Saturday, 5 November 2011
Lexus hots up its hybrid hatchback
LEXUS, it seems, are way ahead of me.
When I test drove the CT-200h earlier this year I walked away impressed but slightly frustrated; it was a hugely impressive hybrid hatchback, but "it isn't the last word in excitement". It was, I wrongly concluded, business as usual when it came to Japan's 1-Series bater. Even Kylie Minogue struggled to make the standard version look exciting.
But now the Japanese luxury car master's just spiced up the smallest of its models, meaning you can now enjoy a sports version of its hybrid hatchback.
The CT-200h Sport comes with the same eco-friendly powerplant as the normal version but it's been blessed with a tasty set of 17-inch alloy wheels, a new rear spoiler, flared sideskirts and a racy mesh grille among other cosmetic updates, meaning that while it doesn't have any extra go it offers plenty more show.
The company is, however, promising sportier handling, and said it's tuned the CT 200h F-Sport’s suspension for a more engaging drive, and fitted a lateral damping system as standard.
Yet for all the aggressive styling it's still an automotive eco activist thanks to its clever petrol/electric technology, meaning that it'll still return 68mpg and - thanks to its low emissions - cost nothing at all to tax.
In a stroke Lexus has just eliminated my main criticism of the CT-200h; that, for all its clever features, it was a bit boring. It's now just a little more Fast and Furious and a little less Friends of the Earth, and that's all I'd ask of it.
The CT-200h is available to order from Lexus showrooms now and costs £27,850.