buttons.

Personally I think designers should stive for <50 buttons on the Dash/Around the Driver... especially in small C-segment class cars.

RE: Interior
By Flunk on 2/25/2010 11:17:03 PM , Rating: 2
Really, I like the interior a lot. Exterior too, although it doesn't really look like a "luxury" car to me. Looks more like it should be a Toyota and about $30,000 starting price, less if it wasn't a hybrid.

For less than the price of this you can get a Golf GTI which might not have quite the fuel economy (although it is quite good) but the performance blows it out of the water.

Overall nice, but I can't see people paying this much for a small hatchback at least in the US market.

RE: Interior
By MickKelleher on 2/26/2010 9:51:23 AM , Rating: 2
I can't see anyone buying it in the European market either.
Hybrids have flopped in Europe as everyone has moved to clean diesel cars instead (More MPG, cheaper fuel, and less emissions).

I know about 5 or 6 people with Lexus cars all of them are diesel.
The traditional big 4 car companies selling at this market (BMW, Audi, Mercedes, Lexus) in Europe are going for the diesel market.

With Diesel hybrids heavily in development that's going to be where they money will be in Europe.

Hybrids suit the US market as the quality of diesel is poor, this car is better suited to the US market.

RE: Interior
By TheMouse on 2/26/2010 3:54:08 AM , Rating: 2
I'm glad to see more and more lux hybrids. Hopefully they are paying attention to how fun the drive is and how comfortable the ride is.

With the current selection of (mainstream) hybrids out there, you're either stuck with great drive and poor economy or lousy drive and superb economy.

I ended up going with the Nissan Altima (Toyota Synergy Drive) Hybrid (which currently gets me 36mpg avg over last 6 months). Mostly because the size, Nissan D-Platform handling and it's pretty zippy for a hybrid (0-60 in 7.1s). The Ford Fusion hybrid is nice in fuel economy, but much slower (0-60 in 8.9s) and much more expensive given that Ford's tax credit is gone. Camry Hybrid rides well, but just isn't fun to drive... and frankly, given all the issues with Toyota at the moment, I feel a little safer.

So, I'm glad Toyota is releasing these lux models and hoping others do as well. This is good news in my book.

By Redback on 2/26/2010 1:09:12 AM , Rating: 2
I don't know why Toyota is persisting with mixed (dual drive-train) hybrids. Sure they're slightly more efficient and more economical than a conventional gasoline ICE, but you also have the worst of both worlds.

You still need an engine big enough to drive the car by itself; you can't recharge from the grid/alternate power source that's potentially cheaper; you still need a heavy/complex gearbox; the performance is ordinary.

On the other hand a purpose-designed, series hybrid addresses all these issues and in the case of one in particular, would even be fun to drive. Have a look at this:

By randomly on 2/26/2010 8:02:25 AM , Rating: 2
Simple answer?


By corduroygt on 2/26/2010 9:42:09 AM , Rating: 4
You are clearly misinformed, I've never seen so many wrongs at one post before.

1. Toyota Prius (and Ford Fusion) Power Split Device transmission is very simple. It's just a bunch of gears with no clutch or hydraulic converter. The "clutch" effect is provided by varying the speed of the electric motor/generators. It's no more maintenance intensive then a differential (it's the same tech!) which all cars have.

2. There is nothing preventing you from plugging in such a hybrid to charge the batteries, except that they put wimpy batteries to save money in these parallel hybrids since they can't price their cars at $100k like Tesla. They're also coming out with a plug-in Prius this year.

3. A more expensive parallel hybrid with decent batteries can do the same thing as the series hybrids people are gushing about, which is to pair a small gas engine with a big electric motor. You just have to make sure you have enough batteries for it. Then you can keep the gas engine off except for sustained highway driving and/or recharging batteries.

4. A parallel hybrid will ALWAYS get better highway gas mileage than a series hybrid, since at stable highway speeds, the gas engine can directly drive the wheels, instead of powering a generator which in turn powers a motor. Mechanical transmission is more efficient, that's why in Europe commuter passenger trains are made diesel-mechanical drive instead of diesel-electric.

By Redback on 2/26/2010 11:43:17 AM , Rating: 2
You are clearly misinformed, I've never seen so many wrongs at one post before.

A word of advice. Perhaps before "correcting" others in such a snide and condescending manner, you should actually do some reading and know what you're talking about rather than just repeating drivel from the Prius fanboy club magazine.

Point by point:

1. So are you trying to say that a Prius has no transmission for its ICE? Bollocks. We both know it uses a CVT and integrating the additional drive of the electric motor requires a supplementary gearset. A series Hybrid doesn't require a CVT and doesn't need supplementary gears (with the exception of a primary reduction gear). Hell, if it's designed correctly, it doesn't even need a mechanical differential. (See link to Lotus 414E.)

2. Please point me to the external plug-in port on the current model Prius. Can't? You've proved my point then. Yes, I'm aware that parallel hybrids can also be plug-ins, but Toyota's aren't are they? And while battery technology selection has an impact on recharging options, the only reason plug-in ability is not included in the current Prius is cost and lack of foresight.

3. What would be the benefit of "pairing a small gas engine with a big electric motor" if they are both directly driving the wheels? Once again, you'd have transmission duplication, reduced mechanical efficiency and additional weight, all for the addition of a piddling amount of torque (produced by a small, relatively inefficient ICE).

4.Wrong! (You're not here for the hunting, are you?) An engine designed to drive the wheels of a car has to operate over a relatively wide speed range and its torque generating efficiency varies significantly with engine revs. It also requires a gearbox and even the best CVT suffers substantial mechanical losses between the engine and the wheels.
A purpose-designed engine/gen unit (such as the Lotus "Range Extender") operates within a very narrow rev-range for which it has been highly optimised, thus making it more fuel efficient. Electric motors are vastly more efficient than any ICE and produce so much torque across such a wide rev-range, they don't need conventional multi-speed or CVT transmissions (with their inherent mechanical inefficiency). In fact, the combined efficiency of the purpose-designed engine, generator and electric motors is significantly better than can be achieved with virtually any purely mechanical configuration.

And perhaps in your alternative universe, "the gas engine can directly drive the wheels", but on this planet there's usually a clutch, gearbox and differential involved, - all of which produce mechanical losses.

As I said in the opening paragraph, I suggest you do some reading...

By corduroygt on 2/26/2010 12:20:20 PM , Rating: 3
You should clearly take your own advice and do some reading, because you are wrong on all counts.

1. The Prius (and Fusion) does NOT use a CVT transmission. It's called e-CVT for marketing reasons but in real life it has nothing to do with a conventional CVT transmission. The Prius Power split device is a planetary gearset, it is 1-speed. No gear changes or clutches.

2. Please point me to an electric car that can go a reasonable range and power that doesn't cost $100K like the Tesla? How about where is the Volt? Prius plug-in is being developed and it'll be a 2011 or 2012 model, this is fact. When you try to make millions of real cars people use instead of expensive limited production toys for the rich, development and testing take some time.

3. Since you are absolutely clueless about the power split device "transmission", it's normal for you to ask this question. And it's not just a Prius thing, since the Ford Fusion uses it as well and guess what, it's also the best hybrid in its segment. The fact is you only need a small, efficient gas engine for cruising but you end up with a far larger one because of situations where more power is needed. In the Prius and fusion, what actually drives the wheels is an electric motor, while the gas engine can also optionally provide torque. That's why they can cruise with the gas engine fully off.

4. The Prius (and Fusion) atkinson cycle engine also operates within a tight envelope of throttle opening, load, and rev range, fine tuned by engineers over 10 years. It's remarkably efficient. Since there is no CVT or gears, the rest of your post becomes moot. The only thing preventing the prius from having a weaker gas engine and a more powerful electric motor is the cost of extra batteries required.

You are also flat-out wrong because mechanical transmissions, even with gears and cluthes, beat motor/generator combo in power transmission. The PSD still maintains this advantage while adding regen capabilities, so it truly is the best of both worlds.

Please be more informed in the future so you won't be embarassed again, and follow your own advice and do some reading.

By Keeir on 2/26/2010 2:38:45 PM , Rating: 2
You are also flat-out wrong because mechanical transmissions, even with gears and cluthes, beat motor/generator combo in power transmission. The PSD still maintains this advantage while adding regen capabilities, so it truly is the best of both worlds.

Urm.... thats not really sound thinking.

Lets look at the Toyota Prius itself in Japan, it barely gets 4 miles (Japanese Cycle) per kWh.

Japanese Cycle is ~ 40-45% more optomistic than the US EPA.

Plug-in Prius manages to get 2.8 miles per kWh! The Telsa Roadster gets ~3.5 miles per kWh.

If we make the assumption that #1. The Prius and Roadster take roughly the same power to move forward and #2. Prius efficieny system for Battery --> PSD is the same as Roadsters Battery --> Forward Momentum, overall the PSD --> Wheels is a reduction of 25%! (Btw, this same reduction would likely apply to regen capacities as well.

There seems to be the potential that a good generation ICE + electronics can get close to beating the Prius Aktinson + PSD.

By corduroygt on 2/26/2010 2:55:46 PM , Rating: 2
1. Tesla weighs 300lb less than a Prius empty, the difference will be even more when you add the fluids in the Prius. This will reduce fuel economy.
2. Tesla has advanced electronics to regulate battery charge levels and current, it may indeed be more efficient in discharging the battery than the Prius.
3. A single stage planetary gearset like in the prius is said to only lose 3% according to wikipedia:

An electric/generator transmission is a lot worse than 3%, so I still don't see how the extra 3% efficiency in the city is going to make up for the massive deficiency in range extending mode on the highway.

By Keeir on 2/26/2010 3:57:47 PM , Rating: 2
1. But the Prius has a significant aerodynamic advantage AND Tire advantage.

2. Its entirely possible. But the Tesla is also designed to go from 0-60 in under 4 seconds. Traditionally this does not result in peak efficieny at normal driving.

3. So you really believe the PSD introduces only 3% losses into the system?!?

And somehow, the Plug-in Prius, acchieving less than 3 miles per kWh is because it wieghs so much?

The Mini E claims greater than 4 miles per kWh... and its essentially thrown together, wieghs more, and has a worse aerodynamic shape. I think the Mini-E doesn't include charging losses... which reduce the overall efficieny down to ~3.5 again, but this is still much much better than Toyota is claiming for the Plug-in Prius.

::shrug:: You have a good theory about the terrible results the Plug-in Prius acchieves on EV mode? The main difference is the PSD right?

By corduroygt on 2/26/2010 5:45:53 PM , Rating: 2
Aerodynamics don't matter much in the city, which is what I'm assuming from this "Japanese cycle" you're stating, because not even the plug-in prius can operate at highway speeds without the gas engine being on. I'd like to see the link to your numbers, and the tests, stating that prius was run in EV mode only with zero IC assistance.

Saying 25% difference due to PSD is preposterous. A manual transmission + differentials + tire/wheel inertia losses all adds up to 12-15% on the dyno, and that's a manual with a clutch and everything. PSD is much simpler andd all cars have diffs and wheels.

By siuol11 on 2/27/2010 4:07:10 PM , Rating: 2
Meh... After C and D's "opinion" articles on Toyota's issues, I have ceased paying any attention to them. I mean, I knew that pretty much anyone left there was a sellout, but damn...

Toyota's new slogan
By FITCamaro on 2/25/2010 11:45:36 PM , Rating: 4
"Once you start driving one, you won't be able to stop." ;)

Glad they know how to take a Mazda 3 hatchback and put a Lexus front end on it.

RE: Toyota's new slogan
By Spuke on 2/26/2010 12:13:18 AM , Rating: 2
"Once you start driving one, you won't be able to stop." ;) Glad they know how to take a Mazda 3 hatchback and put a Lexus front end on it.
"Once you start driving one, you won't be able to stop." ;) Glad they know how to take a Mazda 3 hatchback and put a Lexus front end on it.

Now THAT'S funny!

RE: Toyota's new slogan
By fcx56 on 2/27/2010 4:09:46 PM , Rating: 2
I think there's a recall out for your quote button, It just keeps moving forward!

RE: Toyota's new slogan
By abzillah on 2/26/2010 3:57:56 AM , Rating: 2
The Mazda 3 back is horrid. This car looks like a mini-minivan. A soccer mom sign would fit it perfect, but I don't think soccer moms can afford one of these. I wonder how much this car will sell for?

RE: Toyota's new slogan
By The0ne on 2/26/2010 10:05:54 AM , Rating: 2
It immediately reminded me of the Mazda as well but the more you look at it the more it reminds me of other various hatchbacks,


and the list goes on.

RE: Toyota's new slogan
By Gyres01 on 2/26/2010 11:24:30 AM , Rating: 2
I was thinking that too...change the grille emblem and poof a Mazda 3 and a bonus 1/2 price tag....

By btc909 on 2/26/2010 12:37:19 AM , Rating: 3
Lexus Hybrid Matrix?

RE: Humm
By EJ257 on 3/1/2010 9:36:45 AM , Rating: 2
Exactly what I was thinking. And the HS250 is a hybrid Corolla. Seriously is it really that hard to just call it a Corolla Hybrid or Matrix Hybrid? I mean they do that with the Camry Hybrid already so its not like it will be anything new.

RE: Humm
By Hoser McMoose on 3/1/2010 4:14:34 PM , Rating: 2
The HS250 is actually not particularly related to the Corolla. It is based off the Toyota Avensis platform that slots between the Corolla and Camry in pretty much every market outside of North America. Basically Toyota just took an Avensis, dropped the Camry Hybrid drivetrain in it and slapped a Lexus badge on the things.

This new Lexus CT, on the other hand, does seem to be based off the Corolla/Matrix/Prius platform. Why don't they just call it a Matrix Hybrid? Probably the same reason they don't call the Prius a Matrix Hybrid: Marketing.

By Chadder007 on 2/25/2010 9:32:11 PM , Rating: 4
I hope it won't Move Your Forward....Unwillingly.

RE: Great.
By Connoisseur on 2/25/2010 9:52:59 PM , Rating: 1
a ha ha ha... was gonna happen sometime... but good job sir.

RE: Great.
By matt0401 on 2/25/10, Rating: -1
Remind you of anything?
By iFX on 2/26/2010 9:06:12 AM , Rating: 2
Unknown Dangers
By wwide408 on 3/11/2010 4:54:36 PM , Rating: 2
Wanna talk about spinning out of control Toyota is Dropping the ball in a huge way.
Another very public runaway car related to the pedal recall check if your car is affected
but then recalling all Tundra trucks from 2000 - 2003 so many they don't even release a number of affected vehicles .
I Can't see it getting any better for them any time soon , just worse ...

Toyota's new slogan
By FITCamaro on 2/25/2010 11:45:36 PM , Rating: 1
"Once you start driving one, you won't be able to stop." ;)

Glad they know how to take a Mazda 3 hatchback and put a Lexus front end on it.

"Paying an extra $500 for a computer in this environment -- same piece of hardware -- paying $500 more to get a logo on it? I think that's a more challenging proposition for the average person than it used to be." -- Steve Ballmer

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