2011 Lexus CT 200h
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.
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).