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2011 Lexus CT 200h Makes U.S. Debut at New York Auto Show

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Well, when we get it wrong, we really get it wrong.

Just yesterday, when we reviewed the new green production cars from the Geneva Motor Show, we said the new 2011 Lexus CT 200h compact hatchback hybrid would be restricted to Europe.

Not so.

This morning, Lexus dropped a press release saying the 2011 Lexus CT 200h would make its U.S. debut at the New York Auto Show, where media previews start four weeks from today.

Despite U.S. buyers' traditional preference for sedans over hatchbacks, Lexus is betting that buyers will opt for luxury compact hatchbacks if they offer both sporty handling and the fuel efficiency of hybrids. Today, its only U.S. competition is the 2010 Audi A3, and perhaps the 2010 Mini Cooper.

Lexus says the 2011 CT 200h is built on a new platform, using MacPherson struts up front and a dedicated double-wishbone and trailing-arm rear suspension design.

The Hybrid Synergy Drive system uses the same 1.8-liter four as in the 2010 Toyota Prius, unlike the more powerful 2.5-liter engine in the HS 250h sedan. It offers the usual mile or so of electric-only running, under light acceleration, at speeds up to 28 mph.

Lexus has promised "new levels of refinement, sophistication, and attention to detail" for the 2011 CT 200h, but also says the CT has been "specifically developed to combine superior handling agility and a sporty driving experience with the ride comfort expected of any Lexus."

In addition to EV, Eco, and Normal modes, the 2011 CT 200h will offer a Sport mode for a more responsive throttle and faster steering responses from the Electronic Power Steering (EPS).

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Comments (5)
  1. Great. Will it come with an accelerator and brakes that work? Could be a stretch but I'm willing buyers would opt for a vehicle that accelerates and stops on demand. I could be wrong tho..
     
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  2. Kidding aside, I think this is a TERRIBLE move by Lexus personally. Yes, there is probably a niche market for such a vehicle but really, you are building a Lexus version of a Mazda3. Not doing wonders for your image imo.. This will cost, what, $7-10K more than a Mazda3? Just plain silly..
     
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  3. Well, if it's going to be 1.8L, then Lexus is breaking its own supposedly-informative naming scheme by calling it the CT 200h rather than the CT 180h...
     
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  4. 1 mile EV is really useful during highway congestion. You charge the battery as you hit the jam. You use that regen energy to get through the jam (with 99.99 MPG) escaping the worse MPG a non-hybrid would get. That is one sweet feeling and it does not get boring. After 120k miles, I am still looking forward for traffic jams! No kidding!
     
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  5. I can't guess whether it's a good move or a bad move for Lexus, but it's a GREAT move for ME! I love hatch backs for their versatility, but hate the econobox form they usually take. The Sportcross was an ideal blend of luxury, performance, and versatility, and now there's going to be a vehicle that does all of that PLUS improves the one sore spot for the IS300, namely the mediocre mileage. (20 mpg average for such a small car!) I'm looking forward to this guy immensely.
     
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