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Lexus CT 200h
Lexus buyers will now have a smaller, cheaper vehicle to choose from

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 younger clientele.

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.

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RE: quality over quantity
By Keeir on 3/12/2010 12:57:44 PM , Rating: 2

Why do Europeans persist in being dumb about this?

#1. Most American's look at the Total Cost of owning a Car over 5-10 years and decide based on this. Our low fuel costs make Fuel Economy typically a low place decision. For example, lets look at the Audi A3 TDI, Manual, versus the equivalent gasoline A3 (2.0T).

$2,000 USD MSRP
Most states this will translate into 200-400 dollars on extra taxes over the life of the car.

At 24 US Mils/Gal, over 100,000 miles, the Gasoline car use ~4170 gallons of gas
At 35 US Mils/Gal, over 100,000 miles, the Diesel version uses ~2857.14 gallons of gas

Over 100,000 miles, the cost difference in the US is less than 2,000 dollars. And lets not forget the nearly 2 second zero to 60 advantage of the gasoline model.

In conclusion, American's will often pick the faster, larger, or in other words better car if the price premium is acceptable. Just as people in Europe do... just so happens that the Fuel price premium works out be relatively minor. In the above example (Audi A3) it works out to ~1 dollar a day to get superior speed performance.

#2. US gas tax isn't used to maintain our roads!
Only 60% of the Federal portion is used.
States will often use even less of the Fuel Tax on roads.

YET Despite this

~95% of Federal Roadway construction is funded by the Fuel Tax
~85% of State Roadway construction is funded by state fuel tax or federal grants from
Although local roadways are funded only at ~11%

Overall, if the US used 100% of the current fuel tax for road construction, road construction at all levels could be completely paid for by the road tax.

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