By on May 24, 2016


Lexus is looking to replace its aging Prius-based CT200h hybrid with a new model — possibly one that’s bigger, wider, and boxier than before.

Since it’s 2016, Lexus decided the crossover craze demands a move away from a compact hatchback design, the brand’s European chief implied when speaking to Autocar.

The CT200h never sold as well as Lexus planned, with sales capping at around 10,000 units per year. The model was designed to take on other small compacts in the premium market, but the segment breakthrough never happened.

Rather than replace the car with a new hatchback, Lexus might be readying a crossover to try to gain a bigger piece of the premium market.

While news of the rumored model are coming out of Lexus’ European division, the crossover market has become hot enough to drive demand of new units across the globe. Crossovers could account for almost half of the automaker’s sales this year. Combine that with the global desire for hybrids and compact premium cars, and a new model that satisfies all categories seems like a no-brainer.

As European buyers move away from diesel power, Lexus of Europe head Alain Uyttenhoven said such a model would avoid the “no diesel” laws passed in many city centers.

There’s no word yet on possible looks for the new model, but the design of the tiny LF-SA concept at last year’s Geneva Motor Show would make sense for a small crossover. Either way, expect a hybrid drivetrain, some nice leather and technology, and that predator mouth that all new Lexii have.

Even if the little CT hasn’t actually been a sales success, I have always found them to be kind of neat. That and many owners I have know have adored their vehicles. The CT bows out in the next year or two, so we can only wait for details on its replacement.

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30 Comments on “Why Have a Compact Hybrid When You Can Have a Hybrid Crossover, Lexus Figures...”

  • avatar

    This will be smaller than the NX hybrid?

    • 0 avatar

      I had similar thoughts, they just introduced a model which fits the prerequisites.

    • 0 avatar

      F*ck you, Lexus, you dumba$$ pieces of $hit who had the world on a platter and submarined aesthetics design, price/performance ratio, performance/luxury ratio, interior materials, durability, comfort, spaciousness and overall quality in order to chase zeee last gen Germans around the Nurburgring, and ruin your core principles that once put you on a moonshot trajectory, with scant hopes of Ben twice as expensive vehicles ever catching you on the value/quality/comfort/durability/aesthetics/materials fronts.

      No go forth with increasingly heinous exterior designs, cheapened/hollowed-out interiors, degraded quality, harshed comfort, and worse vehicles with smaller blown motors and idiotic transmissions, as a lemming follows the one in front into a full blown, suicidal cliff dive.

      • 0 avatar

        But bro, did you see the grills?

        I agree in principle. There isnt much that Lexus make that is competitive. Even when they try like the RC/RC-F they snatch failure from the jaws of victory.

  • avatar

    The CT200h was kneecapped by the decision to use the Prius powertrain without any changes despite the extra weight. It was just too slow, and too obviously slow to drivers, for the market to take it seriously.

    It would have been interesting to see how it would have done if equipped with the Camry Hybrid powertrain, which probably would have given it 0-60 times in the high sixes.

    It also was not finished or equipped as well as anything else in the Lexus lineup.

    • 0 avatar

      Maybe it should have been a Scion? :D

    • 0 avatar

      Pity, as the CT200h was the only Lexus that ever appealed to me. Out of my price range new, the ones I’m seeing affordable (under $18k) are coming with much higher mileage than I prefer to buy.

      • 0 avatar

        Have you ever sat in one? They’re very disappointing. I wanted to love it, and my whole heart is open for every Toyota and Lexus there ever was, but it’s a very small car, it’s pretty slow, and the mileage isn’t that great all things considered.

        I can only imagine the vapid, trendy, rich idiot that buys one of those CTs over a Prius. You can get a base Prius and save ~10k over a base CT. Or you can get a loaded Prius for the price of a base CT200h. The prius is more spacious, about the same speed, gets 5-10 more mpg, has better resale (as a % of MSRP), and much better cargo space.

        The sticker price of a CT200h with navigation is ~37k and a loaded CT200h can ring the 40k bell.

    • 0 avatar

      You beat me to the comment: the CT200h always caught my eye, but I completely agree that it was just too slow and underpowered. The styling almost looked like a hot hatch (which happens to fit my personal preference), but the car underneath just didn’t match the outward looks.

    • 0 avatar

      I love the CT body style, but I agree the power train was not up to the task. That body with the new 2.0t that is slow in every other iteration would be perfect. I would totally buy a CT200t.

    • 0 avatar

      I have always wondered why they didn’t make a Prius with the Camry Hybrid’s powertrain. Prius R!

      This sounds interesting but they will have to get the sizing absolutely perfect, or they will have a Q3 type disaster on their hands. Problem is the NX is about as small as a crossover can get while still being comfortable and usable. On the flip side they have a ton of room to go down in price between the NX300h’s $38K starting price and the $30K self imposed lower limit.

    • 0 avatar

      The interior on these is just a joke, I agree.

    • 0 avatar

      Even the people on Club Lexus don’t like the CT.

      I know of at least 2 CL members that bought the CT only to have buyers remorse later on and dump it.

  • avatar

    Well, they could always make a plug in hybrid coupe that does 0-60 in about eight seconds, do an in your face commercial for it and sticker it at 70 grand.

    Wait…that sounds familiar…

    (Worth noting to all the Cadillac haters out there…this is actually the SECOND hybrid bomb from Lexus…)

    • 0 avatar

      The people who park next to my parents in their condo garage have an HS, and I think it’s the only one I’ve ever seen in the wild. From the outside, I actually kind of like it. For a 21st century sedan, it’s pretty upright and consequently seems a bit better packaged than recent ES’s. But you’re right, there seemed to be no market for it.

  • avatar

    My brother picked up a used 2014 CT F-Sport for $17K. His previous cars were a leased 2011 BMW 328 and a 96 E36 328. He cannot help but knock the Lexus every chance he gets. It’s heavy, slow, has no useful interior space, and the infotainment interface is frustration compared to what he’s use to. However, he bought it strictly as a low cost, low maintenance, commuter car and it serves its purpose quite well. He lives outside Boston, MA and he rarely gets above 40mph during his 12 mile commute to work.

    He refuses to try to fit the family in the CT, for that they use their 2014 X3.

  • avatar
    Kyree S. Williams

    I just can’t get around that hideous C-pillar treatment.

  • avatar

    I never understood who this car was for. It costs as much as a GTI, and is about as fun to drive as a Corolla. Does anyone think Lexus when they think hatchback? Was this supposed to be the replacement for the IS300 Sportcross? If so, you failed guys, big time.

  • avatar

    I’ve actually seen one of these, pulled right up behind it at a stop light.

    Before closing enough to discern the badge I was thinking “Damn, Kia’s really upped their paint game!”

  • avatar

    All the hate aside, you can typically get a killer lease deal on these since Lexus has had so much trouble moving them.

    Throttle response isn’t too bad (in sport mode, at least), the handling is shockingly tight for a Lexus, and they have extremely comfortable seats. Compared to the pitiful ride and embarrassingly cheap trim inside a Prius, the CT200h definitely feels in a different league. The base model at just a bit of $30k is very well-equipped, too (I don’t really understand why anyone would pay extra for navigation in an era of smartphones…but that’s another matter entirely).

    If you do a fair amount of low-speed or stop-and-go driving, these really aren’t as bad of a choice as some people make them out to be.

  • avatar

    I leased one of those when they were blowing them away for $200/month with zero down. As others mentioned, it is slow and small inside, but it was a perfect commuter car for me to drive myself to work.
    Pros: decent gas mileage (though worse than Prius), sound insulation, firm front seats, great steering wheel, hatchback
    Cons: slow, bad driving dynamics, more body roll than I am used to, passenger space is tight

  • avatar

    $0/200 is a far better deal than you could get on a loaded-to-the-gills Prius, and an average CT200h is better equipped and a lot more comfortable than such a Prius. If I needed a commuter appliance I’d jump all over a CT200h for that price, slow or not.

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