• Feb 25th 2010 at 8:10PM
  • 122
2011 Lexus CT 200h – Click above for high-res image gallery

Earlier this week, we got a sneak peek at the new Lexus CT 200h from a brochure that somehow leaked out onto the Interwebs. Now, Lexus has seen fit to pull the curtain back all the way on its new premium hybrid hatchback ahead of its official debut at the Geneva Motor Show next week. A worldwide launch is promised later this year, but we can't confirm whether that includes the United States.

From what we can tell, the car retains some of Lexus's L-finesse design philosophy as seen on the LF-Ch concept that debuted in Frankfurt last year, except in a somewhat more production-ready (read: toned-down) state. Inside, Lexus employs an asymmetrical dash design that's split into what Lexus refers to as an upper Display Zone that includes an eight-inch LCD multi-display screen and a lower Operation Zone, which includes the shift lever and other controls such as Lexus's Remote Touch multi-function controller.

As expected, the baby Lexus is equipped with a 1.8-liter VVT-i gasoline-fed engine that's mated up with an electric motor using Toyota's proprietary Hybrid Synergy Drive technology and a continuously variable transmission. Sadly, we have no official power figure, but we imagine it should be somewhat close to the 134 combined ponies of the latest Toyota Prius.

According to Lexus, its hybrid hatchback can run in EV mode for up to 1.2 miles at speeds up to 28 miles per hour. In addition to pure EV mode, the driver can also select from Eco, Normal and Sport modes. Setting the CT 200h apart from other Toyota offerings is its dedicated double wishbone and trailing arm rear suspension system. Want more? Find all the details in the official press release after the break, and be sure to check out our high-res image gallery below.

[Source: Lexus]
Show full PR text

  • Lexus's first premium compact model
  • Lexus Hybrid Drive powertrain with 1.8-litre VVT-i petrol engine and powerful but compact electric motor
  • Full hybrid system with selectable EV mode for emissions-free electric running
  • Further selectable ECO, NORMAL and SPORT driving modes
  • ECVT intelligent electronic continuously variable transmission
  • Expected to deliver class-leading CO2 emissions
  • Significantly lower NOx emissions than equivalent diesel engines and almost no particulates
  • Long, 2,600mm wheelbase ensures excellent accommodation for everyone on board
  • Debut at Geneva motor show prior to worldwide sales launch in late 2010

The new Lexus CT 200h is the first full hybrid vehicle to be launched in the premium compact segment. Entering production in late 2010 and set for sale worldwide, the full hybrid model will provide a new gateway to the Lexus range and attract new, younger customers to the brand.

The CT 200h was designed and developed with the European market in mind. Lexus's first five-door compact car, its size, packaging, full hybrid technology and low emissions fully address the requirements of discerning, environment-conscious customers in a key market sector. At the same time, it does not compromise the quality, refinement and driving pleasure that are the hallmarks of every Lexus.

Exterior and interior design

The production-ready CT 200h retains strong visual links to the LF-Ch concept Lexus unveiled at the 2009 Frankfurt motor show. Its styling marks a powerful evolution of Lexus's L-finesse design philosophy with a distinctive, sharp-edged look that sets it apart from its premium compact rivals.

The exterior is styled for maximum aerodynamic efficiency and minimum wind noise. The strong front grille, directly referencing the LF-Ch concept sits over a full-width bumper and air dam. The headlamp units, positioned higher than the grille (a signature feature of L-finesse design), incorporate LED daytime running lights.

In profile, the steeply raked windscreen, long, flowing roofline and Lexus slingshot window graphic combine to create an elegant and distinctive silhouette. The front and rear corners have been pulled in tight and the wings are styled to improve airflow down the sides of the vehicle.

At the rear, the trailing edge of the roof overhangs a wide, wraparound rear window to create a seamless, integrated spoiler. A pronounced step in the tailgate section flows from the shoulders of the rear wheelarches and is anchored by a tail lamp design that displays the L-shaped motif that Lexus first introduced on the current LS model.

The interior combines superior ergonomics with extensive use of metallic finishes and dark, soft-touch surfaces.

Lexus has retained the asymmetrical dashboard design seen in the LF-Ch show car. Based on the Future Lexus Interior concept, the dashboard is split into an upper Display Zone, with an eight-inch LCD multi-display screen; and a lower Operation Zone, with the shift lever and other controls such as Lexus's Remote Touch multi-function controller.

In keeping with the car's performance, the driving position is set low, with a highly supportive driver's seat. The instrument binnacle houses large, twin dials; in SPORT mode, the hybrid indicator in the binnacle functions as a tachometer and the ambient lighting turns from blue to red. The two-mode switch ring and a spotlight in the centre cluster also light up in red, changing the whole atmosphere of the cabin.

In spite of its compact, efficient design, the CT 200h offers a roomy interior. The 2,600mm wheelbase allows for front and rear passenger accommodation that is among the most spacious in the segment. Luggage capacity is 345 litres, increasing to 700 litres with the rear seats lowered.

Lexus Hybrid Drive

The Lexus Hybrid Drive system in the CT 200h combines a 1.8-litre VVT-i petrol engine with a powerful electric motor. Drivers have the choice of four selectable drive modes: ECO and NORMAL place the emphasis on efficiency and comfort, while SPORT focuses on dynamic performance.

Unlike mild hybrid systems used by other manufacturers, the CT 200h also has an EV (electric vehicle) mode that allows for ultra-quiet running on the electric motor alone, resulting in zero fuel consumption and CO2, NOx and particulate emissions. The car is capable of running in EV mode for up to 1.2 miles at speeds up to 28mph.

Chassis and suspension

The CT 200h is built on a new platform with a dedicated double wishbone and trailing arm rear suspension system. It has been developed specifically to combine the ride comfort expected of a Lexus with superior driving involvement and handling agility.

Several elements in the MacPherson strut design have been exclusively developed for the mode, including the coil springs and shock absorbers, and a new front anti-roll bar has been designed to deliver improved roll rigidity.

The double wishbone rear suspension is exclusive to the CT 200h and incorporates a lightweight trailing arm. The springs and shocks are positioned separately to minimise intrusion into the loadspace floor.

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    • 1 Second Ago
      • 5 Years Ago
      Europe can keep it.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Hh cmon... Can't Africa get this one? We have everything from Rinspeed!
      • 5 Years Ago
      yeah....u g l y
      • 5 Years Ago
      The rumored sub-30 Acura will be a car like this.Bet on it.
      • 5 Years Ago
      A well integrated, put together looking design. It's sporty looking, aggressive, has subtle but elegant styling cues. The interior is understated, sporty and elegant.

      No wonder no one likes it! It's actually a nice looking wagon! People simply have no taste anymore.

      Oh let's all go applaud the pissed off cow Sonata and the goofy Mazda 3 and then trash one of the better looking cars to come out. What a bunch of tasteless buffoons.

      This thing looks excellent, and IF it was RWD or AWD with a proper inline 6 or at the very least a V6, I'd go trade my IS250 in for it in a heartbeat. I love my IS300 Sportcross, and done properly, this could have been a worthy successor to that excellent car.

      That being said, I will not be trading my IS250 in for this car, because it won't have a proper drivetrain! This is total BS! If this car had the mechanicals to match the looks, I'd be all over it. It's sexy but fails to impress from the on paper specs.

      If thing is absolutely brilliant on the road, then I might consider trading my IS for it. I wish that Lexus would stop catering to the pseudo-environmentalists and start catering to the enthusiasts again! FFS!

        • 5 Years Ago
        No a good looking small wagon/hatch would be an A3.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Looks nice. I love the interior, which has no wood. The interior is what next IS' interior should looks like.
        • 5 Years Ago
        It's pretty easy to be a "tasteless buffoon" when you post this, then, in reply to someone else's comment, write:

        8:42PM (2/25/2010)
        You insult this IS300 Sportcross owner by saying that. They never made an IS250 Sportcross, as that engine didn't make it into the IS until they redesigned it for 2006 model year. In Japan, the old IS came with either a 2.0L inline 4 tuned up by Yamaha, a 2.0L inline six or a 3.0L inline six. We only got the 3.0 here in the USA.

        They turned the IS into a very different car in 2006. I have the 2002 Sportcross as well as a 2009 IS250 and I like the old car much better. I was hoping that this car would be a worthy successor for the IS300 Sportcross, but it's not.

        I will have to wait until they release a Supra without hybrid drive or something before I get another car. This really blows, because there are people who still care about driving a nice car, rather than pretending to save the environment with a stupid ass hybrid."

        I suggest finding a clue before searching for your next car.
        • 5 Years Ago
        It is over weight and unrefined. There is no questioning that. That is fine if you like it but don't even compare it to the GTi or A3. Those cars are very refined and have a clear understanding of their purpose. They have the complete package. This car does not. Sorry.

        If their was an Audi or VW badge on this I would fly to Germany and slap the entire design team responsible.

        I will say that it is definitely Japanese though...but the lines, proportions, and stance just don't work together. I don't like the styling on the new Sonota but at least it all flows and works together. Whether you like it is a matter of taste. The Lexus is just poor design.

        This car looks like it was pieced together from 5 different cars. I think it has all the same styling issues as the LF-A. Not good. Not good at all.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Car makes sense for me as a commuter. Practicality and a some Lexus refinement for the added comfort. Would other cars be more enjoyable to drive? Of course, but this car might be more enjoyable to own if you're into that whole nice driving appliance thing. This car fills a niche that I might be apart of in the near future.
        • 5 Years Ago
        What's wrong with a directly injected boxer 4 or even a really nice inline 4? How about a low displacement inline 6 like the old IS had in Japan? Maybe with a turbocharger and less the 400lb battery?

        This has the right proportions and styling for the hot hatch demographic. The problem is the drivetrain. No one who's a driving enthusiast will put up with a huge battery and the engine stopping and starting, when there's better options out there.

        I really don't think that styling is a problem. Needs to be red or black, with bigger wheels. The tiny wheels make this car look bloated.
        • 5 Years Ago
        ROFL Vettro

        You totally lost all credibility when you said that the hideously overstyled Sonata has anything resembling coherent styling. It's one of the worst looking cars to come out. You'd think it was a joke it's so bad, much like the Mazda 3.

        There's nothing that works together on the Sonata. It's just a mish mash of distorted lines and unnecessary chrome strips.
        • 5 Years Ago
        To each his own. Personally, I think the profile kills it.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Jealous Europeans ITO321? I don't think so. The simple fact of the matter is that if Lexus designed this car to be sold primarily in Europe, and target the premium European opposition, they've completely missed missed the point by making this car a hybrid. Europe generally doesn't like hybrids, because they're expensive, complicated and not really any cleaner than a modern diesel engined car.

      Anyway, my comments had nothing to do with its powertrain, and everything to do with the fact that it's styling is disjointed, awkward and borderline ugly, and it's interior is nothing special compared to the premium opposition from Audi and BMW.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Alright, guys, you can put the cover back on.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Better learn to like it campers, this is the bellweather of what is coming, much like how everyone hated the Bangle-era BMWs and yet the highways are littered with them. The Lexus people aren't dumb. If they expected this to do badly in the showroom, they wouldn't make the car, and do you really think they care what a bunch of opinionated gearheads like us think. We, with the exception of a couple of Sportcross owners, don't buy their stuff. The current IS should appeal to us, but the reality is I see many being driven by less crazy types: the tuners don't seem to love this generation as much as the first generation.
        • 5 Years Ago
        They loved the old IS because it was easy to modify.

        This one is nearly impossible, and too expensive where it is possible. Modifying this IS puts you into ISF pricing, so there's no point. The IS is kind of a car for someone who wants to buy an already nice car that doesn't NEED modifying.

        • 5 Years Ago
        "The Lexus people aren't dumb."

        They're entering the european luxury hatch market without a diesel powerplant and without a manual transmission... i think there's ample evidence to the contrary.
      • 5 Years Ago
      ick, who "designed" that front bumper? What a mish-mash of disjointed shapes. Doesn't look too bad from the rear 3/4. Side view looks kinda cheap.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Lexus needs to forget the curtain and just drop a rock on this thing.
        • 5 Years Ago
        BTW, why would I be jealous of a car because it's expensive and it doesn't break down? I would only want the car more if it was expensive and reliable and in that case I wouldn't bash it.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Try one on your own head?

        It's funny as hell to a Lexus owner like me to see all the Lexus bashers come out of the woodwork. I think people either buy Lexus or hate them because they make cars that are expensive and tend to work and not break constantly like many American and European cars usually do, and they envy that.

        Or something.
        • 5 Years Ago
        don't get me wrong...I do like Lexus, not all of them though. I almost break my neck every time I see a new IS but this thing is just....eeh.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Man(!)...this thing just doesn't have the high-end-of-the-market look expected of a car carrying the Lexus badge. It looks low-rent Toyota(!)
      • 5 Years Ago
      It looked nasty at first. Then I realized that AB muddles the proportion when in small resolution, causing it to look like a blimp. You have to change to large resolution to actually see what the car is supposed to look like- absolutely beautiful (and very European design mind you).
      • 5 Years Ago
      can´t say it s good looking
      its fwd..... should rwd like 1series of bmw
      it's just another hybrid.... why not a several range of diesel and petrol engines and ok a hybrid version...
      why Lexus.....?
      surely the car will be good
      but somehow not what ppl really want
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