Lexus CT200h

Lexus has today announced the CT200h will be coming to SA in August 2011.

The CT200h opens the doors for Lexus into the lucrative hatch category, that is oh so popular in South Africa. It is the first full hybrid vehicle to be launched in the small luxury car segment. Oooh. Not the prettiest thing you’ve ever seen, at all, but it’s no Ssangyong Stavic.

The CT200h is based on a shared platform with Toyota, which, rumour has it, will also be launching a Auris Hybrid at some point in the future. Lexus & Toyota have been long leading the race when it comes to hybrid powertrains in South Africa, and will continue to do so with this CT200h, as the newest addition to this market segment.

The Lexus CT 200h is a full hybrid, capable of running on its petrol engine or electric motor alone, or with both working in combination. The system comprises an Atkinson cycle 1.8-litre VVT-i petrol engine and a powerful electric motor that in combination deliver 100kW of total system output. The CT 200h has been engineered to perform in two different driving “moods”, Relaxing or Dynamic, supported by four selectable driving modes: NORMAL, EV, ECO and SPORT. Claimed consumption figures for SA are not yet available.

Lexus says ” The CT 200h has been developed specifically to deliver superior handling, a rewarding drive and the level of ride comfort expected of a Lexus. “. Sadly, of all the reviews I’ve read about this car in publications from overseas, it seems that is not entirely true. The ride is apparently nothing to write home about, and rewards only by not rewarding at all. Hybrids are always hard to get an exciting drive out of, mostly because of the large batteries that mean

you’re throwing a lot of weight around. I’ll reserve full judgement until I drive it, but so far, according to other publications, it’s not looking good on the handling front.

This will be an exciting model for Lexus, for them to finally compete in the 1-Series, Golf, Audi A3, category, which is a lucrative category to be in, capturing “first-premium-car” buyers. 70% of all BMW 1 Series sold were to people new to the brand. The CT200h is obviously different, it being the first hybrid, and sets a benchmark for other brands to follow in this category.

Looking forward to getting behind

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