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.