By on January 12, 2011

Lexus entered the „premium compact“ segment today by launching their CT 200h hybrid hatchback in Japan. They could call it CT 200hhh – as in harmonious hatch hybrid. We’ll get to the harmonious in a minute.

A 1.8-liter Atkinson engine creates the power for the hybrid system. It gets 34.0 km/liter according to Japanese rules. That converts to 80 mpg, using a straight (non-EPA) conversion. The CO2 production is likewise impressive: Only 68 g/km or 76 g/km of CO2 are produced (depending on the test cycle.)

An F Sport version buys a special front grille, sporty seat fabric, a tuned suspension and high-performance tires. The power train remains the same.

The h in the CT 200 h definitely doesn’t stand for hooning. The CT 200h rewards environmentally considerate driving with a “Harmonious Driving Navigator” that gives you awards points for environmentally considerate driving. The points actually have value, they can be used to donate to charity. More details in the official press release.

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26 Comments on “Lexus Introduces Harmonious Hybrid Hatchback...”

  • avatar

    All I see are words and a picture of a car that makes me want to slit my wrists. What happened to style and excitment?

    If I had to buy a car in this class I’d buy a BMW 1 Series Coupe. This car is too dull for words. Fuel economy is one thing sadism is another.

    • 0 avatar

      I guess you don’t like hatchbacks? The 1 series coupe is in no way a competitor to a hatchback; one is useful, the other is an expensive toy. Yes, it’s a fun toy, but still only suitable for 2 adults and a medium sized dog. This Lexus is going up against the A3 TDI more than anything else.
      I like the “style,” but the promise of a 9 second tear to 60 mph doesn’t exactly make me excited. It’s too bad the F sport doesn’t have a more purposeful engine to go along with the fancy grill.

    • 0 avatar

      Excuse me, Tstag, I take it you don’t like the Mazda3 either? As to what you say about coupes, I’ll buy a coupe when the carmakers build a proper two-door pillarless hardtop with rear windows that roll down, preferably a Chevy Malibu SS, Impala SS, Galaxie 500, (insert other classic coupes here!), or even a “proper” Camaro, Mustang, Challenger! Well, you get my drift. Since I can’t get any of those, a nice-looking hatchback or wagon would make me quite happy. Dreaming, dreaming.

    • 0 avatar

      FYI, BMW does make 1 series hatchback. It’s a pity they refuse to bring it across the pond. I ‘ll love to lay my hands on those 1 series diesels.

  • avatar

    Somebody already beat me to the Mazda 3 comparison, if it had more of a mouth on it, then it’d look just like one.   I’d be more interested when I hear the MPG numbers, always liked hatchback/wagons, and with $5 gasoline coming soon…  Anyway, I assume this is the Lexus version of the Prius V?   Or is it a different car?

    • 0 avatar

      It is on a completely different chassis than the Prius.  It shares the 1.8HSD drivetrain but the differences are pretty vast after that.  First off, the CT rides on a double wishbone rear suspension instead of torsion bar.  Decidedly more sporty.  Second, the interior and exterior dimensions are all slightly different.  The CT rides on a shorter wheelbase (102″ v. 106″) but a wider rear track. The CT is also ~5″ shorter overall.  MPG is estimated to be 42city/38highway/40combined on the EPA cycle.  I don’t know if that is in Eco, Sport, or Normal driving mode, though.  Supposedly, in sport mode, the voltage delivered to the electric motor is upped from 500V to 650V. The Prius runs 500V at all times.

      Donating your “eco driving” is a pretty neat concept. Makes it even more like a video game!

  • avatar
    John R

    Sigh. I like the way this looks. I just wish there was a non-hybrid option with a 200hp motor. Oh well.

    • 0 avatar

      Toyota owns trademarks for CT300h and CT400h.  The little h implies hybrid, but there could be a higher power version down the pipeline.  I’m also assuming you want a 6MT.  That isn’t going to happen with HSD, sadly.  It is a shame that Honda won’t use their IMA hybrid with something a little more potent than the drivetrain that the CR-Z has.  A CT chassis w/ the 2.5L AR engine, IMA, and 6MT would give you 200hp, row-your-own gears, and likely 40city/36highway in real world driving.  The AR in the Camry returns 33mpg highway, so I don’t see why it couldn’t do better w/ hybrid assist and a smaller, lighter chassis. 

  • avatar

    I dont think anyone is gonna be cross shopping this with a BMW 1 series.  Besides the 1 series is ugly. I also want them to bring the hatchback here – it looks that is the way the car was designed. The sedan looks to me as an afterthought for hatchback phobic americans. 

    This car I aqree will be cross shopped with the A3, a car that has had grear success in crouded ciities like Philadelphia, but less so elsewhere.  I also see a loaded GTI, perhaps, but i truely think it will eat Prius sales, and other sedan based hybrids, like the fords and nissans.  This car is prettier, has a higher level of interior fit and finish, and its a small station wagon.   So you can have your overpriced luxury and upper class nameplpate and still be a small fuel efficient hybrid. Just the thing to chat about at cocktail parties. Just kidding. (not).

    • 0 avatar

      I am a recovering MKV GTI owner.  I just checked the dimensions versus my old 07 GTI (which was perfectly sized for a daily driver), and the CT is just a hair smaller in the back seats (2.5″ legroom) and a few cu ft less maximum cargo area (seat up volume is same).  Everything else is nearly spot on.  So, the size is right.  The interior seems well sorted.  The MPG is good.  The price is reasonable.  So long as it handles well, I could see it in my garage. 

      You are correct about it probably taking Prius sales, though.  I could see myself in a Prius due to the great practicality and efficiency, but I’d probably have supplimented some fun w/ an early 90s Miata.  The CT won’t be as efficient as a Prius or as fun as a RWD vert, but it will be a much nicer place to be than either of those and that counts for something.  Heck that is probably what I loved most about my MKV GTI.  It was a nice place to be.

  • avatar
    Mark MacInnis

    All I see is a gussied-up matrix with a hybrid drive train….what else ya got?

    • 0 avatar

      Technically, it’s a small Camry hatchback with a hybrid powertrain.  Or a four-door hybrid-powered Scion tC with a nice interior.
      It will scoop Prius sales, or at least top-trim Prius sales.  Personally, I hope it knifes the ugly-duckling HS250h.

  • avatar

    They gonna get WWE’s Triple H to endorse it?

  • avatar

    The F Sport package is an appearance package, suspension… and tires?  I thought Chevy had problems when they slapped SS on everything.  That is prettly lame.
    I hope this is expected to go over better than the CRZ.  Because I don’t seeing it being very good.

    • 0 avatar

      F sport is an accessory package, much like the M sport and AMG packages on BMW and Merc.  Those are meant for the 335i, E350, and IS350 type models to spruce it up without going all out to an M3, E63 AMG, or IS-F, for example.  The SS moniker is more like the M3, E63 AMG, and IS-F.  I nearly bought a 328i sport wagon, 6MT, w/ M sport package back in 2007.  It gave a slightly better steering wheel, better seats, better looking aero, better suspension, and better tires, IIRC.  Just because I don’t want to own the fuel guzzling M3 doesn’t mean I don’t appreciate small improvements throughout the car. 

      Why complain about tires in a sporty upgrade package?  Tires are the first thing you should upgrade on any car that doesn’t come with a high performance summer tire standard if you are looking to improve the performance.

      By most accounts, the recent SS trims were pretty good other than the Impala, which didn’t really fit the expectation of an SS car.  The SS cobalt and HHR were great performers.

    • 0 avatar

      Maybe you have forgotten about the SS Silverado, Malibu and Equinox.  Those were more trim related than anything else.  At least the SS Impala got its own engine.  History of SS also notes it as a sporty trim.  Most people now want it to be about performance.  I prefer the performance end.
      I wasn’t aware of F sport being an accessory package.  I was thinking about it as an F performance model.  I wasn’t dogging it for tires.  I know that tires can make all the difference in the world for performance.  I was just surprised that there was no power train difference.

    • 0 avatar

      OK, I somehow blocked the Silverado, Equinox, and Malibu out of my mind.  I actually wasn’t aware there was a Malibu SS at all.  Point taken.
      I actually thought of another.  Audi has S-line for the A & TT models, too.  IIRC, Volvo has one as well.

  • avatar

    It’s not a bad looking car. I’d prefer a bit more performance but it is what it is.

    I’m really looking forward to the Focus ST.

  • avatar

    If the headroom is any smaller than IS, 50% of men in America would not be able to fit. Women might.

  • avatar

    Ugly AND overpriced. Further proof that the Japanese have truly lost their way.

    • 0 avatar

      I think it is quite nice looking. I mean what is the standard here? A3? Golf? WRX? I think this more than holds it own in the looks dept.
      The 9 sec 0-60 is pretty weak however. Even with tight handling, the power numbers are a bit soft.
      But the American masses clamoring for a screaming hot hatch, if only automakers would listen and truly find their way…. I don’t subscribe to that theory.

  • avatar

    I’ve driven it for few hours. What it lacks in straight line speed, it makes up in corners. Chassis is superbly tight and handling is pure pleasure (much better than IS). 1-series hatch is the only car in this class that drives as good as CT. Best seating position in Lexus range (except LFA maybe :D), the seat can be adjusted very low, steering wheel is sporty and thick, standard seats are very supportive and comfortable. Compared to IS it has more headroom in front and back, and most importantly rear legroom is vastly better than in the IS. The car feels really solid and radiates quality. In my opinion various Toyota model lineup comparisons to CT are unfounded. Since I haven’t owned anything under 300hp the last 10 years I would not personally buy it, but around 200hp (with current mpg numbers) in this chassis would really make me consider it as a second car in the family.

  • avatar

    Despite being a small car I suspect this model will appeal more to Americans than Europeans. For the simple reason that Europe hate’s all things Lexus and Americans love all things Lexus. I guess it’s perspective. We look at Lexus as upgraded Toyota’s for old people and as a badge with zero appeal. Wheras we look at BMW, Mercedes, Audi, Jaguar and Land Rover as badges with history and cars with style with largely independent bespoke designs.
    To me as a European I not only hate the style but the brand and all it’s designed for old people values.

  • avatar

    It is a Lexus Cimarron, with looks stolen from the Mazda 3 (yuk), but twice the price.  This is not why people buy a Lexus.  No deal.

    BTW, the “harmonious driving navigator” I remember from the past was a vacuum-driven shift light, or an “ECO” light on the dashboard. I don’t need a computer to tell me I’m wasting gas with my foot to the floor.

  • avatar

    I understand that different testing methodologies lead to different mileage numbers but…80 mpg on the Japanese cycle vs 40 mpg as measured by the EPA? That makes a mockery of the notion that these wild economy claims have any grounding in reality.
    Journalists’ and consumers’ experiences suggest that the EPA numbers are pretty close to ground truth, if perhaps a bit conservative. So this would be a good time to stop touting all those “70 mpg diesels” and “80 mpg hybrids” that are zooming around in Europe and Japan.

  • avatar

    I can’t wait until they figure out how to smoothly integrate tail-lights into the body shape.  Again.

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