They say this car is the dark side of green.
Is it dark or just a little out of focus.
Let's drive the 2011 Lexus CT 200h and check the tech.
You can't spend less and buy and buy a new Lexus, and you can't spend less to feed one either.
This is the least expensive highest MPG they made,
But where it fits can be kind of a puzzle.
It's a small car, but not a tiny car; sporty looking, but not a sports car.
It's a Lexus, but without most of their upmarket perfume whether that's good or bad, and in this metallic yellow, it's impossible to miss, but kind of hard to put your finger on.
Okay, here is the cabin of a CT.
It's a very different lay out than your typical Lexus, much more sporty, not so much leisurely comfortable, though the materials are great,
the lay is real nice.
My favorite thing, it's really low tech is this lay back console right here.
This is great ergonomics.
It's exactly the angle your hand comes to it.
A of other cars now have this flat faced or almost this canted thing or little fat belly stove like Mercedes and it's this weird tortured thing to operate them.
Only these guys and I think Audi do this really nice sort of a shallow lay back.
It makes using it really easy.
Okay, I know you're asking, what the hell is that thing?
This is one of those weird little Prius do hickey;
It kind of have weird pad on it, up to the left for reverse.
Middle over here on the gate is neutral.
Over the down to the left is drive and then down without over to the left is drive with additional regen braking.
Yeah, I know, and the button for parks is right below it.
I thought it was the parking brake.
That threw me for about 5 minutes in a dark garage the first time I drove it.
Over here is EV mode.
These are all related.
This means drive the electric as much as you can.
This big knob looks
like a medial controller or something, but there's no LCD, no big menu, no bad guy.
There's a lot of real state for a just a couple of functions.
Go to the right, you're in sport mode.
Go to the left, you're in this eco mode where it uses the least amount of fuel energy, or just hit it to go back to normal.
We don't have the navigation system in our car that would be comprised of a pop up motorized LCD.
Instead, we have this basic head unit, which is a Lexus audio unit, not Levinson.
These guys do a lot of Levinson, but not available in the CT.
You either get a basic
speaker system or an improved system with 10 speakers and better amps, but nothing too fancy available on this car.
Sources are AM and FM without HD radio, your satellite radios right there.
CD aux takes either takes either to your multidisc changer up here to slot feed one at a time or Bluetooth audio streaming.
I've also got my USB and Aux jack right here.
Right now, I've got my iPod hooked up with the stock white cable.
No special cable needed like on Hyundai and Kia, you can see it does what it can with a small display, not a lot going on there.
Now, speaking of screens, we have a rearview camera, but no LCD.
Let's move the putter over here, and you'll it pops up on the left side of the mirror, not totally uncommon.
This one is really bright and very sharp, I think, compared to others I've seen.
Speaking of presto change, a little of that happens on the dash, not just for the rearview cam.
Back to our drive mode knob, if I go to sport, look what happens on the left here.
The left gauge goes from being a draw or recharge gauge instead goes to being a rpm meter.
They call it a tachometer, I guess,
and it changes a bunch of lighting to red because you're in sport mode.
It normally again goes back to be in the other deal and you see we have a bunch of EV indicators here.
The one the far left tells me right now the car is preferred to run stealthy and silent, electric only.
The other one on the top says on an EV mode, which tells the car to do that EV thing as often as it can.
Gets a little busy up there.
Now, as part of the premium audio pack in which we have better speakers and apps, we also get an interesting
sort of a non related mix of the glass rope overhead with the powerful back shade, and we also get heated seat on front.
Now, the CT has kind of a little people mover look, but it's not a terribly spacious cargo hoard that carry onto your little hatch and notice how low this guy is, quite a low profile car.
You've got your lift up on top of the flat lobe floor, but again it's a fairly small cargo space.
This lifts like it toss that.
Here's little organized little phone thing.
Pull that up.
Here is you funny spare and some other tools up, and there's the battery if you're wondering where it is.
Again, this is a purpose designed car to be a hybrid.
So, it didn't take up space that reduces for something else before it was a hybrid.
It kind of wedges in here behind the second seat, and this is your emergency pull right there if there's an accident.
That's how they disconnect the high voltage.
Okay, any hybrid that comes from Lexus, Toyota or any combinations thereof always gets the question, isn't it just a Prius?.
Well, kind of.
This is basically a Prius power train.
1.8 liter Atkinson cycle, in other words, really lean at the expense of torque, in line for sitting side saddle.
High compression by the way 13 to 1, made it up with an electric motor of course.
Total is a 134 scrawny hoarse power and 142 relatively unimpressive foot-pound of torque.
That's why this relatively small car takes almost 10 seconds to get to 60.
It is not sporty in its acceleration.
It's more sporty in its handling as we'll find out.
Mileage though is really good.
This is the [unk] of all the Lexus out there, 43 city, 40 highway, and of course it's only available on front wheel drive, only available with that little do hickey (CVT) continuously variable transmission.
Let's go for a ride.
The CT hybrid is a nice handling little car, solid build, very smooth.
It doesn't come across, just some Prius and drag,
but it's not terribly spirited either regardless of where that silver [unk].
Responsiveness is of a continuum, which is good.
Some hybrids can't pull that off, but exciting to drive might be a reached.
Hi, so here's the Lexus that cost less to buy and should cost less to run.
So what does it cost?
30 grand is your base, 29,995 with destination.
Now, on top of that to go [unk], you got to add the premium package.
That gives you the CD changer, more and better speakers,
better amps, the homelink remote, glass moon roof, and heated seats.
Then there's another package of 24.45 retractable LCD, hard drive GPS nav, traffic and weather, some enhanced Bluetooth and of course then the rearview camera shows up on the big LCD.
Your last option for 1500 bucks is a pre collision system, which will tighten up your seat belts preposition the brakes for a panic stop that it says coming to you might not.
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