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Lexus brings an upscale “hot hatch” to New York — the CT200h

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The all-new hybrid-only CT200h blends “hot hatch” performance with exceptional fuel economy and typical Lexus luxury. Lexus’s newest hybrid, the CT200h, made its North American debut at the New York International Auto Show. Previously shown at the Geneva Auto Show in March, the appearance of the CT200h in New York represents Lexus’s intent to bring the small, luxurious five-door hatchback to the United States, where it will likely debut in early 2011.


Based on the Japanese-market Toyota Blade, the CT200h will become the second hybrid-only Lexus, following the newly-released HS250h sedan. At just 170.1 inches in length, it’s also the smallest Lexus ever, coming in more than a foot shorter than the HS250h, and about six inches shorter than the Prius from parent company Toyota.  Despite its small size, however, the CT200h will be available with a 182 horsepower version of the Prius’s 1.8-liter hybrid 4-cylinder – a 35% increase in power over the Prius. Lexus intends for the CT200h to be seen not as an all-out gas saver, but as an upscale ‘hot hatch,’ aiming to blend performance and luxury with hybrid power. Though pricing and fuel economy have not been confirmed, the CT200h will likely start in the low $30,000 range and get around 40 mpg, making it more efficient – but also more expensive – than hatchback competitors like the Mazda3 and Volkswagen Golf.


Like the Lexus HS250h, the CT200h is available with four drive modes which change battery supply, drive range, climate control output, and suspension settings based on the driver’s selection. The CT200h also shares the HS250h’s Remote Touch, a center console controller for climate, navigation, and audio functions similar to a computer mouse.  Despite these similarities, however, the CT200h is set to bring its own personality to Lexus’s hybrid lineup.


 


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