Lexus CT 200h: Official Information and Photos on Compact Hybrid Out And About

Official information for Lexus's Euro-fighting hybrid, the CT 200h, has just come out of the Press Release closet. Riding on 17-inch wheels mounted to a newly-developed front-wheel drive platform, the smallest Lexus ever is powered by a 1.8-liter gasoline engine mated to an electric motor with power (no performance figures have been released) going through an E-CVT transmission with, surprise surprise, settings that include ECO, SPORT, and NORMAL. But these are all facts we already know.

Spacially, the CT comes in at 4,320 mm long and 1,765 mm wide, with a 2,600 mm wheelbase. That helps Lexus' Audi A3-fighter provide owners with 345 liters (12.2 cubic feet) of cargo room with the rear seats up, or 700 liters (24.7 cubic feet) with them folded down.

Suspending the car are McPherson struts and an anti-roll bar up front, while a double-wishbone setup does the job in the rear. Standard-fare shocks and springs are at all four corners, although the rear springs and shock absorbers were "positioned separately to minimize intrusion into the load-space floor".

Lexus says the rear suspension, which makes use of a lightweight trailing arm, is "exclusive to the CT 200h".

The interior - much like the exterior - is pulled heavily from last year's LF-Ch concept model, with its "asymmetrical dashboard" broken into a Display Zone (upper area) and Operation Zone (lower area including the shifter and Remote Touch control knob).

Other cool features include a switch in personality when SPORT mode is engaged: the "hybrid indicator" becomes a tachometer and the mood lighting goes from blue to red. Sporty.

Will this front-wheel drive compact-luxury-hybrid hatchback solve Lexus's sales woes in Europe? Time will tell, but having a small hybrid hatchback in one's lineup never hurts. Especially in Europe.

-By Phil Alex