Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Lexus Unveiling Hybrid Hatchback

Delray Beach, Fla. -- Lexus recently unveiled its premium hatchback, the CT 200h, that will go on sale in March. 
This hybrid is small; 170.1 inches in length.
That puts it about an inch longer than one of its key competitors, the Audi A3.
It doesn't offer quite as much front headroom or second-row legroom as the Audi. Cargo space is 14.3 cubic feet, which is also smaller than the A3's 19.5 cubic feet. 

But it does offer a stout yet rakish exterior design and a modern, neat interior.

On the outside, check out the aggressive fascia and the two pinched slats dividing the headlamps and grille. 

Inside, the leather-wrapped LFA-inspired steering wheel is sized appropriately and it's nice to have the inboard Mode and Display buttons placed at thumb-level. The normal array of controls for volume, channel and phone functions are easily read and controlled, as is the center-mounted climate control stack. 

 The trim choices are linked nicely with the "NuLuxe" synthetic leather upholstery that is available. But regular leather can also be selected. 

The Universal Device Holder –  a stand for your smartphone that rises from the transmission column -- fits nearly every device, from the iPhone to the EVO, to display streaming audio and navigation instructions.

The engine is a 1.8-liter four-cylinder, which makes 98 horsepower at 5,200 rpm and 105 pounds-feet of torque at 4,000 rpm. Two electric motors are fed by 28 Ni-MH batteries to churn out an additional 36 hp.

Lexus is billing the CT as, essentially, an entry-level luxury car that lets you be green.

With its sharp styling and fuel economy (42 mpg city, 41 highway), it's making a good case.

Pricing will be announced in the first week of December, Lexus says.

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