Lexus first started talking up the possibility of a sportier, more aggressive hybrid luxury sedan two years ago, when they trademarked “CT300h” and “CT400h” to go along with their then-new CT200h hybrid luxo-hatch. We may not have gotten the 300 HP, V8-engined super hybrid that the “400h” moniker suggested (or that Acura, clearly, expected), but what we have instead might be better. Welcome, then, the new-for-2014 Lexus CT200h F Sport hybrid.
The new CT200h is just what the old one was, in some ways. It’s practical, thanks to its 4-door hatchback layout and short, easy-to-park overhangs. It’s fuel efficient and green, giving back more than 40 MPG with ultra-low emissions, according to the EPA. It’s also a Lexus, which means it has enough comfort-adding goodies to go toe-to-toe with your neighbor’s Mercedes C-class or Audi A4. Where the new “sport hybrid” GT200h gets different from the CT200h we all knew and
loved found relatively interesting is the car’s updated 4-mode hybrid system, which Lexus describes thusly:
Under certain conditions, the CT 200h can be driven in quiet EV mode, which allows it to drive short distances at low speeds with zero tailpipe emissions. It’s ideal for running a quick local errand or scouting for a parking space in a crowded lot or garage.
The EV mode is one of four choices from the Drive-Mode selector, which also lets the driver choose from among Normal, Sport and Eco modes. Normal mode provides the best all-around mix of performance and efficiency, with a linear and naturally progressive power buildup. Selecting Sport mode invigorates driving feel, yielding crisper throttle response and a tighter feel through the Electronic Power Steering. “Hyper-milers” will appreciate Eco mode, which adjusts throttle response and climate control settings to prioritize fuel economy.
Subtle tweaks to the CT200h’s exterior certainly freshen the car’s appearance, too. Meanwhile, the new F Sport hybrid package adds special lightweight suspension components, 17″ lightweight performance wheels, and a revised vehicle weight distribution (per Lexus) to help endow the Lexus CT200h F Sport with exceptional agility.
Will the new Lexus CT200h F Sport package be enough to convince jaded auto-industry veterans that Lexus can build a competent sport hybrid that doesn’t give up anything to, say, an entry-level diesel BMW? I’ve already reached out to Lexus to try to secure a drive, and I’ll let you know when I know. Until then, feel free to speculate in the comments section, below.
Source | Images: Lexus.