Geneva Update: Lexus CT200h Unveiled
Hybrid hatch is new Lexus standard bearer in the battle with BMW/Audi
Lexus made us wait a whole six months to reveal what it was doing with the older LF-Ch concept, and it turns out they've created this: A 1-series-sized hybrid with occasionally challenging styling details and that looks like a Toyota Auris crossed with the LF-Ch concept car. Inside it has taken cues from the LF-Ch car as well as the latest iteration of the RX SUV - the asymmetrical dash particularly stands out.
"It's not overtly a hybrid," says Takeshi Tanabe, the chief designer for the CT200h. "we wanted it to be a premium vehicle first and foremost."
But dynamically the CT200h owes a great deal more to its premium-compact rivals, particularly the BMW 1-series, as Chief engineer, Osamu Sadakata, explains: "We wanted to conquer the dynamic weaknesses of the front-wheel drive package and to make the car handle like a front-engined, rear-drive hatch. We believe we have succeeded."
There are three driving modes to choose from: Eco, Normal and Sport. Both Eco and Normal mode are focused on keeping emissions down, and comfort. In these two modes the two large dials in the instrument binnacle are for the hybrid indicator and the speedo. When you flick over to Sport mode the hybrid indicator functions as a rev counter instead. Sport mode also changes the ambient lighting in the dash from 'polar bear-pleasing' blue to 'clubbed-seal, let's get out of here' red.
The CT200h will hit showrooms later this year. No official prices have been revealed as yet, but expect the CT200h to cost around £21k. Oh, and it looks better in the metal than it does in these pics. Honest, guv...