When Toyota debuted the production
version of its Lexus CT 200h compact hybrid late last month, it
was almost certainly destined to be a European-only vehicle. European
buyers love smaller vehicles and hatchbacks in general, and the
vehicle didn't seem likely to appeal to the buying tastes of
traditional U.S. Lexus buyers.
However, that doesn't appear to be the
case now. Following the success of its midsize
Lexus HS 250h hybrid which slots in below ES 350, Toyota has
confirmed that the compact CT 200h will come to the U.S. in 2011.
According to Edmunds
Inside Line, Lexus officials in the U.S. practically had to
beg the execs in Japan to get the sporty vehicle to appeal to a
BMW has the 1-Series, Audi has the A3,
and the U.S. officials too wanted a vehicle in the same mold. With
the exception of the IS range and the ultra-exotic LFA, Lexus doesn't
have anything in its lineup that would exactly raise the pulse of
many younger buyers.
The CT 200h features the same
powertrain as the popular
Toyota Prius -- a 1.8-liter inline-4 engine paired with the
Synergy hybrid system and continuously variable transmission (CVT).
The vehicle offers an electric-only mode (good for only 1.2 miles)
along with ECO, NORMAL, and SPORT driving modes. The CT 200h also
incorporates LED daytime running lights up front and an 8"
multifunction display inside. Other interior features include a
two-tier dash -- which Lexus labels the Display Zone (upper dash) and
Operation Zone (lower dash) -- and the Lexus Remote Touch
multi-function controller first seen in the Lexus RX 350 and HS 250h.
Given that we're still a bit early in
the game with production details for the U.S. version of the CT 200h,
pricing is obviously not available yet. However, the MSRP should be
quite a bit less than the $34,650 price of the HS 250h.