Why Have a Compact Hybrid When You Can Have a Hybrid Crossover, Lexus Figures

Patrick Hoffstetter
by Patrick Hoffstetter

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.

Patrick Hoffstetter
Patrick Hoffstetter

Automotive writer based in Austin, TX.

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  • TurboX TurboX on May 24, 2016

    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

    • VoGo VoGo on May 24, 2016

      OK, but for $0 down; $200/month, you did well. What is the equivalent at that money, a basic Chevy Cruze? Big difference.

  • Dal20402 Dal20402 on May 24, 2016

    $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.

  • AZFelix This article does not appear to address non-functional exhaust tip segments attached to the muffler body. When stopped behind certain cars (especially at night), I have noticed that in some cars with dual tips projecting from a single muffler unit, one is fake. The functioning one is dark and sooty while the other has a clean and shiny inside with the solid back panel of the muffler being visible. I have seen this on a Camry and possibly an Accord and BMW if I recall correctly, and am certain these were all OEM exhausts. Feel free to chime in with other confirmed sightings. I also recall reading somewhere that Ford designed an exhaust system where the gasses were vented downwards through a hole proximal to the end of the tail pipe. This prevents discoloration of the metal and soot from building up on the exhaust tips. It was done to address complaints from owners.
  • Ajla Fair enough. He could have used more precision in his words.
  • ToolGuy I AM PLACING [sic] NICELY. There is NO NEED TO BAN ME. Personally I do lots of things which DON'T MAKE SENSE, sometimes to myself, often to others. WHO ELON MUSK ENDORSES is really kind of NONE OF MY BUSINESS. It is a FREE COUNTRY, in some ways, still. I wish I knew how to FORMAT MY COMMENT better. I USED TO KNOW HOW, maybe I am losing it slowly (lot of that going around, JUST SAYING).
  • Aja8888 I can't read those whole thread without throwing up....
  • ToolGuy Maybe I will GIVE IT A LISTEN. Probably when I'm MOWING THE LAWN. Probably with a BATTERY OPERATED MOWER. (There are also batteries IN MY HEADPHONES. And IN MY PHONE.) Does anyone remember how to make a NEW PARAGRAPH?