Lexus calls the 2011 Lexus CT 200h “the world’s first luxury hybrid sportback”. In terms of size, the 2011 Lexus CT200h and Toyota Matrix are practically identical. This new Lexus is the entry-level model of Toyota’s luxury division. Lexus identifies the Audi A3, BMW 128, Mercedes-Benz B200 and Volvo C30 as the CT 200h’s main competition.
As a Lexus, the 2011 CT 200h is entitled to a wide range of luxury features, including automatic climate control, smart key access, cruise control, HomeLink universal transceiver, NuLuxe seating surfaces, tilt-and-telescoping steering column, power adjusted and heated front seats, premium audio system, etc.
|2011 Lexus CT 200h|
Evidently, a hybrid vehicle is synonymous of eco-consciousness. In this respect, 30% of the CT 200h’s interior is composed of recyclable materials. The Japanese automaker demonstrated environmental concern in several areas. One is the audio system’s speaker diaphragms, made with a bamboo charcoal resin. A first for Lexus, they are constructed using a complex composition of bamboo charcoal, bamboo fibre and resin moulded by injection to a thickness of only 0.008-0.010 in. They are 10% to 15% lighter than conventional diaphragms yet are 20% stiffer and with a 10% greater sonic speed.
|2011 Lexus CT 200h|
The synthetic leather used for the base model is another example. Developed as an ecological substitute for leather, NuLuxe is a new seating material with a different feel. It is ecological in that it uses no volatile organic compounds (VOCs). Half the weight of genuine leather, it helps reduce total vehicle weight. It also reduces CO2 emissions by 65%, compared to traditional synthetic leather production methods, and with no metallic residue, since pattern processing is made by ink jet.
Needless to say, as a Lexus the CT 200h is entitled to a full array of safety equipment: antilock brakes, stability control, active front head restraints, brake assist, eight airbags (including driver and front occupant knee bags), and Smart Stop technology that automatically reduces engine power, to help stop the vehicle,
if ever the accelerator and brake pedals are hit simultaneously.
|2011 Lexus CT 200h|
To power the front wheels of the Lexus CT 200h, the engineers called on an improved version of the Prius drivetrain, composed of a 1.8-litre Atkinson cycle four-cylinder gas engine, two motor-generators and a continuously variable electronic transmission. That puts 134 horsepower at the driver’s disposal, along with a choice of four operating modes. In certain conditions, in EV (electric) mode, the vehicle can cover up to 1.6 km at speeds less than 40 km/h on the electric motor alone.
In Normal mode, everything functions in a “conventional” manner, with an electric power of 500 volts. Eco mode regulates air conditioning and throttle response to maximize fuel efficiency. Sport mode, a first for Lexus hybrids, modifies the electrically assisted steering system and throttle settings, increases the electric motor’s battery power to 650 volts, and makes the stability and traction control systems less intrusive for a livelier driving experience. Lexus rates fuel consumption at 4.5 L/100 km in the city, and 4.8 L/100 km on the highway.
|2011 Lexus CT 200h Dasboard|
For a sporty drive and a smooth ride worthy of the name, the engineers designed the CT 200h with a low centre of gravity, a rigid structure and an independent suspension tuned to a blend of suppleness and firmness. They also added a front and rear lateral performance damping system to enhance both comfort and steering
precision. A first in the compact luxury segment and a first for a Lexus vehicle, the system absorbs and minimizes undesirable body vibrations.
During the course of a few hundred kilometres on the roads of Alberta, we found the Lexus CT 200h to be fun to drive, notably thanks to its suspension comfort and sporty road holding sufficiently sporty for some drivers to fantasize about a more powerful engine to make the most of the vehicle’s capabilities. With its modest dimensions, the CT 200h cabin is more suited to average sized, rather than tall, individuals. Lexus hopes to sell 1,200 CT 200h’s this year. The 2011 Lexus CT 200h base model is priced at $32,900. Three option packages are offered: Touring ($1,950), Premium ($4,950) and Technology ($8,400).