Lexus brings hybrid to the compact market
Lexus has taken hybrid into the smaller-car segment with this. The CT200h is a full hybrid that costs under €30,000.
For those reasons and many others, such as downsizing in the economic crisis and €104-ayear road tax, they expect 300 or so to buy one this year.
Perhaps a less compelling reason is that – to my way of thinking, anyway – this car looks a lot better in the flesh than it does in pictures.
I drove it for a little while around Dublin recently. First impressions were of a smartlooking car with loads of pep, a nice cabin and a distinct ease of driving.
This slots in below the IS and the cabin, understandably, does not have the same space. Frontseat drivers are well looked after.
I think this will attract younger drivers who don’t necessarily need (yet) that much back-seat room.
The boot is just reasonable, with 375 litres of luggage capacity (up to 985 with the rear seats down).
Running costs are helped significantly by lower maintenance (estimated at 40pc below key rivals) as there is no starter motor, alternator, clutch or drive belts.
The battery has a fiveyear / 100,000km warranty but is designed to last the life of the car.
The lowest road tax is made possible by emissions that start at just 87g/km (3.8l/100km). You’ll notice that I’m sticking big time to the practicals here because I think that is where the big buyer focus is bound to be.
At the same time, there was a lively feel and touch to this, which may surprise people who are expecting a more pedantic drive.
The 1.8-litre petrol engine (99bhp) and electric motor (82bhp) are there to deliver 0-100kmh in 10.3 seconds and a top speed of 180kmh.
You’ll get up to two kilometres in pure electric (EV) mode below 45kmh.
Also, you can choose Eco, Normal and Sport, whose functions are self-explanatory.
There are eight air bags (including for the driver’s and front passenger’s knees) front seats designed to reduce the risk of whiplash, electronically controlled braking regeneration, traction control (TRC) and vehicle stability control (VSC).
Obviously being a hybrid, it can operate in both petrol and electric modes, either separately or together.
There are four equipment grades, starting with eco – dualzone climate control; LED daytime running lights; sixspeaker audio/CD system; electric windows; hill-assist control and rain-sensing wipers. This is one to watch. Key rivals include the Audi A3, BMW 1 series and Mercedes A/B Class but there will be owners of many other ‘prestige’ and non-prestige cars looking at this for a variety of reasons.