2011 Lexus CT 200h: A Prius-like hybrid for the fast crowd — Fortune Features

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Lexus CT 200h

2011 Lexus CT 200h: A hybrid for the fast crowd

31, 2011: 12:23 PM ET

When prices start to rise, the of economy-minded buyers reliably to the Toyota Prius, the mileage Edmunds.com reports consideration of the Toyota Prius among its shoppers is up more than 30% the beginning of the year — the increase for all hybrids and small in general.

Some shoppers, may feel diffident about the More than two million been sold worldwide so it is cutting-edge. And even if it didn’t out that way, the Prius has into a car for people who hate In the quest for industry-leading fuel ride and handling have sacrificed. Sitting in its hyper-aerodynamic surrounded by unfamiliar controls and I feel like I am travelling in a capsule — a prisoner of technology.

Driving a conventional car like the with a hybrid powertrain make much sense for people either. The tradeoff gasoline is uneconomic, and you don’t get a to flaunt your eco-consciousness.

Now has created an alternative: the Lexus CT

The Lexus is about the same as a Prius, carries the same of people, and is powered by the same of 1.8 -liter gasoline engine and electric motor.

But the Lexus overcomes two big shortcomings of the It doesn’t look like it landed from outer and it doesn’t drive like a sled. On the debit side, it gets worse gas mileage and more.

The CT 200h has an MSRP of but the premium audio, leather, and packages drove up the as-tested of my Premium edition loaner up to That’s about $2,500 than a top-of-the-line Prius but still the lowest-price Lexus in the Mileage is rated at 43 mpg city/40 The Prius is rated a good bit at 51 mpg city/48 highway.

Lexus CT 200h

For those willing to make the (did somebody call my the CT 200h (CT stands for compact is a handsome piece that and drives better than you expect — and gets you to Lexus’s famously accommodating at a bargain price.

The four-doors-and-liftback style blend the practicality of a wagon with the go-fast of a hot hatch. It may be the sportiest looking Lexus around. The interior, not as cushy as in higher-end Lexuses, makes you feel welcomed. The panel is mostly familiar, and helpful (although, oddly, the on instant and overall fuel is displayed on separate screens). The Prius gear selector feels more like a joy returns in the CT 200h.

The biggest step forward for the CT is in ride and handling. The suspension has upgraded, the car is better balanced, and the has been made more Gone are the rock-hard low rolling tires; they are replaced by pliant rubber. This is one hybrid that doesn’t going around corners or your backside on broken

Regrettably, the Lexus won’t the Prius in a contest at your drag strip. It is rated at an 9.8 seconds in getting to 60 miles per Shift the transmission to the eco mode and it even longer — an eternity. The transmission’s sport provided only slight but exacted no visible penalty in Over several hundred I averaged 41.4 mpg.

A word from the color My test car was drenched in paint Daybreak Yellow Mica. would be an equally accurate Neighbors complained and dogs Daybreak Yellow Mica look fine on a hot dog but lacks the I associate with Lexus.

planned to only sell 1,000 CT 200h’s a month the earthquake disrupted its production, this limited edition even more limited. A few more of them on the roads and the could start reducing its on foreign oil.

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